Deltas mark 100 years


Women of the Gainesville Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. The organization is celebrating 100 years of service this month. (Special to the Guardian)

Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. is observing 100 years of service this month and the Gainesville Alumnae chapter is celebrating this important milestone with a slate of activities that will include a centennial gala, a 5K walk/run benefit, a church service and a drive to raise funds for malaria-fighting bed nets for Haiti.

Wendy Fletcher-Shannon, president of the chapter, said 13,000 Deltas from the United States and abroad attended the National Centennial celebration last weekend in Washington, D.C.

She said the celebration included 22 service projects in the Washington D.C. area that included hosting self-esteem, parenting and college career workshops at an alternative high school for underserved students, preparing and serving meals in a homeless shelter, organizing a food pantry at a food bank and hosting a health fair.

“We’re a sisterhood called to serve,” Fletcher-Shannon said. “We were founded by 22 college women with a purpose to serve, and today we’re continuing transforming lives and impacting communities.”

Shirl Nix Rogers, a member of the chapter and chairperson of the gala, said the chapter is celebrating the centennial with a host of activities that will include a gala, a Listen to Your Heart 5K ‘Red Tutu’ Run/Walk, a drive to raise funds to purchase malaria-fighting bed nets for Haiti and a city of Gainesville proclamation celebrating the Delta’s 100 years of service.

Last Sunday, the Gainesville Delta members held the sorority’s Founder’s Day worship service at Johnson Chapel Baptist Church in northeast Gainsville.

“We want to have fun, but we’re in the business of service,” Rogers said. “That’s what we are about.”

Rogers said Delta Sigma Theta is a service organization founded on Jan. 13, 1913 by 22 black college women on the campus of Howard University. She said the students wanted to use their collective strength to form a sorority that focused heavily on public service, academic excellence and social action on issues facing minorities and women.

She said Delta Sigma Theta now numbers more than 250,000 members in 900 chapters around the world.

Rogers said the sorority’s main program areas include physical and mental health, educational awareness, political awareness, economic development and empowerment and international awareness and involvement.

Rogers said the sorority’s first public act was the Suffrage Parade of March 3, 1913 in Washington D.C., where more than 5,000 women marched for the vote. Rogers said Deltas, clad in period dress, will participate in the Suffrage Parade re-enactment to be held March 3.

Below are centennial activities hosted by the Gainesville chapter:

Centennial Gala: 6 p.m. Jan. 26, Best Western Gateway Grand, 4200 NW 97th Blvd. There will be a reception from 6-7:30 p.m. with dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, which are $100, can be purchased from any sorority member or by calling Rogers at 352-281-9283. She said tax-deductible sponsorships in levels ranging from $10-$100 are available, also by calling Rogers.

“The gala will be a red carpet event with photos and backdrop,” said Rogers, “and will feature a video history of the sorority, an evening of dancing, and a special presentation to the American Cancer Society.”

Listen to Your Heart 5K ‘Red Tutu’ Run/Walk: 8 a.m. Feb. 2, with registration from 7-7:25 a.m. at Northeast Park on NE 16th Avenue and 2nd Street. The run/walk is for adults and children 10 years old and older. The registration fee is $25 online through Jan. 31 at www.listen2yourheart5k.com. Then click on “Register.”

Those interested also can purchase a red tutu for $10. The first 300 participants will receive an event T-shirt. The registration fee is $30 the day of the event. Proceeds will go to the American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” program.

Tyran Butler, chair person of the run/walk, said awards will be presented in various age categories. She said the goal is for participants to walk away from the event feeling affirmed in their decision to get active and to continue engaging in behaviors that lower their risk of developing an unhealthy heart.

“I hope they are heartened by their actions to help stamp out an often silent killer,” Butler said. “I am hopeful that people will participate because heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States and walking and running are both simple activities that can be fun when done with friends and/or members of one’s community.”

For more information, call 386-365-4316.

Bed nets drive: The fundraiser to help fight malaria in Haiti kicked off in December. According to the World Health Organization, insecticide-treated bed nets are considered a key weapon in the global fight against malaria, which is transmitted by parasite-carrying mosquitoes and kills more than 650,000 people a year.

Patricia Hilliard-Nunn, chairperson of the chapter’s International Awareness and Involvement Committee, said the bed nets will go to children in Haiti. They cost $5 each, and donations will be accepted through Jan. 31. Those interested can mail checks to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., P.O. Box 12245, Gainesville, FL 32604. In the memo section, please write: Bed nets for Haiti.

“For just $5, you can help to save a life and I hope people don’t ignore this opportunity to help children in Haiti,” said Hilliard-Nunn. For more information, call 352-514-6118.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top