Opinion: Delta Sigma Theta is a fraternity of college-educated women


Harris is President of the San Diego Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She is Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for Pacific Investment Management Company LLC. She lives in Saber Springs.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. was founded on January 13, 1913 by 22 female students from Howard University. “Delta” means change, and our founders were students, activists, scholars, and servant leaders who were dissatisfied with the status quo. Less than two months after founding the sorority, these 22 young women participated in the Woman Suffrage Procession in Washington, DC, where they faced segregation and racism but refused to leave. These women created a model of public service and fellowship that has led to more than 1,000 chapters around the world, including the United States, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, the Virgin Islands, Africa and the Middle East. .

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Established in 1938, the San Diego Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is the oldest Black Greek-letter organization in San Diego, and we benefit from the legacy of our seven founding members, led by “Blossom” Lorraine Van Lowe Gholston, who was the first black teacher to earn a regular contract with the San Diego Unified School District.

As one of the predominantly black fraternities and sororities that make up the “Divine Nine”, there is a great deal of respect, sincere friendship and support between the organizations at the national and local level. In San Diego, we are collaborating on projects that will improve our service areas because we recognize that we all rise together and there is a lot of work to do. We attend some of the same churches, we belong to some of the same civic organizations, and on many occasions (pre-COVID-19 pandemic) we come together socially.

We are part of the Divine Nine, but our first love is Delta Sigma Theta. We are a fraternity of college graduate women. The San Diego Alumnae Chapter is made up of more than 90 women who have been initiated into various chapters across the country, including those who have signed up through the San Diego Alumnae Chapter. Some of our members joined the sorority while in college, and some of our members joined after graduating from college, so we have women who have been sorority members for as little as three years to over 50 years. No matter where or when we were initiated, it is comforting to know that wherever we go, Deltas can find a local chapter to continue our membership and lifelong commitment to public service.

San Diego Alumnae Chapter programs and activities promote voter education and engagement, social justice, and physical and mental health. We provide scholarships, mentor African American girls, and work with other organizations to provide relief to the homeless and shed light on issues facing refugees and people of African descent. at the border, to name just a few of our activities. We have sponsored an annual Black History Essay Contest for over 25 years to encourage elementary, middle and high school students to improve their writing skills and learn more about Black American history. We worked with former State Assemblyman and current California Secretary of State, the Honorable Dr. Shirley Weber, to present Resolution 257 proclaim July 2018 Uterine Fibroids Awareness Month in California to bring attention to tumors that grow disproportionately in the uterine walls of African American women. We’re putting the service into action by providing food to families in need at Thanksgiving, serving lunch to frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and sponsoring Zoom sessions for the community that feature subject matter experts on various topics such as the CROWN Act (which prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture), COVID-19, colon cancer prevention and awareness, health care disparities for black women, justice in policing and the California ballot proposals.

Individually, we are educators, social workers, military officers, real estate agents, school counselors, lawyers, doctors, politicians, investment professionals, accountants, college presidents, artists , entrepreneurs, retirees and mothers. Collectively, we are Deltas, and we live our heritage and make an impact through fellowship, scholarship, service, and social action.

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