It is no coincidence that three of the four historically black Sororities celebrate their Founding within three days of each other. This week began with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. celebrating its Centennial Founders Day on January 13. “In grand fashion” would be an understatement.  The first historically black Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., celebrated the 105th anniversary of its founding on January 15.  Little did I know, the ladies of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. held up the rear in commemorating the 93rdanniversary of their founding on January 16. One of my Sorors quipped “So I guess everybody came back from winter break determined to change the world.” My sentiments exactly.
College semesters are usually separated by season celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Festivus (for the rest of us). Being that the three aforementioned Sororities were founded on Christian principles, expectations raised during Advent certainly stimulated  the  senses. The living Christ makes all things possible—even suffrage, anti-lynching, academic excellence, and unbreakable bonds.
It is hard for us to fathom the brutal challenges facing black women in the early 20th century. Slavery had been abolished less than 50 years prior, while Jim Crow and The Black Codes maintained its racist social structure.  Those who were ambitious and uppity enough to pursue higher education received a double portion. No doubt, these sisterhoods were formed out of necessity. There is strength in numbers. Bring a group together for a common purpose with commitment to common values and each other to shift the earth on its axis.
Sisterhood is not encapsulated in the respective organizations we join. By a weird coincidence, I lived with pledges of AKA and Zeta the semester I pledge Delta Sigma Theta. It would be a lie against all that is sacred to say there was no conflict in that campus suite. However, time and maturity bound us together in a way that transcends the different letters we wear. As a matter of fact, I have a stronger bond with sisters in Greekdom who were made right than some of the ill-formed members of my own Sorority. One such sister in Greekdom and I have coined the term “Sorors in eternity” to capture our shared commitment to Christian discipleship. Therefore, I will appropriate a message I delivered to my Sorors some time age, extending the principles to all who are down with the cause regardless of the nature of our sisterhood (or brotherhood).
An Ode to Sisterhood
Sorors, let us love one another with the mindfulness of God. We must keep in mind that we have committed ourselves not only to a lifetime of service, but also to a loving relationship with one other. That’s what distinguishes us from other service organizations. The NAACP, Urban League, professional organizations, and other volunteer groups are transactional. You come and you go. You do what you do. You pack up.  See you next time. There is no expectation that you care about your fellow members more than the next person. The best part is that you don’t even have to fake it.
Differentiation is a key business concept. What distinguishes a company from the rest of the pack? What makes a consumer buy your product instead of another? What do you do better than your marketplace competitors? You didn’t join a Sorority to do public service. You can do that anywhere. There was a special attraction that lured you. It is all about the relationship. When you knelt on the pillow, you said that you are in this until the end with all of the other women who have taken that same vow.
The assurance that we have as members of Delta Sigma Theta is that we are loved by a connection of like-minded women who are as mindful of us as God is of the sparrow. What’s going on in your Soror’s life?
Is she rejoicing?
Is she in pain?
Is she kicking it hard with the love of her life?
Is she dying inside of loneliness?
Did she just get a promotion?
Does she need a job?
Is her money short?
Does her cup runneth over?
Has she not been active since she pledged?
Is she burning out?
Is she ailing?
Has she recently received a clean bill of health?
Does she deserve a pat on the back?
Does she need a kick in the behind?
What’s going on with her?
Do you not know?
Do you care?
Go find out!
Are you going to only talk about her situation behind her back?
Or are you going to respond with charitable action?
We gather when we bring new members into our Sorority. Seldom have I attended an initiation that was not standing room only. Our Founders saw fit that we should likewise assemble to honor the passing of our members from this life into next with the Omega Omega ceremony.
Are not two sparrows sold for a [a]cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:26-29)
Our participation shows that our deceased Sorors matter to us. I have come to savor the admiration of onlookers observing this rite. Family members are grateful that her love of Delta was reciprocal as shown by this final expression of sisterhood. People who are unfamiliar with the Sorority bear witness that not one among us falls apart from our fellowship and presence because every Soror matters. Just as God is no respector of persons, we must give every Soror her due.
Every Soror is important. Collegiate Sorors matter. Alumnae Sorors matter. Delta Dears matter. Neophytes matter. Inactive Sorors matter, Sorors who aren’t popular matter. Sorors from other Chapters matter. Honorary Sorors matter.  You matter. I matter. Sorors you don’t know matters. And EVEN the Soror you can’t stand matters. Isn’t it good news that God doesn’t wait until He likes us to love us? God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
There is a hymn of the church that says:
We are One in The Spirit,
We are One in The Lord.
We are One in The Spirit,
We are One in The Lord.
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love,
By our Love,
Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
We will work with each other,
We will work side by side.
We will work with each other,
We will work side by side.
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity
And save each man’s pride.
And they’ll know we are Sisters by our love,
By our Love,
Yes they’ll know we are Sisters by our love. 


  • Anonymous Posted January 19, 2013 4:14 pm

    Soror Dionne — this is BRILLIANT! At times I forget how lucky we were to pledge at UMD at a time when we were able to forget our colors of organzation — and simply see our color of Black. Lucikly when I visit FB and my UMD family — especially my "Greek cousins" post, share, send sympathy and celebrate each others accomplishments — I can forget much that is horrible in the world. Thanks for sharing, posting and keeping us all grounded! Love you! Kecia

  • Anonymous Posted January 20, 2013 2:41 am

    I'm so glad you found it. This is just beautiful! Some of my favorite scriptures and a great hymn, indeed. I don't get to get out much, but I'm so happy when I see all of our extended family. Thank you for being the glue that holds us together. I love you, Dionne Y. Brown!


  • Betty Posted January 20, 2013 9:58 pm

    Soror Dionne,
    Your messages are so clear, and inspirational. I'm sure you are an amazing messager for God. Continue to spread the word amongst our sorors and others. I enjoy hearing your messsges. Take care Dionne and God bless you.

  • Anonymous Posted January 21, 2013 5:34 am

    Dionne, thank you for such inspiring words. Watching the ecumenical service on line stream last Sunday reminded me why I work so hard in Delta and for the children in our communities.

    God Bless You

  • Anonymous Posted January 23, 2013 2:23 am

    Wow, Soror Dionne. I must say, I agree with every word. Your comments evoke thought of how one is serving supporting and sharing their Christian principles with others across lines of Sororities/Fraternities and among our circle of friends/family. As always, TMT (you) gives us much to think about.

    PS…Great to see you at DST 100! – Lynda D.

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