Oo-oop! Why I’m So Glad I Pledged Alpha Chapter, DST

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Before enrolling at Howard, I knew the Greek alphabet by heart, because one of my childhood besties Susanne Brown Robinson’s sister was two years older than us and had already crossed the burning sands into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. I had already begun reading ‘In Search of Sisterhood’ by renowned feminist Paula Giddings, a Delta. My guidance counselor who called me into her office one day and sat me down, to tell me that I needed to go Howard University, and not Xavier, because it would expose me to the entire world, and change my life, was a Delta.

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As a Freshman student at Howard, there was no doubt in my mind about what I wanted to pledge and which women I wanted to align myself on campus…because there were young women, some not even 20 years old, who were RUNNING the yard. Whether Miss Howard, the Hilltop, Arts & Sciences Student Council, National Council of Negro Women, they were doing it.

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My prophytes, Assiduous 40, at the annual Woman to Woman Conference in 1996, a semester before I landed on campus.

My road to Delta was no easy one. ESPECIALLY not the road to ALPHA CHAPTER. There were many stressful moments – accusations against me by some envious girls who were not chosen for our sisterhood, tough decisions that I made, some regretfully, where I chose my involvement over school work.  We we’re not expected to just know sorors who are on campus with us, relationships with sorors cross generational lines, going back, though a long lineage of women who crossed before us and women pledging many years after. Pledging, especially pledging Alpha Chapter, was a privilege, an honor that comes with much weight and responsibility. All in all, however, drama/no drama, becoming a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated was one of the most beneficial decisions I made in my young adult life.

My best friend, Dr. Nikia Andrea Scott and I, moments after our coming out show on the yard ca. May 2000.
My best friend, Dr. Nikia Andrea Scott and I, moments after our coming out show on the yard ca. May 2000.
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Road Trip with the Bruhs…The Mother Pearl.

I can’t begin to count the times and ways that sorors have stood by me, during the most challenging moments of my life and the highest. My international travels began by visiting sorors who were living overseas. During the aftermath of Katrina, my family and my city were held down by Sorors. Whether at opening packed exhibitions at museums or premiering the sneak preview of my forthcoming documentary in Italy, sorors have been there. And when I say “I do” to my life partner, sorors will be there.

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Sorors, scholars and artists, celebrating our girl Joan Morgan’s bday in Florence, Italy ca. May 2015.

While I may not wear crimson and creme every day, or tout any of my 15 year old nalia, I do recognize the sisterhood I made a life long pledge to. I do strive for excellence in my life. I do embrace strong bonds with other Black women. I am constantly learning and teaching through my work as a curator. And I try my best to serve, whether by serving on boards of organizations I believe in, working with young people in public schools in Philadelphia, or going to great lengths to get training on how to promote our human rights as people of African descent. Internationally, I’m entrenched in an extended circle of bad assssss women, who are doing their thing in every professional, political, cultural, social, business arena.

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Shout out to those young women, who chose me out of the hundreds of girls who attend rush, to enter their sacred sisterhood, founded on the campus of Howard University, 103 years ago. Shout out to my linesisters, the dope women – physicians, attorneys, scholars, entrepreneurs, political mavens, Hollywood execs, moms, and wives, who crossed with me. Shout out to my neos, the young women who were humble enough to carry on traditions that were passed down from our Founders, those 22 courageous women who left another social group to establish an organization dedicated to sisterhood scholarship and service. Those brave 22 women whose first act of engagement was two participate in the women’s suffrage march of 1913, despite not being treated well by their white comrades nor the patriarchal, sexist and violent men who lined the streets of Pennsylvania Avenue that day to express their disdain at the idea of women’s rights. Shout out to my sorors EVERYwhere who whether you are rocking crimson or creme or not, are showing up and showing out every day in everything you do.

Happy Founders Day!

30-A-00 bka N2DEEP bka The Dirty Thirty

Photo Credit: Jati Lindsay
Photo Credit: Jati Lindsay
Photo Credit: Kim Wilson, 22-A-00
Photo Credit: Kim Wilson, 22-A-00 during our 10th Year Anniversary at Homecoming. Howard University ca. 2010.

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