Solidarity: The Power Of A Global Sisterhood In Raising Awareness For A Cause.

ARREY- ECHI
Posted July 24, 2021 from Cameroon
World Pulse Sisters Rally in Red Solidarity for Sickle Cell Awareness
Sister Stella and Her Mentees Standing in Solidarity for SCD.
Sister Stella and Her Mentees Standing in Solidarity for SCD. (1/4)

Colours have been used in so many ways. The brightness of our dresses. The colourful array of the foods we eat, the variety and colourfulness of creation and most recently, the sea of colours displayed at the ongoing Olympic Games which lends credence to the fact that colours rule and without colours, life could be so bland in black and white.

When it comes to health campaigns and awareness movements, colours have been used prominently to draw attention to specific health and social conditions. For example, we have pink for Breast Cancer, Green for Kidney Awareness, Blue for Autism Acceptance, Orange for GBV, and finally Red/ black/ white with Red as a prominent colour for Sickle Cell Awareness 

When I timidly began my advocacy journey with Sickle Cell in 2015,  I always thought of how to incorporate colour and fashion in raising awareness. A quick Google search helped me see that red was one of the prominent and most popular colours of sickle cell disorder. It was an exciting moment because I have always had a thing for the colour red and I was so excited  I would be using one of my favourite colours to increase awareness for a cause dear to my heart.

And so, the first #BreakTheSilence...#BeASickleCellVoice colour awareness campaign was launched in 2016. Since then, it has become a yearly campaign during June as the world prepares to celebrate World Sickle Cell Day each June 19th. And each year, I get so many people join in to wear red for sickle cell.

The just ended campaign of this year which made it 5years and 6 seasons of using colour to raise awareness was so special in so many ways. Not only did World Pulse Sisters join me in solidarity wearing red, many went as far as to rally more of their friends and colleagues to join the campaign trail.

I met Dr Aastha here on the pulse and our first contact was when she sent me a message asking if I would like to join her "my first period" campaign. After asking what was involved and what I needed to do, I agreed to join. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. A few months later, I am doing my campaign on Sickle Cell and she was so impressed following it on IG that she decided to join in. Not only that, she rallied her Dr friends in a short period of time to join in as well. Again, she made it possible for me to have a zoom talk with some of these Drs in partnership with their Organisation, Udankar. It was a beautiful moment and show of solidarity and support for a worthy cause which I truly appreciate.

Sisters  Loretta  and Stella also did something special and similar. Not only did they walk with me, but they also rallied their colleagues and mentees to join the campaign.

And when Sister Feka not only joined the online campaign almost daily but went as far as coming for the outreach event organised during World Sickle Cell Day, I was so touched by the love and show of solidarity.

Sister Regina Young not only showed up in red, posting her pictures across her social media platforms but was ready to help me not only to organise an outreach in Bamenda despite the war and it's challenges but was also willing to go the extra mile to seek a trainer for the basic skill training we were incorprorating this year. Though things didn't work out as planned as at the end, we had to partner with another sickle cell organisation in Bamenda,this show of love and solidarity means a lot to me.

My able mentor and sister, Stella Paul despite her especially tight schedule still made time to stand with me in red solidarity, sharing about the colour campaign for sickle cell across her social media platforms.

Sisters Marie Abanga, Veronica Ngum, Anne Chantal couldn't be left out either. And when I asked Sister Lena Yvonne as one person who has steadily followed the campaign all these while if she could be one of the symbolic five to share how five years of using colour to raise awareness on Sickle Cell has changed her perception about Sickle Cell, she readily agreed to be a part despite her busy and tight schedule and Anne Chantal was just as ready to come in with her expertise to fuse all the shot videos collected into one very beautiful collection of five powerful voices endorsing the campaign.

Looking back on this campaign, I felt a strong sense of solidarity and love. Those who were able to visibly join in and those who silently cheered me on. The solidarity pulsing across the globe by virtue of being a part of this beautiful family could not be missed and as I look back, I am so grateful because in so many ways, the ripple effect keeps spreading. So many people across the four corners of the globe are now aware of the need of wearing a shade of red in June for sickle cell because of the solidarity action of every world pulse sister who has joined me year in, year out and especially now.

The dream has always been to make sure that one day, people will just automatically wear red for sickle cell in June as they do pink for breast cancer or orange for 16 days of activism against GBV and I can confidently say, each year takes this dream closer to this reality of making the world.go red for sickle cell in June and this, is because of the beauty of solidarity and a global sisterhood standing hand in hand with each other for worthy causes.

A privilege to belong as we continue to build such revoluntionary solidarities in.love and sisterhood across the globe.

This story was submitted in response to Revolutionary Solidarity.

Comments 24

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Tamarack Verrall
Jul 24
Jul 24

Dear Arrey,
Through your reporting on how you have built this campaign for awareness of Sickle Cell you show us all what on women can accomplish: to build a whole, vibrant, effective movement by gathering sisters who care, and who know the power of standing together to raise our voices collectively. The collective solidarity of World Pulse sisters, the strength with which World Pulse sisters dream up action, involve each other, celebrate each other is an empowering reminder that we can and do create awareness and change. Just seeing all of your faces here makes everything seem possible.
Sisterhood love,
Tam

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 24
Jul 24

Dear Mama Tam,
Thank you so much for these ever ready thoughtful words. You are right the strength of women to rally together for positive change is one very effective tool in advocacy and world pulse does so so beautifully.
Thank you for always finding time to read.
With love

Nini Mappo
Jul 24
Jul 24

Wow wow wow!! The fashion itself is sizzling!
As sizzling as the journey you have travelled over six seasons of Sickle Cell advocacy. It is so beautiful to meet all these sisters coming together to make this advocay theirs as well, like the saying ''You'll never walk alone". I am just sitting here and musing how when you began this journey five years ago, you may not have envisioned these sisters along your path. But you kept walking, kept building, and found partnership and collaboration with every step of faith. It makes me wonder what the next Five years will bring.
All in all, welldone for staying the course in spite of the challenges. I enjoyed the beaming sisterly solidarity in this array of colour by sister Arrey ;)

Hugs and sparkles to you Arrey:)
Nini

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 25
Jul 25

My dear Nini,
How have you been? Hope you are doing well. It is always so good reading from you.

Thank you so much for these thoughtful words. You are right, when I started this only hope, faith and passion kept me going. I wasn't even sure if anyone would make sense out of what I was doing but here we are, five years later, not only do many see sense but they go out of their way year in, year out to join in. Hundreds have joined in each year and it is heartwarming always to see my pulse sisters championing the movement where ever they may be.

I am.confident that as I stay the course, more sisters will join me and make this movement a global phenomenal five years from now and I believe you will be championing that in good ole Aussie .
Thank you. It's be fulfilling, to keep going despite the challenges involved. I couldn't do it any other way. It has been a most effective tool in m advocacy.

Hope all is well with you and family.
Warm hugs and love to you all

megsmueller
Jul 25
Jul 25

Hello to you! My lovely sister in red. You ladies rock on your array of reds and colour. It really stands out and makes a statement! Thank you for this awareness event. Now, this is solidarity! I love it...everyone looks so absolutely stunning. Much love to you.

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 30
Jul 30

Hello Meg,
Good day to you. Thank you so much for reading through. Yes, indeed every one stood out and helped make a statement for the awareness on SCD. It was truly a big motivation.
Thank you. Much love to you as well, hoping you are doing well today. A blessed weekend to you.

megsmueller
Jul 30
Jul 30

It's my pleasure dear and I am well too, thanks! Have a lovely weekend too.

rebecca.tang
Jul 25
Jul 25

Thank you for sharing! I am really impressed on your outfit and the color of your dresses. It's awesome.
At the same time, everyone still need to more to increase the awareness on breast cancer, stop GBV, etc.
May Almighty God bless you all!

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 30
Jul 30

Hi Rebecca,
Thank you so much. You are right, there can never be enough awareness on social issues affecting us. And just like breast cancer, GBV, there is really a need for more awareness on sickle cell and other conditions like Kidney disease. So, let's all keep the awareness going.
More love and blessings to you too dear sis.

Emfleur
Jul 26
Jul 26

Amazing. Unity is key to going further and for achieving that snowball effect on any social impact activity.

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 30
Jul 30

Hi Fleur,
Thank you so much. You are very correct on the snowball effect in achieving social impact.

Anum Shakeel
Jul 26
Jul 26

Wow. This is amazing sister Arrey! Keep up the good work!

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 30
Jul 30

Thank you so much Sis Anum. I sure will.

Jill Langhus
Jul 26
Jul 26

Hello, Arrey, Love,

So many lovely faces, sisterly love, and support. Thanks so much for sharing your update. It's great to see the love and support, and the great impact you're making, too! Keep up the great work. You rock!

XX

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 30
Jul 30

Dear Sis Jill,
Thank you so much. It was indeed a collage of sisterly love and support. I sure will keep it going. I hope you are doing well.
Love and hugs

Jill Langhus
Jul 30
Jul 30

Hello Arrey, Love,

It was great to see you at the Encourager Party!

You're welcome. It's lovely:-)

Hope you have a good weekend. XX

Regina Afanwi Young
Jul 26
Jul 26

Lovely Arrey, so proud of all you did during the sickle cell awareness month. It was a great 9honour to be part of this very important campaign dear. Thank you for impacting so many lives.
I hope you are doing well and keeping strong dear sis.
Thanks to all the sisters who were part of this amazing journey.
Keep sparkling lovely Arrey!!!

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 30
Jul 30

Thank you so much, dear sister Regina.
It was an honour as well to have you so gracefully join the campaign. Thank you again for always. Yes, I am doing ok and keeping well. Hope you are doing great today.
Much love always,

Anne-Chantal
Jul 29
Jul 29

Awww, beautifully wrote. My dearest sister. It is a pleasure always to work with you and raise awareness on Sickle Cell Disease or any other topic.
I was honoured to be part of it. A million thanks to all the sisters who joined in. Back in my village, there is a saying that says many hands tie the bundle better.
I know that with this wonderful support coming from sisters across the globe, sooner than later you will see your dreams coming true.
Love from this end.
Ayuk

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 30
Jul 30

One hand truly cannot tie a bundle my dearest sis and many hands makes work lighter. Thank you for always being a force in this journey. My prayer is that we will be doing this together for a long time to come.
That is indeed my sincere wish that this global solidarity brings that snowball effect to carry this advocacy further.
Much love to you always.

Anne-Chantal
Aug 13
Aug 13

Same prayer here too, sis.

What a happy day it will be when this shall come to pass.

Love from this end.

Marie-louis
Jul 31
Jul 31

Hi Arrey.
This is wonderful, congratulations for the great work you are doing. May God continue to strengthen you until you reach your expected end.
#Much love#

Olutosin
Aug 01
Aug 01

Sister mi, I see you o. I love you o.

That was so wonderful.
Keep it up and thanks for the sisters who sacrificed their little time and efforts to work with you during the campaign.
God bless you