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Sorors from Inkster, Detroit, Southfield, Pontiac and Ann Arbor Alumnae chapters, in partner-ship with Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, distribute water and supplies to an apartment com-plex in Flint. During a “TrunksUp” event April 2, 2016 members filled their trunks with donated water and supplies and traveled to the city to bring relief to residents still coping with Flint’s contaminated water issues. PHOTO COURTESY OF SORAYA WILLIAMS FARVER JOURNAL Spring 2016 s75 The Flint Alumnae Chapter is now working in close collab-oration with The Delta Research and Educational Foundation to continue to fulfill the Sorority’s commitment to providing long-term assistance and support. Donations from members will be utilized to assist in support of the struggling families of the Flint area. Michigan sorors have also made the Flint water crisis and environmental justice the centerpieces of their advoca-cy agenda for legislative visits during both Delta Days in the Nation’s Capital and Delta Day in the State Capital this year. In 2010, Delta Sigma Theta adopted resolutions supporting policies to eradicate water pollution and asserting that access to clean water is a human right. Bringing Justice to Victims in Detroit Sadly, another Michigan city - Detroit - has also attracted negative global attention for government’s in-ability to protect citizens. In 2009, a Wayne County employee discovered 11,341 abandoned DNA rape kits in a Detroit police department storage room. The kits, dating back as many as 35 years, represent evidence in thousands of dormant cases. More than 80 percent of the victims whose kits were not processed in Detroit are African-American. Detroit is one of many cities deal-ing with this challenge. In a July 2015 investigation of 1,000 police depart-ments across the nation, USA To-day discovered at least 70,000 un-processed rape kits. This number represents only a fraction of Ameri-ca’s 18,000 police departments. For example: • Memphis is currently testing 12,374 abandoned rape kits • Los Angeles has tested 12,500 backlogged rape kits and is in-vestigating and prosecuting cas-es from the kits. • Indianapolis and Jacksonville have discovered backlogs of 5,006 and 1,943 rape kits, respectively. Efforts to catalog and address rape kit backlogs are stymied by weak local and state laws. For exam-ple, 44 states don’t have a law stip-ulating when police should test rape kits and 34 states haven’t conducted a statewide inventory of their rape kit backlog. While many jurisdictions have slowly begun to address their rape kit backlog, Detroit - which recent-ly emerged from the largest munici-pal bankruptcy in history - does not have the financial resources to test and investigate its backlogged rape kits. To fill the need, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, also a mem-ber of Delta Sigma Theta, partnered with the Michigan Women’s Foun-dation to launch a private fundrais-ing campaign for the effort in Janu-ary, 2015. The campaign has raised enough money to process 10,000 kits. Last October, several local Del-ta leaders were on hand to launch a sub-campaign by black women to raise $657,090, enough to process De-troit’s remaining 1,341 DNA rape kits. “I am grateful and humbled that so many sorors have stepped up to support and volunteer for the cam-paign,” said Soror Worthy. “Each abandoned rape kit represents a vic-tim who has not received justice af-ter enduring one of the most devas-tating attacks imaginable. There’s no denying that these kits didn’t get pro-cessed because of a profound failure of government. Sadly, many of these kits never will be processed unless supporters step up and help pay for it.” To learn more about the nation-al rape kit crisis, visit www.endthe-backlog. org. To donate to the effort to process rape kits in Detroit, visit www.aa490challenge.org. To submit donations to aid with efforts in Flint, tax deductible dona-tions can be made online through the DREF website at www.deltafoun-dation. net, or DREF’s Mobile Cause link https://app.mobilecause.com/f/ q5p/n. In addition, checks can be mailed to: The Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF) 1703 New Hampshire Ave, NW Washington, DC 20009 Please indicate Flint Water Cri-sis Response Fund in the memo line when making your donation. s


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