Sign up to stay connected
Get the top stories of the day around the DMV.
The Xi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., marked 100 years on March 18 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in northwest D.C. at its “Centennial Prayer Breakfast: Celebrating a Century of Sisterhood and Service.”
Drawing out hundreds of women and a sprinkling of men, the prayer breakfast emphasized the chapter and sorority’s spiritual legacy and roots.
“We intentionally wanted the breakfast to have a spiritual focus,” said Raven L. Hill, the president of Xi Omega. “Throughout the past 10 decades, it has been prayer that has kept us going and got us to the point where we are now.”
Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) is the first intercollegiate historically Black sorority. The sorority was founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University by sixteen students led by Ethel Hedgemon Lyle. Notable AKAs include Vice President Kamala Harris, former D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt, former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, entertainers Phylicia Rashad, Wanda Sykes and Roxie Roker, Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and tennis legend Althea Gibson.
AKA officials report 300,000 members have been initiated and there are 1,024 chapters internationally.
The Xi Omega chapter was founded on Dec. 23, 1923, by 20 sorority members and is the first graduate chapter in the District. Prominent members of Xi Omega members are U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Illinois) and D.C. Council members Christina Henderson (I-At Large) and Janeese Lewis George (D-Ward 4). Xi Omega officials said 700 members belong to the chapter. Washington Informer Managing Editor Micha Green also belongs to Xi Omega.
AKA Ministers Manage the Program
The Rev. Crystal A. Kuykendall presided over the prayer breakfast. With sorority member beating drums and chanting phrases, Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce led a libation ceremony with the assistance of Bele Bele Rhythm Collection—Sisterhood of the Drum.
In a largely soprano tune, voices rang from the audience during the singing of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” as guests viewed the first stanza on the projection screen. The spiritual input continued as Jordyn Allen, a Howard University student and a member of the school’s Alpha chapter, read Psalms: 46: 5. The Rev. Nan A. Peete recited Galatians: 3:23-28. Haija L. Khadijah Muhammad read reflections from The Quran, while the Prayer of Remembrance was recited by the Rev. Canon Dr. Rosemarie Logan Duncan.
The Prayer of Thanksgiving delivered the Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell and the Rev. Adriane Blair Wise blessed the food. Dancers from Bowie’s Star Makers Academy of Dance performed a liturgical dance and the Xi Omega Centennial Ensemble sang, “He’s God.”
The Rev. L. Tanai White conveyed the Prayer of Hope while the Minister Carmelia L. Rush and Logan Peters conducted the Centennial Prayer. A highlight of the program occurred when sorority members of various generations chronologically rang bells to celebrate the chapter’s century anniversary with 100 rings. The Rev. Angelica Rowe Garner delivered the benediction.
Praise for Xi Omega
Josephine Baker, a retired District educator, said she has belonged to the chapter for decades and stays active because of its activities.
“I wanted to belong to a chapter that was full of intelligent women and was dedicated to community service,” Baker, 92, said. “We serve this community every day and we do so enthusiastically.”
Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, the president of Tennessee State University and the former international president of AKA, served as the keynote speaker. Glover complimented the chapter’s presence in the District.
“One hundred years, that’s a long time to be of service,” Glover said.
Glover noted her past membership in the chapter while studying at George Washington University for her doctorate in business, serving as the chairperson of Howard’s accounting department and as a student at the Georgetown Law Center seeking a juris doctorate.
“Xi Omega got me started,” she said. “Thank you for what you did for me on a personal level.”
Dejenee Miller, the president of the Beta Lambda chapter at the University of the District of Columbia, said she enjoyed the event.
“It was really good,” Miller, 23, said. “It was insightful and full of prayer.”
Fellow undergraduate Allen echoed Miller’s sentiments.
“This was an appropriate way to celebrate the chapter’s anniversary,” Allen, 23, said. “I really liked the ringing of the bells. It really put power into the ceremony.”
Dorothy Boggess was the oldest chapter member at the event, sitting quietly while observing the proceedings. Boggess joined AKA at the Beta Zeta chapter at Kentucky State University in 1939.
“I enjoyed it even though I could not hear some of what went on because of my hearing,” Boggess, 105, said. “I liked the dancing and the main speaker.”
It was such a blessing to be present during the Prayer Breakfast celebrating the Centennial of Xi Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Leave a comment