Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hooper: Delta Sigma Theta sorority commands attention, respect

For some, the word sorority immediately inspires visions of college-age women wearing Greek-lettered shirts, gathering for social functions and staging philanthropic events.

Candle-bearing rituals, fraternity mixers, step shows and memorizing the sorority history may also come to mind.

But Paulette Walker wants you to know there's so much more, especially with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

"Our biggest challenge is making sure that mainstream America understands the importance of organizations like Delta Sigma Theta," Walker said Wednesday. "We're the largest black female organization in the world but people don't know what kind of impact we can have.

"They see the word sorority and all they think of is partying and stepping. They don't see us as a force to reckon with, but we are a force."

The sorority will be in full force this weekend in Tampa as the national chapter continues the year-long celebration of its 100th anniversary.

The nation's largest African-American sorority, Delta Sigma Theta created a 22-city torch tour to commemorate the milestone. The 22 cities reflect the sorority's 22 founders and the torch will pass through the hometowns of the sorority's living past national presidents, current executive committee members and two of its international chapters — Tokyo and Bermuda.

Walker, retired director of undergraduate programs at the University of South Florida, serves as the sorority's national first vice president and it is her Tampa Alumnae chapter that will host events around the torch tour this weekend. It's significant that Tampa Bay is the tour's only stop in Florida.

The tour kicks off with an educational event involving more than 300 students at the Museum of Science and Industry from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Delta herself, and Delta national president Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre will be part of a second presentation at the Tampa Convention Center at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The pomp and circumstance matters, but so do the everyday efforts of Delta Sigma Theta. With more than 200,000 members, Walker rightfully notes that the sorority influences a number of social issues. Its current mission includes economic development, educational development, international affairs, physical and mental health, and political awareness.

The sorority looks to engage local and state leaders and holds "Delta Days" every year in Washington, D.C., where it advocates with leaders.

Though it emphasizes the issues impacting African-Americans, Walker said the sorority has members from all nationalities and ethnicities and also looks to engage broader community concerns.

"Health care is an issue for everybody," Walker said.

It always surprises me when people looking to make a true change in the community don't seek the help of sororities and fraternities. With greater collaboration, the shared goal of social activism can be underscored.

"It's Delta Sigma Theta — comma — Incorporated," Walker said emphatically. "Our involvement doesn't end when we graduate. Our commitment is for a lifetime."

The weekend will mark a special time for Walker and all of the sorority's members. Let's hope that it also sparks a greater awareness of the sorority's impact that can only make us a better community.

That's all I'm saying.

Hooper: Delta Sigma Theta sorority commands attention, respect 05/16/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 3:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Get under the covers with Tom Perrotta's 'Mrs. Fletcher'

    Books

    If Tom Perrotta's new novel, Mrs. Fletcher, had a moral, it might be this: Thinking you can learn how to have a great sex life by watching porn is like thinking you can learn to be a great driver by playing Grand Theft Auto.

  2. Hillsborough approves miniscule cut to property tax rate, give $2 million to bus system

    Local

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County Commissioners on Thursday approved a decrease in the property tax rate for next year that will save most homeowners a little pocket change.

    Passengers are seen near a bus at Westfield-Brandon Transit Center Thursday, July 13 in Brandon. On Thursday, commissioners approved a $2 million one-time payment for the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  3. 5 things to know before Tampa Bay Comic Con this weekend

    Events

    Tampa Bay Comic Con returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, expected to attract more than 55,000 like-minded nerds mingling with cosplayers, celebrities, artists and sellers of comic books and collectibles.

    Surrounded by the bridesmaids dressed as Disney princesses and groomsmen dressed as Marvel superheroes, Gwen Walter of Venice, Fla., kisses her husband, Shawn Walter, also of Venice, after their wedding ceremony on day two of the 2016 Tampa Bay Comic Con in the Tampa Convention Center on August 6, 2016. The pair got engaged at Megacon 2015 and were married wearing "Nightmare Before Christmas"-themed costumes. Two different couples were married in Room 24 on the second day of the Tampa Bay Comic Con 2016. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times
  4. Baker releases endorsement of 40 Midtown pastors

    Blogs

    Rick Baker announced Thursday that he has the support of 40 Midtown pastors and religious leaders, evidence he says of his "overwhelming support" in a crucial part of the city.

  5. A Taste of Tampa Bay: Noble Crust in St. Petersburg

    Food & Dining

    Noble Crust opened on north 4th Street in St. Petersburg, an area light on ambitious restaurants, in 2015. Chef Rob Reinsmith and his team are serving up a blend of southern cuisine and Italian-style cooking, including the restaurant's signature fried chicken. The Noble Crust brand recently expanded beyond its St. …

    Pizza at Noble Crust. [Photo by MONICA HERNDON | TIMES]