Sisterhood and Legends Luncheon: A Celebration of Power, Passion, and Professionalism By Dr. Francesca Armmer

It was with great excitement that the Women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Peoria Alumnae Chapter, held the Second Annual Sisterhood and Legends Luncheon during the month that is designated Women’s History Month. On Saturday, March 25, 2017 at the George Washington Carver Center, this ground breaking celebration was filled with a love, enthusiasm, and power comparable to no other event in recent times.

Was this a unique celebration? Absolutely! Was this a unifying celebration? Incredibly! Was this an empowering celebration? Undeniably!

Based upon a vision from the Arts and Letters committee of the Peoria Alumnae Chapter, a year of ongoing meeting, planning, and organizing took place. It was important that a sustained commitment to the vision of this project was embraced regardless of the challenges of another year. Who is my Sister? What is the purpose of this groundbreaking annual celebration? Central to answering these and other questions was the foundational themes of “collaboration, community, and compassion.” The Arts and Letters committee of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was careful to align this celebration with the mission of our National Arts and Letters Commission, seeking to advance the African-American experience to shine a light on the contributions of African-American people, locally, statewide, and nationally.

The Sisters component of the luncheon was developed to foster unity between the four major sororities of the National Panhellenic Association; Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Zeta Phi Beta. One central platform of our National Panhellenic Council is that of collaboration with a focus on demonstrating service to the community.

Who is a “Legend?” How were the honorees selected? To address these questions, it was determined that each of the Sister sororities would receive guidelines and processes for identification of the two women that they would submit as Legends. It was emphasized that the designated Legends by each of the sororities could be an esteemed community member and did not necessarily have to be a member of the respective sorority.

The outcome of this Second Annual Sisterhood and Legends Luncheon was magnificent! Eight women were identified as Legends. These African-American women have communicated a life of perseverance and power; of hope and healing; and of integrity. And through their lives all of us have “etched in our hearts” a spirit of “can do” and success. Their lives have reflected a community activism on local, state, and national levels. The depth and breadth of their contributions reflected a total of over 220 years of contribution to our community. Contributions were reflected in educational enhancements, political awareness, economic developments, preventative health awareness-both physical and mental, and global planning.

Through the initiative of the Women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. a signature event has been established that shall continue to “sing” of our frequently unsung (s)heroes.

Standing: Angela Henry on behalf of Janet Allen, Maxine Wortham, Rosalind Zanders-Lowery, Erica Baird, Valeria Pierce. Sitting: Mary McDade, Pearly Bonds, Alma McConnell. Photography by E. T. Sansom

As we honor these inspirational, invincible African-American women, we shall honor ourselves.

Again, CONGRATULATIONS to our eight 2017 LEGENDS:

Janet Allen, Erica Baird, Pearly Bonds, Rosalind Zanders-Lowery, Alma McConnell, Mary McDade, Valeria Pierce, and Maxine Wortham.