Yes I Can, Because I'm a Delta (Happy 100th Anniversary!)
One hundred years ago today, twenty-two women at Howard University had a vision for a sorority dedicated to public service and followed through on that vision. That sorority is Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and I am a member. And I am a better black woman because of it.
As many of my loyal readers know, I've been going through some things at work. The other day, I came out of my office at the end of the day, walked down to my car where my husband was waiting, and told him, "I'm quitting."
"Really?", he responded.
"Yes, but not yet. I'm not going until I have exactly the kind of job I want. In the words of my nephew, I can 'thug it out' on this job until I get exactly what I want, I pledged Delta; these people ain't got nothing on me." I can rise above adversity and come out the better for it precisely because I'm a Delta.
I pledged Delta Sigma Theta -- and we don't even use the word "pledge" anymore -- back in the day when the membership intake process was, shall we say, arduous. Not as arduous as the process for women who pledged in the '40's, '50's and '60's, but arduous enough. The process broke my spirit and built me back up. What it taught me was that I could persevere through adversity and come out of it stronger and stronger-willed. Pledging Delta tested me in a way that better prepared me for all of life's real tests -- death, illness, infertility, job madness -- because I knew what I was made of long before I was tested for real. Because Delta showed me.
There's far more to Delta Sigma Theta than its intake process, past or present. I was drawn to Delta because of all the powerful black women I saw who were members, most notably Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, and U.S. Ambassador Jewel LaFontant. I was drawn to Delta because it wasn't a social club at its inception -- the twenty-two founders came together with the purpose of public service and, specifically, fighting for women's right to vote, even as the suffragette movement rejected them. I wanted to be part of that tradition.
I'll be the first to admit that Delta has done far more for me than I've done for Delta, but every little goodbye ain't gone, and there's still time for me to get my Delta act together. That said, I could not let this day pass without saying thank you, Delta, and Happy 100th Anniversary.