Reflections of Inaugural Red Table Talk with Delta Dears
Submitted by Jo-Ann Raines
The Eastern Regional Leadership Team has been very busy as it approaches completion of the first 100 days of the new administration. An initiative was launched on Nov. 10 with the first Red Table Talk with Delta Dear Moments. Moderated by Gail Mitchell of Queens Alumnae Chapter and also the Delta Dear Subcommittee Chair, the event was sponsored under the Membership Services Committee.
Mitchell began with an inspirational poem by sorority member Mona Lake Jones, A Room Full of Sisters, which celebrates the strengths and differences. She then introduced the special guest of the day, Eastern Regional Director Rosie Allen-Herring. Allen-Herring shared her vision, acknowledging this moment in time, and feeling of hope. Her goal is to “Elevate our region, our impact, and our sisterhood.” She recognized Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as a fellow alumna of Howard University, who was on line for AKA at the same time Allen-Herring was striving for Delta.
To get a sense of the nearly 700-plus Delta Dears engaged in the call, background information was gathered via polls: 34 percent have been members of Delta for 41-50 years; 34 percent were from Maryland, 18 percent from Pennsylvania, and 16 percent from New Jersey. Additionally, 56 percent were initiated as collegiates with 44 percent initiated into alumnae chapters; and 11 percent are currently holding elected positions in their chapters with 32 percent holding appointed positions.
Four Delta Dears served as guest panelists and responded to questions posed by Regional Director Allen-Herring. Willette Johnson of Springfield Alumnae Chapter addressed the pros and cons of how Dears are perceived: seasoned, keepers of the flame, wise counselors, resources, encouragers, and role models. They are also seen as set in their ways. She said Dears should keep a healthy perspective on who they are and to view themselves as valuable resources.
Rita Waters harkened to her days in Boston as a new initiate of Iota Chapter. She related instances of the chapter hosting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Boston and meeting with Stokely Carmichael in Detroit. She offered that things have not really changed since the 60’s. She encouraged all to remain hopeful for the sake of their descendants and said chapters need to put economic programs in place for Dears who are at risk, especially with the impact of the COVID-19 virus.
How do Dears give back? Janet Brown of Wilmington Alumnae Chapter stated that Dears give through time, fundraising, and sharing of wisdom. Dears are committed to community outreach and enjoy themselves while they are serving. They often are creative in their methods, such as providing undergarments to a men’s shelter that was in great need of them.
Desiree Mitchell of Federal City Alumnae Chapter addressed the needs of Dears, which are similar to those of other senior citizens: financial, technology, and staying connected. She suggested having a special dues rate for Dears, similar to the special rate for collegiate members, and a directory of resources on a website with links to resources such as the Social Security Administration and Meals on Wheels. Training on Zoom as well as basic functions in Word also would be welcomed additions. All agreed that staying connected has added importance in this time of isolation caused by the pandemic. Reaching out to Dears through phone calls or cards is a strategy that could be paired with sending hard copies of meeting minutes to those Dears who request them.
Moderator Mitchell asked the four panelists to share in a few words their Pearls of Wisdom. She also gave a nugget of her own as the daughter and sister of Deltas. Brown offered the golden rule and learning something new every day. Johnson said that Dears should do all they can do for as many as they can for as long as they can. Value the art of listening was the pearl given by Desiree Mitchell, and Waters encouraged all to leverage their power.
The call concluded with Allen-Herring referring to upcoming activities for Delta Dears in the 2020-2021 sorority year. Another Red Table Talk is planned as well as a retreat.
Submitted by Jo-Ann Raines The Eastern Regional Leadership Team has been very busy as it approaches completion of the first 100 days of the new administration. An initiative was launched on Nov. 10 with the first Red Table Talk with Delta Dear Moments. Moderated by Gail Mitchell of Queens Alumnae Chapter and also the Delta …