Last year, local nonprofit The Medi brought Red Dress Sunday to Charleston. Previously held across four states—Florida, Georgia, Delaware, and Maryland—in the years since February 2005, the event introduced awareness of women’s heart health among church congregations each year.
The Medi’s version was a little different: houses of worship selected which Sunday in February they’d each like to hold their Red Dress Sunday service. The annual event went so well in 2019, with 21 houses of worship participating, the nonprofit brought back Red Dress Sundays in the same format.
This year 29 churches and four nonprofit associations have already signed up to participate, with more expected—The Medi’s goal is to double last year’s number of registrants. Participating congregations and organizations are again wearing red on their Sunday to bring attention to heart disease and learning about risk factors, ways to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, and more. Many pastors and speakers are preparing health-related sermons or designating individuals to speak on the impact of heart disease during their worship experience.
City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and first lady Sandy Tecklenburg, honorary chair of the event, will again participate in the Red Dress Sunday service of Greater St. Luke AME Church at 10:00 a.m. on February 16. Last year Mayor Tecklenburg spoke at the service as well.
This year Rev. Dr. Krystal Sears, pastor of the church and co-chair of this year’s Red Dress Sundays, will turn the podium over to Shaniequa Washington, her fellow co-chair and manager of the Walmart store on Rivers Avenue, who will deliver a heart health message during the morning worship service. Members of the public are welcome to attend, and the media is again invited to speak to the mayor and event leaders following the service from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the church, which is located at 78 Gordon Street on the Charleston peninsula just north of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge.
Participating houses of worship are located across the tri-county area and currently include First Baptist Church of James Island, First SeeWee Missionary Baptist Church, Greater St. Luke AME Church, Greater St. Peter’s Church of our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith Inc., Greater United AME Church in Holly Hill, Greater Vision Ministry, Holy Light Miracle Temple, Jehovah AME Church, Lovely Mountain Baptist Church, Morris Street Baptist Church, Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Mount Nebo AME Church, Nazareth Reformed Episcopal Church, New Cannon Street Baptist Church, New Ebenezer Baptist Church, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, New Israel Reformed Episcopal Church, Pilgrim Christian Baptist Church, Revelation Church of Word and Deed in Goose Creek, Royal Missionary Baptist Church, Sand Hills United Methodist Church, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Mission Church, St. Luke Reformed Episcopal Church, St. Mary AME Church, St. Matthew Baptist Church, Salem Missionary Baptist Church, Summerville Miracle Revival Church, Victory Missionary Baptist Church, Wesley United Methodist Church in Ladson, and Wesley United Methodist Church in Summerville, with more congregations joining daily. The date and time for each church can be found at www.themedi.org/events, and houses of worship and nonprofits can also sign up online there.
Participating nonprofits currently include Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Xi Omega Omega Chapter, Walterboro, SC; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Charleston Alumnae Chapter; Jack and Jill of America, Charleston, SC Chapter; and the Charleston (SC) Chapter The Links, Inc.
Charleston’s Red Dress Sundays sponsors include Walmart on Rivers Avenue, through a community grant; The Charleston Radio Group and its affiliates: ChuckFM at 101.7 FM, Heaven 100.1 FM, Kickin’ Country 92.5 FM, Mix 95.9 FM, Starr 99.7 FM, The Box 99.3 FM; Floyd Brace Company; Platinum Kreations; YWCA Greater Charleston; and Knight Printing & Graphics, with personal contributions from Anton Gunn and Alfred Fasola. Boeing volunteers are supporting the month-long event.
ABOUT THE MEDI
The Medi, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit helping social service organizations connect to people in need. Its online community resource helps individuals find medical help, food, housing, and more, while helping social service organizations develop a culture of collaboration through education and technology. Founded by healthcare CEO Audrey Whetsell, the organization’s annual Medi Awards recognize individuals and organizations advancing quality and access to healthcare. The Medi is also a founding member of The Opioid Collaborative, a partnership of respected organizations in Washington, D.C. and Charleston, S.C. working together to transform prevention, treatment, and recovery from the disease of opioid addiction. For more information, visit www.themedi.org.
RED DRESS SUNDAYS
Taking place during American Heart Month, the Charleston region’s Red Dress Sundays complement and build on February 1’s National Wear Red Day, also designed to raise awareness about women and heart disease. The need is great, as heart disease is the number one cause of death among women—with the risk even greater among African American women, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute—and yet most women don’t know about the threat. “Our goal in Bringing Red Dress Sundays to our local communities was to ensure Charleston’s women know about heart disease, which is also the number one killer of women of color: how to recognize symptoms, how to treat it, and how to prevent it in the first place,” said Garcia Williams, executive director of The Medi.