By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter
The local chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated celebrated the 115th Founders’ Day of their sisterhood on Saturday, February 18, 2023. The local chapters of Zeta Alpha Omega, Alpha Lambda, and Iota Iota welcomed family, friends, and guests to celebrate at the Pinnacle in Maumee. The theme for the 115th Founders’ Day Celebration was “Black Girls Rock in Exemplary Service.”
Festivities opened with a processional of the event dignitaries as Kristian Brown of 13ABC News served as the mistress of ceremony. The dais was introduced by Sonya Randall and Debra Brock of Mt. Nebo Church sang “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.”
Greetings and warm salutations were delivered by Treva Jeffries-Martin, EdD, Zeta Alpha Omega chapter president, Jasmine Fox, Alpha Lambda chapter president and Northern Ohio/Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Cluster Coordinator, and Avery Ellis, Iota Iota chapter president.
“We are so pleased to receive the support from the community. This celebration of Black Girls In Exemplary Service allows us to uplift and celebrate our founders because their courage and tenacity created a space for educated black women to have a voice. It also allows us to uplift and empower women in the community who reflect that same courage and tenacity. The support that we receive from our community supports our community service and scholarships, so we can continue our community driven endeavors for many years to come,” shared Jeffries-Martin.
Felicia Roberts-Dunston, program chair, delivered the sorority history and acknowledgements as Cheryl Slack, the chapter’s chaplain, delivered the innovation before lunch was served. The celebration continued with program acknowledgements. Lisa McDuffie, vice president and program chair delivered a presentation about the program targets and Kayleen Powell presented a poem.
Awards were presented to eight deserving women. Each honoree was welcomed by a presenter.
- Diana Patton, former Civil Rights Attorney and Founder of the Rise Advocates Academy, was awarded the Legacy of Excellence Award. Presented by Richelle Watkins.
- Stayce Fowler, owner/operator of Customer Advocacy Partners, LLC., was awarded the Shot Caller Award. Presented by Donnetta Carter.
- Carla Pattin, PhD, assistant professor of Humanities at The Jesup Scott Honors College at The University of Toledo, was awarded the Black Girl Magic Award. Presented by Felicia Roberts-Dunston.
- Celia Williamson, PhD, 29-year anti-trafficking advocate, was awarded the Social Humanitarian Award. Presented by Katrina Barry.
- Lydia Myrick, has worked alongside several black artists to co-curate work featured at the Toledo Museum of Art the African American Legacy Project, was awarded the Young, Gifted & Black Award. Presented by Kaylee Powell.
- Tina Butts, CEO and Founder of The Movement Team, was awarded the Community Change Agent Award. Presented by Clara Petty, Co-chairman.
- Billie Johnson, President/CEO of the Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio, Inc. was awarded the Icon Award. Presented by Rhonda Sewell.
- Elinor Allen, AKA member for over 69 years who has served in various leadership and civic-focused roles, was awarded the Sisterhood Award. Presented by Clara Petty.
It is a privilege to recognize wonderful women in our community who have contributed significantly in the areas that align with our sorority’s program initiatives. As they demonstrate selfless efforts toward empowering our families, building our economic wealth, enhancing our environment, advocating for social justice, and strengthening our sisterhood,” shared Felicia Roberts-Dunston, 2023 Founders’ Day Chairman.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated was founded on January 15, 1908 at Howard University which is located in Washington, D.C. Locally, Alpha Lambda Chapter was established at the University of Toledo in 1928. Iota Iota Chapter was charted at Bowling Green State University in 1972.
Zeta Alpha Omega Chapter was chartered in Toledo in 1952. Current chapter leadership: president, Treva Jeffries-Martin, PhD; assistant president, Lisa McDuffie; recording secretary, Cassandra Adams; corresponding secretary, Leigh Utley; treasurer, Paula Martin; assistant treasurer, Jacalyn Brown; financial secretary, Andrea Price; assistant financial secretary, Katrina Berry; Ivy Leaf © Reporter/ public relations, Pam Green-Jones; graduate advisor of Alpha Lambda chapter, Katina Johnson; graduate advisor of Iota Iota, Richelle Watkins; parliamentarian, Cynthia Battles; historian, Genevia Odoms; sergeant-at-arms; Demecia Wilson.
Founders’ Day Committee: Felicia Roberts-Dunston, Chairman; Clara Petty, Co-Chairman; and members: Treva Jefferies, PhD, Katrina Barry, Debra Brock, Shaunda Brown-Perez, Donnetta Carter, Lisa Dubose, PhD, Ashleigh Foster, Pam Green-Jones, Katrina Johnson, Patrice McClellan, PhD, Brittany McDuffie, Lisa McDuffie, Kayleen Powell, Andrea Price, Cheryl Slack, Nazerene Tubman, Richelle Watkins and Leigh Utley.