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52nd National Convention C O V E R A G E Presidential Youth Conference participant, Mikia Frazier, addresses the membership along with the support of other youth conference attendees. PHOTO BY DONNAMARIA JONES JOURNAL Spring 2016 s15 cities across the nation to participate in three days of workshops focusing on global citizenship, college enroll-ment, goal setting, personal branding and self-empowerment. “We’ve all been talking about Black lives matter, but we want these young people to know that they each specifically matter to us,” said National President Dr. Paulette C. Walker. Dr. Walker joined the confer-ence participants at Tex-as Southern to visit the Barbara Jordan Archives and participate in a ra-dio interview with two conference students at KTSU, the public radio station that broadcasts from the TSU campus. She also set aside time during the National Con-vention’s second plena-ry session on July 25 to present all of the youth conference participants to the Grand Chapter. “Our students are learning how to make the transition from where they are in life to where they could be lat-er,” Dr. Walker said in the radio interview. The guidance and coaching the conference attendees received while in Houston supplements the work they have done throughout the year as an active participant in the Soror-ity’s year-round youth programming – the Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Acade-my for middle school girls, the Delta GEMS (Growing and Empowering My-self Successfully) for high school girls, and EMBODI (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence) for young men. “My very first time at an EMBO-DI meeting, I learned how to tie a tie. I was 12 back then,” said Joe Fields, a 14-year-old freshman in high school representing the Mobile Alumnae Chapter. Just as other students, Fields submitted an original essay with his application and was chosen as a Presidential Youth Conference par-ticipant through a competitive selec-tion process. During the conference, youth at-tendees learned about and discussed global citizenship, social justice and personal goal setting. Macy’s held a style workshop that taught partici-pants how to develop their personal brands through appearance, attitude and aptitude. In addition to the TSU campus visit, the youth participants also spoke with Deltas who are university administrators about the college ap-plication process. Their parents and mentors also received guidance on planning and paying for college in a separate workshop. “All of the activities that we did in Houston have really made me fo-cus on my future more,” said Fields. This year’s conference was orga-nized and led by Dr. Martha Lue Stew-art, chair of the National Program Planning and Development Commit-tee, and committee members Soror Brandi Jones (Princeton Alumnae) and Dr. Stacey Mabray (Augusta Alumnae). The conference’s centerpiece activity was “Critical Conversations” – group conversations for each youth group that allowed them to share their own person-al stories of struggle and achievement with their peers. “I’ve been in the Bet-ty Shabazz Academy and Delta GEMS since I was in sixth grade and the best thing about it is being with people my age who have the same goals and the same mindset,” said Arielle Dixon, a 16-year-old high school junior whose at-tendance at the conference was sup-ported by New Orleans Alumnae. “But it’s also hard work because Deltas hold us to very high stan-dards. You have to pay attention to your surroundings and how you car-ry yourself,” said Dixon. “The Nation-al President told me that she want-ed to hear good things about me and that I am going to be someone amaz-ing – that really touched me.” s


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