Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and pretty much every social media out there, practically imploded at the constant stream of updates, pictures, tweets, and collages that kept spooling in over the course of those two days. And with good reason, too. The women who belong to these respective organizations, along with countless other women who make up the membership of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, have a deep personal relationship with one another and the purpose of their organizations.
Scholarship. Service. Sisterhood.
It doesn’t stop once you graduate from college, either. Graduate chapters abound, enabling these Black Greeks to continue in service, scholarship and sisterhood as they navigate life after college. Not only does graduate membership help honor ones commitment to an organization, but it is a safe haven as well. Whenever I have relocated from one city to another, I know that if I find a graduate chapter of AKA, I will be welcomed without hesitation.
If anyone has watched Spike Lee’s iconic movie, “School Daze” or caught any of the earliest episodes of the Cosby show spin-off “A Different World”, you might have a general, albeit hyperbolized, idea of Black Greek Life on campus. Historically speaking, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated was the first sorority established for Black women on the campus of Howard University in 1908. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated were founded in 1913, 1920, and 1922 respectively. I’m not going to get into the who’s, why’s, and what for’s that cause the formation of several different sororities, but suffice it to say, as a result, certain stereotypes have emerged.
Certainly, those of us Sister Greeks can poke fun at ourselves and at one another, especially when it’s done in a light hearted way. There are other times, when ladies can take themselves a bit too seriously, and feelings get hurt. I’m firmly a member of the first camp, and so are the women with whom I surround myself. That fact was never made more clear than on January 13th and January 15th of this year.
This is a picture of me and the group of ladies I rolled with during college. Dara and Cheri were my freshman and sophomore roommates, respectively. I met Courtney and Leasa when we were 13 and at camp together. Roberta and Mia I met as a freshman and we went on to remain friends well into adulthood.
|R to L: Leasa, Cheri, Dara, Hilary, Courtney, Roberta and Mia|
I look at this picture and realize this was one of the last times we all were together before we became members of our respective sororities. Right to left, it breaks down like this — AKA, DST, AKA, AKA, DST, DST, and down in front, DST. And please, if you have some comment about who chose what based on their skin color, or how easy it is to pick me out of the crowd, let me be the first to tell you:
In any event, after talking about friendships and the people who belong in your life will come and stay, seeing this picture was a visual representation of that idea. As I said, DST celebrated their Founder’s Day on January 13th and as it was their centennial year, the volume of messages and photos was immense and not unexpected.
And sure, there were plenty of the joke type of updates, particularly the riff on the Kanye West/Taylor Swift speech.
|(boy, everything becomes a meme)|
That’s the type of relationship we have with one another. Exactly.
Two days later, the AKAs celebrated their Founder’s Day and my inbox was flooded with well-wishes from my sorority sisters, near and far. As I was scrolling through them FB alerted me that I got tagged in a post. It read:
We’re coming up on our 15 year college reunion, and I would love to recreate this photo, maybe even expand upon it to include those young ladies we’ve brought up behind us. Because like I said before, it doesn’t end with graduation. It’s really only the beginning, and what a run we’ve had so far.