Reflections: Red Table Talk Part II with Delta Dears
“Staying Connected and Engaged”
Submitted by Norma J. Hatot-King
Launched in November 2020 under the Membership Services Committee, the ground-breaking Red Table Talk initiative celebrated Part II on Feb. 10, 2021 by asking more than 500 Delta Dears to share their perspectives on staying connected and engaged. Moderator Gail Mitchell opened the session by reading Maya Angelou’s highly-acclaimed poem, Phenomenal Woman. Known for her outspokenness as a civil rights activist, a journalist, and a poet, Angelou’s work allowed Dears to openly and fearlessly come to the Red Table to participate in an evening filled with provocative, important topics without any hesitations or restrictions. Having reached the age of three score and two, Dears in the East lived up to their reputations of being dedicated, energetic, active, and respected as they shared their vast knowledge, abundant wisdom, and diverse opinions.
The format for the evening mirrored the inaugural session with a panel of four Dears responding to a series of questions offered by the ever-gracious Diva extraordinaire, Regional Director Rosie Allen-Herring. Surprising the Dears, Regional Representative Nadege DeBrosse offered elegant greetings that served as an uplifting reminder of the essential contributions only offered by Delta Dolls.
Short polls with immediate results peppered throughout the discussion offered interesting descriptive information and points of view from the audience. The poll questions included: How many years have you been a Delta? Were you initiated as a collegiate or alumnae member? How many chapters have you served? What do you need to stay connected to the sorority?
While most of the participants celebrated 40 years as Deltas, the breakdown of how Dears were initiated was just about even with 53% as collegiate and 47% alumnae. Dears expressed satisfaction with their chapters as validated by 38% reporting service with only one chapter followed by lesser percentage results for the other options. The poll question concerning keeping Dears connected to the sorority generated tremendous enthusiasm. As experienced servant leaders, Dears seek prepared, inclusive, proven, leadership throughout the Delta hierarchy. Dears seek honest, dependable, organized leaders who understand leadership and the essence of how to communicate respectfully with an all-volunteer force of accomplished women, not girls, in a results-focused manner. Dears expressed a need to feel loved, supported, heard, and appreciated; connected with Divas and Dolls in shared projects; engaged in lifelong learning thru advances in technology; and respected for their value added.
Whenever Dears gather, there is an opportunity to share Pearls of Wisdom. As such, the Red Table overflowed with pearls from the panelists to include knowing your communities and their needs; giving communities what they request; staying woke; leveraging your power as an organization moving forward; using your time wisely; not delaying anything today with hopes of being able to do it tomorrow; giving Dears what they request rather than what you believe is best for them; speaking the truth; being able to admit being wrong and apologizing; recognizing different learning styles rather than imposing your viewpoint on others; knowing your past; and claiming your right to demand respect and freedom. You only die once, so live your lives in the moment.
Requesting that the lines be opened to allow questions and comments from the Dears in the audience, Regional Director Allen-Herring encouraged participants to think about the lessons learned because of the pandemic. Changes have included opportunities and possibilities; challenges have been conquered; and problems have been solved. While there was an un-readiness and diversity of opinion about being vaccinated to control the virus, Dears can be and should consider becoming influencers in this area. While there is a dark history of medical apartheid involving Black Americans, it is important to strive to work through any hesitancy while understanding and recognizing today’s science. Black scientists involved in this work, continue to serve as advocates on behalf of communities of color.
With the vision of a return to in-person meetings, perhaps a hybrid of virtual combined with in-person meetings could become a reality for some chapters. Positive outcomes in spite of the pandemic include the fact that Dears with physical disabilities, transportation challenges, and family and career conflicts increased their participation with the shift to the virtual meeting format. Courage during adversity crafted trailblazing paths in that members were still initiated, ceremonies and traditions continued, and chapter and committee meetings flourished with the addition of new participants with innovative contributions.
Overall, Dears need to feel validated and acknowledged. Dears represent the epitome of Delta’s lifetime commitment. The Red Table Talk Part II ended with everyone being able to experience a Maya Angelou moment, remembering that “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“Staying Connected and Engaged” Submitted by Norma J. Hatot-King Launched in November 2020 under the Membership Services Committee, the ground-breaking Red Table Talk initiative celebrated Part II on Feb. 10, 2021 by asking more than 500 Delta Dears to share their perspectives on staying connected and engaged. Moderator Gail Mitchell opened the session by reading …