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Sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta: Amazing Facts About the Largest Black Sorority

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deltasBy Marie Seva

Delta Sigma Theta began at Howard University. It was founded by 22 college women on Jan. 13, 1913. It is the largest Black Greek-lettered sisterhood, with over 300,000 members in more than 1,000 chapters in different parts of the world such as the United States, England, Germany, Korea, Japan, Bermuda, Bahamas and the Virgin Islands.

Let’s take a peak at more facts about the far-reaching sisterhood:
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1. Delta Sigma Theta was started by women who had been initiated as Alpha Kappa Alpha members. After being restricted from changing the organization’s name and being more active and outreaching, these women paved the way to birth Delta Sigma Theta.

2. The sorority’s official colors are crimson and cream, or red and white, while its official flower is the African Violet.

3. Delta Sigma Theta teams up with different organizations and corporations like Habitat for Humanity, Wal-Mart, General Electric, Chase, and Coca-Cola to facilitate the implementation of their various programs
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4. In response to the increasing cases of obesity and to combat its fatal effects, the sorority has embarked on the 50 Million Pound Challenge in partnership with State Farm Insurance and the famous physician, Dr. Ian Smith. It inspired members to join others in the endeavor to eat healthy food and to include exercise in their lifestyles. Delta Sigma Theta was awarded at the National Convention 2008 in Orlando, Florida for having the largest sum of weight lost among all sororities and fraternities.

5. Delta, with the disabled and the elderly in mind, was the pioneer among all African-American sororities and fraternities in building a retirement center. They built the multi-million dollar Delta Towers, which is a 10-stories-high apartment building. Positive outcomes have led to endeavors for a second tower.

6. As part of the organization’s centennial celebration, it became the first African-American Greek-lettered institution to take part in the Rose Parade, or the Tournament of Roses, on Jan. 1, 2013, in Pasadena, California. Their float was stately decorated with flowers, and it had a large rotating hexagonal prism that bore meaningful illustrations that featured the various thrusts and programs of the organization. Their theme was “Transforming Communities through Sisterhood and Service.”
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7. The organization sponsored the MEOC (Maryland Educational Opportunity Center), which received a large grant from the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare amounting to $450,000. MEOC provides free information and consultative services to adults and young adults who are contemplating to take up a collegiate, vocational or technical course. MEOV has rendered services to some 78,000 individuals from 1979 to 2006.

8. Delta Sigma Theta was bestowed by the United Nations with an NGO consultative status. It is the pioneer African-American Sorority to have been granted this privilege. Delta Sigma Theta Assistant Secretary General for External Affairs Gillian Sorensen urged sorority members “[to] use your NGO status to monitor the status of women and children in the world and bind together with other NGOs to insure that the UN honors its commitments.”

9. The organization responded to the needs of the residents affected by Hurricane Katrina by creating the Delta Hurricane Katrina Relief Task Force, through which among other efforts, the organization was able to provide a total of $700,000 in a span of four years to three affected African-American colleges and universities, namely Southern University, Xavier University and Dillard University. Additionally, they pledged about $1,200,000 to other affected members of the community.

10. In January 2013, some 12,000 members of the sisterhood flew to Washington, D.C. for the centennial celebration of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. It was conducted at the Washington Convention Center. Excitement filled the air, but their motives were not only bent toward merriment, as the chair of the events said, “When we gather, we gather not to just socialize, but also to render service in every community.” Dedication to their ideals seem to be prevalent in them as another member said, “It is no perfect organization. . .. But perfection is not the standard. . . Commitment is. . . I believe the commitments of the more than 200 thousand college and graduate members to making ourselves, our communities, and our nation better is a story worth noting.”

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