Special to the Rome News-Tribune
Approximately 250 people celebrated Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s 110 Founders’ Day hosted by Theta Omicron Omega Chapter on Jan. 28, 2018 at the Joy Life Center at Lovejoy Baptist Church.
Dr. Tasha Toy Berrien presided over the occasion.
The theme of the program was “Honoring Our Founders Through Sisterhood and Service.”
A musical prelude was provided by Ariel Prater. Sherry Turner, Chapter President, extended greetings. Yvonne Prater, Vice President, gave the occasion and Henrice Berrien, Chaplain, rendered a meditation followed by a congregational singing of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.”
Ruby Morgan, Historian, reflected on the sorority’s existence for 110 years followed by a “Litany in Honor of Women Here and Around the World” read by Aaron Bailey, Kelsey Beeman, Racheal Beeman, Cydney Freeman, Blair Hadley, Jordan Jessie, Jordan Perkins and Asia Turner.
Golden Sorors, members in the sorority for at least 50 years, — Mary Callins, Henrice Berrien, Dr. Jacqueline Michael and Laney Stevenson — each received a special copy of the Litany. A creative dance was performed by Shari Whatley against the backgrounds of a poetic reading of “A Room Full of Sisters” by Portia Ellis and Andra Day’s “Rise up.”
Theta Omicron Omega honored 13 individuals selected by the sorority from the areas the sorority serves for their distinguished Leadership and Community Service. Among these were Reverend Randy B. Livsey, a native of Cartersville and a “suffering servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ;” Florence Stocks, a Rockmart native and a retiree from Meggitt Polymers and Composites in 2017; Pastor Carey N. Ingram, a native of Rome, minister for over 40 years now in his 30th year as Pastor of the Lovejoy Baptist Church and a “Heart of the Community” recipient; Dr. Charlie Rouse, a native of Waynesboro and founder and owner of West Georgia Cardiology Associates in Carrollton Georgia; Deirdre Rouse, a native of North Carolina and Director of Diversity Education and Community Initiatives in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of West Georgia; Marvin Williams, Minister of Music at Thankful Baptist Church, a Retired Educator and former Superintendent of Polk County Schools, now currently serving as Headmaster of York Academy (Murphy Harpst Children’s Center ); Justice Robert Benham, appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in 1989, became Chief Justice in 1995 and currently continues to serve on the Court; William Victor Morgan, a native of Cartersville and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Education and Pathways to Teaching Director at Berry College; Fred O’Neal, a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones; Gladys Gipson, a retired educator after teaching 41 years and presently serves as secretary of the Polk County Democratic Committee; Evelyn Hamilton, a native of Rome, one of three students who integrated Berry College in 1964 and retired after 34 years of employment with the Floyd County Department of Family and Children Services; Estella McDermott, a native of Cedartown, a retiree from the United States Air Force as Major and has served as a GED instructor in Polk County, and Bernice Brooks, a native of Villa Rica and was the first African American elected to the Carroll County School Board for District #1.
Following the Distinguished Leadership Awards presentations, member Rosie Walker rendered a solo. Introduction of the keynote speaker, Shevawn Broxton Young, was given by Angela Campbell, immediate Past President. Young, a member of Phi Phi Omega Chapter in Alpharetta, is a Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a member of the South Atlantic Region Cluster Council where she serves as the Cluster V Coordinator. She was initiated into Eta Beta Chapter, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. Young reflected on the sorority’s founders and the times that brought about the need for such an organization.
Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, one of its founders, dreamed of creating a support network for women with like minds coming together for mutual uplift, and coalescing their talents and strengths for the benefit of others. The Civil War ending was fewer than 50 years old and the climate for African Americans was dim and most challenging. Ethel Hedgeman Lyle’s vision crystallized as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first Negro Greek letter sorority. Young challenged all in attendance to be about the business of our AKA founders whose primary goal was that of “service to all mankind.” She encouraged all to “lift as you climb” knowing “that we rise by lifting others” and as we serve, serve with a “heart of grace” and a “soul of love.”
A culminating portion of the celebration was the presentation of Theta Omicron Omega’s Soror of the Year. Selected by its members was Angela Campbell, a native of Brandon, Mississippi and initiated into the sorority in 1998 in Chi Chapter at Talladega College. Campbell’s contributions to the sorority have been numerous. She has served as President of both Chi Chapter and Theta Omicron Omega. Other offices and positions held include: vice president, secretary, graduate advisor, and Chairman of the 2016 Kits and Souvenirs Committee for the historic 67th Boule in Atlanta.
Additionally, she has served on all committees within Theta Omicron Omega and is a talented and outstanding decorator. Campbell states that her most rewarding experiences were during her three-year tenure as the chapter’s Rites-of-Passage Coordinator. Professionally, she serves as Adjunct Biology Professor at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Additionally, she is the Senior Customer Manager for the Department of Public Works with the City of Atlanta. She is the daughter of Arthur and Rosie Kersh, the wife of Dr. Tedric DeWayne Campbell and she is the mother of three children, Tiffany, Andrew and Adrian.
Closing remarks were given by Sherry Turner, and the event concluded with all members (some 85 including visiting members) of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in attendance singing the AKA International Hymn.