At a members-only ceremony at the RLJ Kendeja Resort and Villas on Saturday evening, March 2, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was inducted as an Honorary Member of The Links, Incorporated. The Links, Incorporated is a non-profit organization of professional African-American women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.
The colors of the organization are green and white, and President Sirleaf, dressed in a white outfit – as was the entire 52-member Links delegation visiting Liberia – was pinned with a glimmering Links chain, and a green sash was placed across her shoulder. Officiating at the ceremony was Mrs. Margot James Copeland, National President of The Links, Incorporated, and The Links Foundation. Following the private ceremony, President Sirleaf posed, shook hands and chatted with her new Links Sisters. A reception followed.
A delegation from the 12,000-member organization, co-sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company, visited Liberia from February 27 to March 3 to officially establish the Links programmatic presence in the country, expanding its more than 50-year history of strengthening and empowering African communities.
The group toured three of the four Liberian schools newly adopted by The Links – the School for the Blind, the Ann Sandall School, and the AME University; hosted a two-day Train-the-Teacher workshop for 25 Liberian teachers; and, in partnership with Africare, symbolically dedicated The Links Maternal Waiting Home at Phebe Hospital, in Gbarnga, and donated funds for the construction of a second home. The delegation also toured historic sites in and around Monrovia.
Having constructed six schools in South Africa, The Links, Incorporated now plans to turn its attention to Liberia, and is interested in supporting several of President Sirleaf projects, such as the Omega Market and the Liberia Education Trust-Monrovia.
On Saturday evening, President Sirleaf hosted the delegation at a reception at her Residence. The organization was presented with a locally produced hand-made quilt showing the name of The Links, Inc., and each member received a package of Liberian spices, as gifts from the President of Liberia.
The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946, in Philadelphia. Its membership of 12,000 professional women of color represent 276 chapters located in 41 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and in the Bahamas. The organization has attracted many distinguished women who are individual achievers and have made a difference in their communities and the world. They are business and civic leaders, role models, mentors, activists and volunteers who work towards a common vision by engaging like-minded organizations and individuals for partnership. Links members contribute more than 500,000 documented hours of community service annually – strengthening their communities and enhancing the nation. The Links, Incorporated cuts across all sororities for Black women, including Alpha Kappa Alpha, of which President Sirleaf is a member, and Delta Sigma Theta.
The Links, Incorporated was founded on November 9, 1946, when two young Philadelphia women, Margaret Hawkins and Sarah Scott, invited seven of their friends to join them in organizing a new type of inter-city club – one that would respond to the needs and aspirations of women of color in ways that existing clubs did not. The Links, Incorporated has had a long tradition of promoting and engaging in educational, civic and inter-cultural activities in order to enrich the lives of members of the larger community.
The Links Foundation, established in 1979, is its philanthropic arm. The Foundation makes grants to support the organization’s five-program facets – which include services to youth, the arts, national and international trends and services, and health and human services – that are beneficial to communities of African descent. The Links Foundation has contributed more than US$24 million to charitable causes since its founding.
The 52-member Links delegation departed Liberia on Sunday, March 3, for Ghana, to honor the heritage of the first liberated country on the continent, south of the Sahara, and visit historic landmarks.