Local AKA chapter celebrates Founders’ & Charter Day

Published 12:40 am Friday, May 19, 2023

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Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. celebrated 115 years of existence on Jan. 15. To commemorate the occasion, sorority chapters all over the country held events to honor the founders, and the local Lambda Psi Omega Chapter in Franklin, under the leadership of Chapter President Renna Ebron, held its event on March 18 at the historic Hayden Village Center. 

An AKA Sorority news release noted that during the local Lambda Psi Omega Chapter’s celebration, not only did the chapter members pay homage to their founders, but also to their charter members who, led by the late Pauline Morton, chartered the Lambda Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority on March 19, 1978. The surviving charter members include Sylvia Claud, the Honorable Dr. Carolyn Carey and Mildred Harris. 

Also recognized were the first initiates of Lambda Psi Omega Chapter, and the surviving first initiates are Carol Logan, Yvonne Rose and Sara Turner. Chapter members who have reached milestones in membership were recognized: Diane Harris (50 years), Audrey Riddick (25 years), Anitra Smith-Freeman (25 years), and Doris Artis was also recognized as the chapter’s Tea Rose Member of the Year for her dedication and service to the sorority chapter.

The guest speaker for the event was 17th Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Dr. Linda H. Gilliam, who reminded all in attendance that “everything must change” and that it is necessary for those who wish to be of “service to all mankind” to adapt to the changing needs and demands of society. 

“Just as the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. faced and overcame adversity as African-American women only 50 years after the end of slavery in America, we, too, must face current-day challenges head-on and adopt the patient persistence of the founders in their desire to establish the first and finest sisterhood for college-educated African-American women,” officials stated in the release.

In addition to celebrating the successes of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Lambda Psi Omega Chapter, the chapter members recognized several community partners with whom they have worked to make a difference in the community. These community partners included the following: Franklin-Southampton Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., with Tim Mayes, president; Boykins Neighborhood Outreach Center, with Carl & Dr. Lillie Faison, co-director and founder/director; Camp 25, with Eric Benton, founder; Western Tidewater Branch of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, with Cliff Hedgepeth, Western Tidewater Branch manager; Franklin City Public Schools, with Dr. Carlton Carter, interim superintendent; Wydia’s Bistro, with Wydia Bailey, owner; Banks and Banks LLC, with Pastor James Banks Jr., owner; and Thomas Whitfield. 

Nadine Baxter-Atkins and retired Brig. Gen. Sheila Baxter were also recognized for their yearly financial contribution to the sorority chapter in memory of a Lambda Psi Omega Chapter member, the late Sandra Smith.

Officials in the release noted that Lambda Psi Omega Chapter would like to thank everyone who made the Founders’ Day and Charter Day event a great success. 

“Thank you to the guest speaker, Dr. Linda H. Gilliam, and to the following vendors/organizations for providing the following services: Covingtons & Co. (music), First Baptist Church (building use), Cheryl Bowers and Savvy Events (decor and rental), Frank Davis (photography), Next Jen Cookies (decorative cookies) and Nuhause Cuisine LLC (caterer).