Life in Baltimore: Polishing Our Pearls in Charm City

— By the end of next week, the city will be colored in pink and green, as more than 5,000 members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. convene for the 86th North Atlantic Regional Conference (NARC) April 26-30, 2017. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is the nation's oldest service organization for college-trained African American women.

Under the theme, "Polishing Our Pearls in Charm City," the conference will feature opportunities for members to render services, experience the enchantedness of the Inner Harbor, conduct the business of the region, and build leadership skills.

NARC chairman, Tracey Barbour-Gillett states," It's been fourteen years since the conference has been held in Baltimore. We are excited to highlight the great things happening here in Baltimore, and we have several Baltimore-specific experiences planned for attendees. The level of support of members in the metro area has been outstanding throughout the planning process."

According to North Atlantic regional director Meredith L. Henderson, this is the largest regional conference ever.

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Courtesy Photo/AKA

Meredith L. Henderson, North Atlantic Regional Director, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will roll out the "Pink Carpet" for more than 5,000 conference attendees.

"It is only fitting to return to Baltimore boosting the economy and including a community forum to discuss violence in Baltimore which mirrors many of our communities across the nation,” she said.

Panel discussions will provide our members with take-aways to implement in their communities.The community at-large is invited to attend a rousing and provocative forum that will focus on the unlawful police killings of black people, the discrimination in the criminal justice system, the disparities in employment, education and health services in black communities on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 9 a.m. to noon at Carter Memorial Church of God in Christ, the topic: featuring and Former Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and a member of the sorority, will moderate a panel discussion on the topic: "Ending the Violence and Building Healthy Communities." The panel will feature elected officials, policy makers, U.S. Representative Anthony Brown, who is the keynote speaker.

"Generally our regional conference is all business however, this conference is different in that our NARC will feature a number of programs open to the public and designed to provide opportunities for our young people," said Henderson, referring to the Diversity Career Fair scheduled for Thursday, April 27, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

That evening, from 7:30 to 9:30 pm, the public meeting will welcome dignitaries from Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia regions and members of the PanHellenic Council to honor community leaders who exemplify the sorority 's five International Program Targets: Educational Enrichment, Health Promotions, Family Strengthening, Environmental Ownership and Global Impact.

Grammy-nominated R&B artist, Eric Benet will perform in concert Friday evening April 28, 9:00 pm. Area high school students will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from Historically Black Colleges and Universities at the HBCU Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center on Saturday, April 29th at 9:00 am. Many students cannot visit the campuses of these colleges therefore information on their admissions processes, and financial aid will be available at the expo.