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52nd National Convention C O V E R A G E Honorary Member, Soror Suzzanne Douglas Cobb, with regional representatives and the Second Vice President Soror Brittani Blackwell. PHOTO BY SHARON FARMER Honorary Members Sorors Paula Madison Williams and Sheryl Lee Ralph during the Farwest Regional Luncheon at the 52nd National Convention. PHOTO BY VALERIE PHILLIPS JOURNAL Spring 2016 s21 “I joined Delta because it’s known for being a ser-vice organization, and I wanted to serve,” said So-ror Reid. “And, I found it very difficult to insert my-self because there was no way, there was no path to say, ‘OK, I’m here. What can I do?’” Hearing their con-cerns, Dr. Paulette C. Walk-er created the Nation-al Honorary Membership Task Force when she took office as National Presi-dent. She appointed 17th National President Mona Humphries Bailey and Dr. Louise A. Rice, the 23rd National President, as co-chairs. Dr. Rice and Soror Bailey held the first convention work-shop for Honorary Members in Hous-ton. Soror Cobb, Ambassador Cook, Soror Hammond, Soror Madison and Soror Reid attended, as well as So-ror Sheryl Lee Ralph, an actress and singer, and Soror Susan L. Taylor, a philanthropist and editor. “You said you wanted to know more and we want you to know more,” said Soror Bailey as she greet-ed the participants. “There are two purposes for this workshop, to re-view your role in the 52nd National Convention, and that will be an on-going role for subsequent conven-tions, and to spend time understand-ing this organization.” “That session was spectacular,” said Soror Madison, who was initi-ated in 2013. “I felt like I had been parched in the desert and got water. I was like claps, I’m so happy.” “That meeting, it was wonderful,” said Soror Cobb. “I began to think of ways we could contribute even more. You know, an Honorary Member wrote our oath. And, the list goes on and on and on. That’s how active Honorary Members have been in our sis-terhood. The women you have serving, coming to convention, are Honorary Members who are that kind of woman, that kind of sister. So, a small book-let that would list historical in-formation about the Honorary Members’ contributions may lead Honorary Members to say, ‘Oh, this is how I can engage.’” “All we want to do is be a main part of the sisterhood,” said Soror Hammond, a 1985 initiate who has been active for decades. “We also want to reach out to our other hon-orary sisters to bring them on board through communication. Let’s get it done, so we can contribute, in return for what’s been given to us, such an honor.” Dr. Rice says Honorary Members who were unable to attend conven-tion will receive the workshop materials in the mail, along with key Sorority documents. The task force is planning addition-al outreach activities to educate and engage Honorary Members who have not been active in the past, either due to lack of com-munication or lack of time. “We want to place informa-tion in their hands, dialogue with them periodically, and con-tinue to connect our Honorary Members with regional leaders so they can become more in-volved,” said Dr. Rice. “We are already seeing very positive re-sults, including their serving as keynote speakers for chap-ter and cluster Founders Day events. The task force is excited about the progress experienced and the accomplishments achieved thus far.” “I’m really grateful that it’s mov-ing the way it is,” said Soror Reid. “We don’t want to be up on the shelf. We want to be here, in the field, fight-ing the battles and doing the work of our sisterhood. I’m happy to be in DST.” s


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