19 Mothers Installed, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. When: November 2, 2018

19 Mothers Installed, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. When: November 2, 2018

Header image: Jack and Jill of America members, including 19 mothers installed on 11/2/18. [PHOTO: ANITA DORTCH]

“This is a very special occasion,” Tanya Hand, National Vice President of Jack and Jill, Incorporated, said about the ceremony held at the Courtyard by Marriott where 19 Fort Wayne mothers were installed into the organization’s Greater Northeast Indiana Chapter. 

The national Jack and Jill, a membership organization of mothers with children ages two to 19 has been dedicated to nurturing future African-American leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving, and civic duty, since its inception in 1938. 

And “this year, we will take on three chapters in one year in [this] region.  We have not done this ever in our history,” Hand said.

A love for the Fort Wayne-area and an appreciation for the service of Jack and Jill member Anita Dortch are the reasons why Hand attributed to a historic three chapters being installed in “this wonderful African-American community.”

Jack and Jill boasts over 230 chapters nationally (as far north as Alaska), including 37 chapters in the Midwestern region with a 38th chapter to be installed this month.  The Fort Wayne Chapter of Jack and Jill was chartered in 1980.  After a small absence, our city’s Jack and Jill representative is back. 

Vice President Hand has been a member for 20 years.  Vanessa Williams, regional director for the Midwestern Region, has been with Jack and Jill since 2006.

“We include the whole family,” Williams said, and the organization “is more relevant today in terms of teaching a generation of children that have been somewhat separated from the suffering, trials and tribulations of African-Americans, to help them become great leaders by standing on the shoulders [of others].”

In spite of the stereotypes that are perpetrated about African-Americans, and specifically young African-Americans, Jack and Jill teaches their young to become leaders, according to Williams, who noted that children across America are leading the charge for gun control measures in schools.  Hand reminded this writer that it was the children during the civil rights movement that encouraged a discouraged Martin Luther King Jr. while he was incarcerated in a Birmingham jail.

Last year, the Jack and Jill organization reenacted the Children’s March in Birmingham, Alabama on its 55th Anniversary.  “We took them back where the suffering began, we taught them that children are the ones who led the charge,” Williams said.

Jack and Jill children who’ve grown and flourished include senators, lawyers, representatives, Atlanta’s mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.

For more information about Jack and Jill of America Incorporated, hit up their website, JackAndJillInc.com.

Installed at the event:

India Barnes | Cynthia L. Black | Kimberly L. Brooks | Tamarah Brownlee | Sharon Lindsay Davis | Alise Easley | Tabitha Ervin | Sherri Stiles Franklin | Keisha Goldman | Richelle Humphrey | Tandalla Jackson | Felicia Johnson | Jennifer N. Lapsley | Lori K. Morgan | Alisa J. Pearson | Lesley Jones Sessler | Andrea Dortch Thomas | Vivian Tillar | Valentine White-Xayarath