This week, the women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter kick off the celebration of 95 years of service to the region. And they’re doing it with an act of service to help other women. Chapter President Dr. Penny Nixon spoke with WHYY host and anchor Cherri Gregg.
Thank you for having me.
So first of all, can we take a moment and just mark 95 years? Give me your reaction to that.
This is a special year for the Philadelphia alumnae chapter. So we are excited. We know that we really stand on the shoulders of our founders and our charter members, and they — during their time really addressed the needs of the community, and they did it with such courage and fortitude.
And I want to point out a large part of Delta Sigma Theta mission is a commitment to the service of the Black community. Could you talk about the history of this commitment going back to the very beginning?
Our organization was started on the campus of Howard University in 1913, and the very first act of service our founders participated in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. And if you know anything about that time, it would have been unheard of for Black women to participate in the suffrage movement, let alone college student services. That is what Delta Sigma Theta sorority does.
And the Philadelphia chapter has done some very powerful things and is very issue-focused. Give us some of the highlights.
We have addressed education, voting rights. We are really doing a lot of work now around gerrymandering. We have addressed food insecurity. When so many young people and adults lost their lives in the Fairmount fire, we immediately went into action on what we call Project Impact 2022 and our members raised $5,000 within a week’s time that we are contributing to the fund. So we’re there, we’re on the front lines. It is our responsibility as a community service organization to really address the issues of our community in our cities.
And I got to point out there that in the 95 years scholarships have been a big part. You guys have raised a lot of money.
We’ve raised a lot of money for scholarships, and for our 95th anniversary, our chapter voted to provide $95,000 in scholarship money to the Legacy of Love Foundation. We are also establishing a scholarship for our two HBCUs in Pennsylvania. We will be providing a full-tuition scholarship to a young person who will be attending Cheney and a full tuition scholarship to a young person who will be attending Lincoln University. And we are asking for young people who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics because we know that our HBCUs really produce students who do well in those areas.
And that is beautiful. So this week is the kickoff celebration with an act of service. Tell me, what will the chapter be doing?
Sure. So for our service mission, we’ve partnered with Life Turning Point of Philadelphia, and it’s an organization that supports homeless women and children. And we were attracted to this organization because at the end of the 18-month program, the women secure employment and permanent housing. Our partnership involves helping them this weekend start their pantry and freezer. And throughout this entire year’s celebration, we will be providing support and workshops to the women and children there as well. And we’re hoping, Cherri, that it extends beyond a year because we are really hoping that other organizations join us in this effort.
As we wrap up, tell us where people can support the Philadelphia alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta as you kick off this 95 year anniversary celebration.
On February 2nd we will actually be located at Life Turning Point of Philadelphia at 5200 Wayne Avenue in the Germantown section of the city. We will be there from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Anyone who would like to donate, we will be there in a parking lot. They can drive up drop off items that are not perishable items, and we will gladly accept them. And as I close Cherri, I want to thank you for understanding how important the work [is] of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Dr. Penny Nixon is president of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. More information about their kickoff event can be found online.