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Sisterhood and Legends Luncheon – A Celebration of Love and Recognition By Dr. Francesca A. Armmer

In the stillness of a Saturday afternoon on April 16, 2016, the Women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Peoria Alumnae Chapter, initiated an atmospheric breeze of love and harmony that had never been created in the city of Peoria. On that day, the first Annual Sisterhood and Legends Luncheon was held at the Carver Community Center.

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Honorees: Seated–L-R Kathryn Timmes, Jeanne St. Julian, Beverly Thomas, Dawn Bozeman, Cheryl Ellis, Deborah Totten

Was this a unique celebration? Yes! Was this a unifying celebration? Yes! Was this an empowering celebration? Yes!

Based upon a vision from the Arts and Letters committee of the Peoria Alumnae Chapter, a year of meeting, planning, and organizing took place. It was important that a consistency of understanding was developed as this project began. Who is my Sister? What is the purpose of the use of the word “Sisterhood?” Answers to these and similar questions may be expressed in the Swahili word “umoja”, unity. 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. The fellowship, respect and recognition that would take place at the Luncheon was one of the purposes of the Delta plan.

What is a “Legend?” How will the recipients be selected? To address these questions, it was determined that each of the Sister sororities would create their own guidelines and processes for identification of the two women that they would identify as Legends. It was emphasized that the designated Legends from 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 First Annual Sisterhood and Legends Luncheon was phenomenonal! Eight women were identified as Legends. 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 160 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.

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Peoria Alumnae Chapter Seated L-R: Eleanor Cowling, Valerie Timmes, Mollye Bright, Sharon Reed, June Tyler Row 2: Errica Jackson, Francesca Armmer, Cathy Edwards, Deloris Turner, Kelly Daniels, Mari Lockhart, Emma Hines, Denise Thompson Row 3: Tracy Robinson, Demetrice Worley, Felicia Joyce, Alycia Hightower, Jessica Thomas

Through the initiative of the Women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in cooperation with our National Panhellenic Sister Sororities, that “breeze of love and harmony” has not only been stirred, but lingers. In Swahili, the word for honor is “heshima”. As we honor others, we shall honor ourselves. Again, congratulations to our 2016 Legends!