A generous boost to the local economy and rock-solid enthusiasm that began on a high note last Thursday helped mark the 43rd Southern Regional Conference of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. by Janas Jackson
Special to the Tri-State Defender
A generous boost to the local economy and rock-solid enthusiasm that began on a high note last Thursday helped mark the 43rd Southern Regional Conference of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., which unfolded and wrapped up over the July 4th weekend.
| Thanks to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the 43rd Southern Regional Conference, Memphis reaped the benefits of a massive book drive and the distribution of thousands of those books to area children. (Courtesy photos).|
| Delta Frances Culpepper (center) of the Columbus, Georgia Alumnae Chapter was recognized for her 65th year in the sorority. |
| A spirited ecumenical service stirred the Deltas at the Southern Regional Conference.|
Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. is the nation’s largest African-American women’s organization, with the Southern Regional Conference hosted by the Memphis Alumnae and Shelby County, TN., Alumnae Chapters. It was a gathering punctuated by impassioned speeches about sisterhood and community involvement; a special outreach project for Memphis children; a variety of workshops and networking receptions; a social action luncheon; high-energy step shows; a formal banquet; music by a 100-voice Delta choir; and a spirited ecumenical service.
“Being a Delta is all about service and it doesn’t begin and end with our collegiate years,” said Cynthia Butler-McIntyre, the National President of Delta Sigma Theta.
“This is a lifetime commitment that is a part of who we are as Delta women. This is a legacy passed on to us by our 22 founders.”
The Delta women of the Southern Region remained true to their southern hospitality roots by leaving gifts for the conference’s host city. They launched a massive book drive and distributed thousands of new books to Memphis-area children. Many of the Deltas also visited church and community day care centers, elementary schools, and children’s hospital facilities to meet the kids and read to them.
“We know that literacy is extremely important to success in life,” said Beverly Robertson, conference co-chair representing the Memphis Alumnae Chapter. “This is our way of supporting and encouraging children to read more books and enjoy the experience.”
During the social action luncheon, Past National President Gwen Boyd delivered a powerful keynote address on the theme “Advocacy in Action: A Stronger Presence, A Stronger Voice.” As she urged the audience to faithfully stay the course on issues affecting our communities, Boyd brought a napkin-waving, hand-clapping crowd to its feet.
Memphian Lois Gilder, the sorority’s iconic Southern Regional Director, received numerous accolades for her dynamic leadership and fortitude in directing the sorority’s largest regional event. And the sorority’s Shelby County Chapter received the conference’s “Chapter of the Year” award.
Frances Culpepper of the Columbus, Georgia Alumnae Chapter became an instant star when she was recognized for her 65th year in the sorority. Asked by the national president to lead a long procession into the ballroom during the celebration banquet on Saturday evening, Culpepper stood patiently in the doorway with her walker, waiting for the march to begin. When she heard Sister Sledge’s “We are family; I’ve got all my sisters with me,” Culpepper pushed the walker aside and did a soulful strut down the long red carpet as the crowd erupted into screams and cheers.
“Executing an event of this magnitude was an awesome task but it was wonderful to see our two chapters working together as one,” said Barbara Tabor Scott, conference co-chair representing the Shelby County, TN Alumnae Chapter. “It was a superb outcome and the national president and regional director were extremely pleased.”
So what’s next for the Deltas?
Sorority members have already begun making plans for the organization’s 100th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C. in January 2013. A year-long slate of events across the nation will usher in the occasion in grand Delta style. With more than 250,000 members and 900 chapters worldwide, the sisters have one message – “Look out D.C.! We’re on our way!”