Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Peoria Alumnae Chapter Celebrates a “Heritage of Love” By Dr. Francesca A. Armmer

The weekend of March 23, 2019 was an extraordinary time of celebration in our Peoria community. During this weekend the Fourth Annual Sisterhood and Legends Luncheon celebrated the strength, power, and achievements of women recognized by Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Zeta Phi Beta sororities. Additionally, on Sunday, March 24th, Mrs Kathryn Timmes was recognized by the Women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Peoria Alumnae chapter for her lifetime of service! This was truly a weekend of celebration and commemoration!

Fourth Annual Sisterhood and Legends Luncheon

Legends Award 2019 Delta's
L-R: Sherry Cannon, Patricia Jackson, Linda Butler, Helen King, Lynn Pearson, Eleanor Cowling, Ahdonna Guilford, Laraine Bryson

The historical George Washington Carver Community Center was the setting for the Fourth Annual Sisterhood and Legends Luncheon. The Women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Peoria Alumnae Chapter have sustained an appeal that captures the hearts and minds of our community. It is the fostering of a celebration of Women whose lifestyles, challenges, and successes have made and continue to make a difference in the lives of all whom they touch. It is this celebration that combines rather than divides, that builds up rather than tears down, and that provides an opportunity to recognize women who oftentimes may be overlooked as “invisible.” The outcome is a commitment to service, love, justice, and unity.

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 in preparation of this fourth year. Who is my Sister? What makes this groundbreaking annual celebration important and even necessary for a fourth year? Central to answering these and other questions are the themes of “love, service, justice, and unity.” 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 is maintained 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 Fourth Annual Sisterhood and Legends Luncheon was superb! Eight women were identified as Legends. These African American women have communicated a life of love and power; of hope and healing; and of integrity. Each of these Legends has “inscribed in our hearts” a spirit of “hope” and a relentless desire to be an example of encouragement to others. Their lives have reflected community activism on local, state, and national levels. The depth and breadth of their contributions reflected a total of over 250 years of contribution to our community. Contributions were reflected in educational creativity, political awareness, economic developments, media and communication awareness, and spiritual growth.

Through the initiative of the Women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. a signature event continues to “sing” of our frequently unsung (s)heroes.

CONGRATULATIONS to our eight 2019 Legends: Laraine Bryson, Linda Butler, Sherry Cannon, Eleanor Cowling, Ahdonna Guilford, Patricia Jackson, Helen King, and Lynn Scott Pearson.

Blessings and honor to inspirational, invincible African American Women!

Mrs. Kathryn Timmes: Celebrating a Lifetime Legend

Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority with Mrs TimmesMrs. Kathryn Timmes has dedicated more than 87 years to the Peoria Metro Community in roles of teacher, administrator, counselor, mentor, community activist, confidante, and friend. She is a charter member of the Peoria Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

As an educator, administrator, and counselor, Mrs. Timmes maintained a consistent focus upon student achievement and student empowerment. Her teaching and counseling expertise served students in both public and private school settings. In the Peoria Public Schools System, Mrs. Timmes’ service has included Douglas Elementary School, Manual High School, and Woodruff High School. Within the private sector her service has included Spalding Institute and Academy of Our Lady. Former students and fellow teaching colleagues have been known to travel hundreds of miles to meet with and share their current experiences with Mrs. Timmes.

Respect for the community activism of Mrs. Timmes is evidenced by the leadership roles that she has held. She has served as President of the YWCA Board of Directors, the Urban League Guild, and was the first President of the Board of Directors of the Heritage Ensemble, Peoria, Illinois. Mrs. Timmes has also served as a Board Member for the Heart of Illinois United Way, Children’s Hospital of Illinois, and Peoria County Sheriff’s Merit Commission. It has been through her active participation within these and other organizations that children and at risk residents have had a voice in decisions that impact their lives.

The investment of time, energy, and resources to the community from Mrs.Timmes is reflected in her personal motto of “Do unto others what you have them do unto you.” This commitment of grace and kindness has been recognized by awards that included: Outstanding Achievement Award from the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois, The Whitney M. Young, Jr., Service Award from the W.D. Boyce Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Central Illinois Agency on Aging Award, and the Award for Community Service from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Peoria. Mrs. Timmes was also honored by the InterBusiness Issues as a Local Legend.

On Sunday, March 24, 2019, the Women of Peoria Alumnae Chapter have celebrated our love, respect, and pride for our Mrs. Kathryn Timmes. The spirit that flows from her eyes and through her smile is warm, encouraging, and contagious!

This weekend was undeniably a time of extraordinary celebration!