09 Jan 2013
- Written by Janas L. Jackson/Special to The New Tri-State Defender
Florence "Flo" Roach – surrounded by numerous celebrities and dignitaries – took center stage on New Year's Day, receiving the "Shining Star Award" from her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.
Well-known for her stellar work in the arts and education, Roach was invited to Los Angeles for the presentation, which was made during the Deltas' Hollywood Gala, a kick-off celebration of the sorority's 100th anniversary. The glitzy black-tie affair was held at Club Nokia – LA Live.
"To receive such an award from my sorority as we celebrate our 100th anniversary means so much to me," said Roach, who is a member of the sorority's Memphis Alumnae Chapter.
"I am proud to be associated with women who are serving their individual communities and the world in the most amazing ways. When I look back on my life as a child growing up in Robinsonville, Mississippi, I can only say that I am blessed."
The versatile Roach is an actress, director, playwright, singer, poet and comedienne who has embraced diverse audiences via stages, motion pictures, television, radio, and corporate events.
The roster of those on stage as Roach received the award included the Deltas' National President Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre, Danny Glover, Aunjanue Ellis from "The Help," Emmy-award-winning casting director Robi Reed, and writer/producer Sara Finney-Johnson.
In addition to her appearance in the 2011 blockbuster movie, "The Help," Roach's distinguished career includes serving as playwright and director of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church's popular production, "Umoja"; performances on Playhouse on the Square; and her one-woman show, "Calling All Men." She is also owner of Ettaro Theater Company , Ettaro Music Publishing Company, and is the recipient the Memphis Rotary Award for Teaching Excellence and the Tennessee Theater Teacher's Hall of Fame Award.
During the Hollywood Gala, the Deltas enjoyed performances by popular recording artists Ledisi, Faith Evans, Angela Winbush and Elaine Gibbs. Celebrity presenters included Blair Underwood, Kym Whitley, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Keith David and T'Keyah Crystal Keymah.
The event also featured the lighting of a custom-crafted torch, which began a 22-city international Delta Torch Tour as part of the 100th anniversary festivities. In addition to U.S. cities, the tour includes stops in Tokyo, Bermuda and will culminate in July at the Deltas' national convention in Washington, D.C. The 22 cities represent the sorority's 22 founders who established the organization in 1913 at Howard University.
Today, Delta membership exceeds 300,000 college-educated women in the United States, England, Japan, Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Republic of Korea.
"In 1913, our founders probably didn't realize that the organization they started would grow to become a global symbol of service and pride," said Roach.
The sorority's 100-year anniversary also included a history-making appearance in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.