On February 18, 2023, at the Tuskegee Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 6th Annual Amelia Boynton Robinson Women of Valor Breakfast, members of the chapter honored Women in Training, Inc.’s founders, 15-year-old Breanna and Brooke Bennett, with the 2023 Spirit of Valor award. The other 2023 Spirit of Valor honoree was Dr. Yashica Robinson, MD, of Alabama Women’s Wellness Center.
"The Spirit of Valor Award is a distinction given to those who have gone above and beyond, as well as exhibited courage and valor in their respective endeavors that advance or promote the causes for women,” said Dr. Robbi C. Flowers, President, Tuskegee Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. “Brooke and Breanna Bennett's work helping young girls break the generational cycle of period poverty is truly commendable. Congratulations to Brooke and Breanna Bennett, as well as our other 2023 Amelia Boynton Robinson Women of Valor and Spirit of Valor Honorees!"
The Tuskegee Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. acknowledged the twins for Women in Training, Inc.’s success in advocating for Alabama State Representative Rolanda Hollis’ HB 50 that Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law in a public ceremony on April 20, 2022. The law provides $200,000 in funding to the Alabama State Department of Education to award grants to Title I schools to make available menstrual supplies to students at no cost. Studies show that one in five girls miss school or work because they cannot afford period products.
“We are honored to receive the Women of Valor award, because it shows society is changing,” said Breanna. “When we started our work in 2019 to end period poverty, many people told us that proper young ladies don’t use that word!.”
Her twin sister, Brooke, agreed.
“We will continue advocating for menstrual equity until every young person with a uterus has the period supplies they need to maintain good health,” Brooke added. “Thank you to the Tuskegee Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for recognizing the importance of our public service.”
The Amelia Boynton Robinson awards are named for Mrs. Robinson, a civil rights pioneer from Alabama who championed voting rights for African Americans. As a young woman, the police brutally beat her for helping to lead the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights, which became known as Bloody Sunday and was a major turning point in the modern Civil Rights Movement.
Kemba Smith Pradia, author of Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story, was the keynote speaker. Pradia shared her story of growing up in a middle class African American family and attending Hampton University, then becoming a drug dealer’s girlfriend and domestic violence victim, which ultimately led to her becoming a federal prisoner. In 1994, as a pregnant 24-year-old, she was sentenced to 24 1/2 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. Before leaving office in 2000, President Bill Clinton granted her executive clemency. Her voting rights were not restored until 2012.
The 2023 Women of Valor Honorees are as follows:
Education - Tiffany Williams
Entrepreneurship - Stevie Hicks
Leadership - Janet Sullen
Social Action - Teumbay Barnes
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was founded on January 13, 1913, by twenty two college women at Howard University. The students wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance to those in need.