Linking the Community
Wilmington chapter of The Links celebrates 70 years
The Links, Incorporated is a national organization of professional women with a mission of service and leadership committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of African Americans.
This year, the Wilmington chapter of The Links is celebrating seventy years in the community. While the pandemic is barring an in-person celebration, the members are excited about a new book recounting the history of the Wilmington chapter that will be released in coordination with the anniversary.
Chapter members BERTHA TODD and EMMA JACKSON, who have a long history with the board of education, know the history of The Links and have contributed to the content.
FAYE JACOBS (pictured), current president of the Wilmington Chapter of the Links, says, “We are excited that the book is waiting to be printed. We are also waiting for the president of the national chapter of The Links to provide guidance on gatherings in 2022 so we may celebrate our anniversary with a gala as originally planned.”
Jacobs joined The Links in 2016 and was inducted as president in 2020 for a two-year term. She recalls why she became a member. “I knew of the Links as a recognized organization of professional women.” Jacobs agreed with many of the core components of the organization. “I liked the fact the members were volunteering. That was important to me. And I liked the core values of The Links – friendship, integrity, honesty, and service commitment.”
The Wilmington chapter was founded in 1951 by local women including CELESTE EATON, an influential leader in the community and wife of a physician. Becoming a member is by invitation only.
“We look around and see who is working for the betterment of our community. We get to know you and you get to know us. Once invited, new members attend workshops to understand the history of The Links and why it was formed,” Jacobs says. “Although only women are members of The Links, husbands are referred to as “Connecting Links” and children as “Heir-o-Links.”
The Links supports its mission through five facets: arts, health and human services, international trends and services, national trends and services, and services to youth.
“Programming is at the heart of our organization. We develop the five facets with hope that our community gets to know more about themselves and the neighborhood they live in, the world and its global issues so we become a well-rounded community,” she says.
Programming is centered on an annual theme. This year’s theme is transforming community. The Wilmington chapter is developing monthly programs about health and economic and emotional well-being. Past and future programs include International Day of Peace, childhood obesity awareness, an estate planning workshop, introduction to chamber music for children, education about breast cancer and organ donation, and sessions in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) about fertilization, pollination and use of the scientific method to solve problems.
The group also extends its reach beyond geographic boundaries and has helped with the water situation in Haiti by digging a well supported through fundraising by the members. Ranging in age from 20s to 70s, Links members are professional engineers, doctors, social workers, teachers, nurses, professors, and architects.
The signature project of the chapter is its annual brunch which has been on hiatus for the past two years. The 2019 event focused on young girls and hosted Miss America NIA FRANKLIN from North Carolina and ANITA EARL of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Girls from neighboring schools were invited to hear the speakers’ inspirational stories.
Jacobs says she is proud to be a part of this very unique group.
“We come together as sisters in friendship, service and volunteerism. Everyone willingly gives themselves to help somebody else.”
To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.
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