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52nd National Convention C O V E R A G E JOURNAL Spring 2016 s47 moment that will always be etched in Delta Sigma Theta’s commission his-tory. We’re really proud of that.” The Keeper of the Flame Award presentation to Lula Washington, founder and artistic director of the Lula Washington Dance Theater, brought the audience to a standing ovation. “We are here to build dreams. This is history,” said Washington, renowned in the United States and worldwide for her significant contri-butions to dance. “I will lift this up and continue to do what I do.” Working behind the camera and having cast in prominent roles out-standing African American actors from Halle Berry to Denzel Washington, Emmy Award-winning casting direc-tor Soror Robi Reed earned the Impact Award. Speaking specif-ically to younger sorors, Reed challenged them to believe in themselves. To the sea of Del-tas and all audience members, she asked everyone to make an impact on someone. “The most important deci-sion that we can make in life is choosing to believe in who we are, whose we are, and that with God all things are possible,” said Reed. With appreciation to her beloved sorori-ty for ongoing support, Soror Victoria Christo-pher Murray accept-ed the Osceola Award. One of the country’s top African Ameri-can contemporary au-thors, Murray has more than 1 million books in print includ-ing “The Deal,” “The Dance” and “The Dev-il,” and the “Ex Files” series, which were optioned to become movies. “It is because of God and Delta Sigma Theta that I still have a pub-lishing contract,” said Murray. “It is such an honor to be able to be given an award for something that God has gifted me. This is a gift, and I am walk-ing in the gift that He has given me.” While unable to attend the Ex-travaganza, Soror Melissa Harris-Per-ry accepted the Lillian Award via pre-recorded video. Renowned jour-nalist, columnist, author and host of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, Har-ris- Perry thanked the commission for recognizing her with such an es-teemed honor. The National Arts and Letters Award made its inaugural debut during the 52nd National Conven-tion. Collegiate chapter Dillard Uni-versity and alumnae chapter Phil-adelphia Alumnae took home the newly unveiled accolade. Following the awards, the au-dience swayed and cheered as the O’Jays crooned out classic hits like “For the Love of Money,” “Back Stabbers,” and “Use Ta Be My Girl.” Through their powerful musical per-formance, the group brought the au-dience to its feet. Given the occasion of celebrating talent powerhouses, all in attendance were glad to be in the house. “I was really moved by the awards,” said Soror Olivia Rosser, a member of Mu Beta at George Wash-ington University. “I didn’t realize Misty Copeland would be here to-night. She is such an inspiration to me.” In an energetic, fast-paced, emo-tional, and inspirational night, audi-ence members showed their thanks to the National Arts and Letters Com-mission through the smiles on their faces and as they rose to their feet time and time again in admiration for those being honored. “When you come into Del-ta, you’re on fire. We build from our Founders; what they did then, we are still imple-menting now,” said Soror Gay-le Spencer-Ridley of the Suffolk Alumnae Chapter. “From the day I wanted to be a Delta until now, I still have that burning. It’s an honor to be here to en-joy the sisterhood and the fel-lowship.” s The O’Jays perform following awards during the Delta Extravaganza. PHOTOS BY DONNAMARIA JONES Osceola Award awardee, Soror Victoria Christopher Murry (LEFT) and Impact Award recipient, Soror Robi Reed, with Extravaganza headliner, the O’Jays. PHOTO BY DONNAMARIA JONES


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