One of the true joys of my life is being a mother and grandmother.
So, when I learned about Grands As Parents I was especially moved by the mission of this organization. I understand the love, energy and dedication that the group’s members share in raising their grandchildren. Even though I don’t have the primary responsibility of raising my grandchildren, I know it takes a village to do so, and I salute them!
On Sunday, Grands As Parents celebrated Grandparents Day and 15 years of service at their 15th Annual Anniversary Luncheon. The event was held at Temple University’s Diamond Club in North Philadelphia.
Each year, Grands As Parents honors individuals who have made meaningful contributions to the organization’s growth and development. Among this year’s “HELP A CHILD, KEEP A SMILE” honorees was Philadelphia City Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, who is City Council’s Majority Whip and represents the Fifth Council District. “As an elected official I recognize that it is important that we in government try to provide whatever resources that are available because Grands As Parents is a stabilizing force in our community,” Councilman Clarke remarked.
Other individuals recognized at the event were state Rep. Michelle S. Brownlee who represents the 195th Legislative District; Aissia L. Richardson, president of the African American United Fund; and Shariff Street, who is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Grands As Parents President Eileen Brown said, “Our honorees this year helped us make our move from the Church of the Advocate a smooth transition into new opportunities for the organization. Our annual luncheon is a celebration of the continuity of our services and advocacy and recognizes the assistance each honoree provided to us as we maintain the programs our constituents need and develop new partnerships and alliances to fulfill our mission.”
President of the African American United Fund (AAUF) Michelle Aissia Richardson noted, “Grands As Parents is an important North Philadelphia institution with committed leaders and strong constituent support. I am honored to be recognized for the role AAUF has played this year in assisting the organization to achieve program goals. As AAUF celebrates its 30th Anniversary, our mission to provide technical assistance to nonprofits remains as firm as it did when we were founded during the 1982 recession. Now that we are in another economic crisis, it’s more important than ever for organizations to pull together to improve our community.”
Grands As Parents was founded in 1996 to assist, support and advocate for the rights of grandparents. This advocacy focuses on creating changes in our society to ensure that children grow fruitfully into adulthood. The name of the organization was chosen to signify the way grandparents replace the gaps of parenthood in grandchildren’s lives.
State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas made heartfelt remarks about the work of Grands As Parents. Also, a few of those “Out & About” for the well attended event were Lillian Hentz, Darlene Marcus, Charis Parker, Shelly Day and Wanda Johnson.
Sharif Street was joined by his son, Sharif Street Jr., daughter, Sheyla Street and stepchildren Maliya Ennels and Sunai Kinight. State Rep. Michelle Brownlee’s lovely granddaughter, Blake Jeune, accompanied her grandmother. Aissia Richardson was joined by her lovely mother, Linda Richardson, and her daughter, Yasmine Richardson. State Rep. Vanessa Brown also attended the event.
Congratulations and continued success are extended to all!
For more information or to support Grands As Parents programs, please contact Jean Hackney, vice president of the organization, at (215) 236-5848.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” in Philadelphia, everyone!
Erlene Nelson is a very meticulous lady who does everything with flair and grace. When she hosted The Birthday Girls on Sunday in East Falls, Nelson pulled out all the stops! The theme of the luncheon, “Rhapsody in Blues,” was carried out in seamless detail. “Due to the size of the venue, I had to limit my guests list to 20 ladies and there were so many more I wanted to invite,” she explained.
Her beautiful granddaughters, Dr. Melissa Nelson-Perron and Dr. Kibibi Gaughn, with Joy Tate, were hostesses and helped to carry out the program with gracious precision. Each guest received a warm welcome when they arrived and gathered outside the “pagoda.” We were escorted into the dimly lit room to feast our eyes upon elaborate centerpieces with blue accent lights and white gardenias, as George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” played. Nelson, wearing an elegant blue suit with covered buttons, sapphire blue stilettos, and sapphire and diamond jewelry, gave us an enthusiastic welcome! Her vignettes about guests and members throughout the afternoon kept us thoroughly entertained!
In 1978, three friends with similar interests in the arts, theatre, travel and fashion — and who all celebrated birthdays together — decided to form a club called “The Birthday Girls.” The originators of the group were Elaine Coston, Bettie Lawson and the late Bernice Kemp Bell. Other current members are Juanita Amonitti, Bert Asbury, Norvella Benning, Barbara Braxton, Anne Frazier, Carole Williams-Green, Lorraine Brown-Long, Alicia Perkins and Rosemary Valentine.
Guests “Out & About” for a truly memorable afternoon included Nelson’s childhood friend from St. Louis, Mo., Edith Perkins, Sharon Parks, the Rev. Dr. Sadie Mitchell of The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Deborah Johnson, Audrey Lipscomb and Nathania Johnson, who is an administrator with the Philadelphia School District.
True to their mission and passion, the ladies have enjoyed many trips nationally and internationally to enjoy theatre, museums, spas, fashion exhibits and art openings, with each ending with a luncheon or dinner at a special restaurant. The have visited such places as Mexico, the Bahamas, Vienna, Germany, Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris and many cities in the United States.
The theme was derived from the fact the event’s china, crystal and linens were all in shades of blue. The centerpieces were a creative work of art of blue and white flowers, pearls and miniature stilettos, which are the trademark of the hostess. The hostess coordinated each luncheon course with food relating to the name or color blue. The unbelievably beautiful music was painstakingly selected as “blues and jazz” and related to each food course. The colossal lump blue crab appetizer was an introduction to the blues. The salad, featuring star fruit, was a symbol of the midnight dark blue sky. The entrée was a symbol of the ocean, and even the blue mouse dessert was in remembrance of the first lady of the blues, Billie Holiday. Each lady was presented with a beautiful gardenia wristlet to wear while enjoying the final course and listening to blues and jazz classics such as “Blue Gardenia” by Nat King Cole.
I loved the interactive part of the luncheon. Before each course was served, each lady at individual tables received a card bordered in blue with a question she would respond to in a light hearted, humorous manner. After her response, she was presented with a small blue gift bag containing several treats, all in the color blue.
Following each course, members and guests enjoyed a wonderful display with 60 photographs of The Birthday Girls at different activities throughout the years. After the luncheon each lady selected several of the photographs as keepsakes. Finally, everyone joined hands and sang “Happy Birthday.”
Everyone also received a lovely parting gift — a blue organza bag holding a gorgeous blue and gold birthday card together with a DVD of the Diana Ross-starring movie “Lady Sings the Blues,” a separate CD of all three movements of “Rhapsody in Blue,” and other small treats.
Everyone enjoyed this most creative, unusual and delightful luncheon — a breathtakingly beautiful treat with the most delicious and creatively prepared food. The amazing center pieces and wrist corsages were lovingly created by Erlene.
The white gloved servers were David Lipscomb and Rashaan Fuche, nephews of the hostess. Additionally, photographer Jesus Rincon provided some of the beautiful photographs of the luncheon.
The gorgeous personalized invitations, beautiful place settings, stunning centerpieces and each and every element of Erlene Nelson’s style and attention to detail made for a truly incredible experience.
I had a great time at the “First Annual Black Professionals Holiday Party” on Saturday evening. The party took place at The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) in Center City. Earl Harvey, publisher of The Black Professionals News, hosted the hugely successful and enjoyable affair.
“I am overwhelmed by the love and support my guests have shown me tonight. When I started planning the party, so many people told me inviting Black professional organizations to gather together to support each other for business and social networking was a great idea. The turnout tonight proved them right and we have already started planning for next year,” Harvey remarked.
The party was sponsored jointly by The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists — whose current president Sarah J. Glover was in the house — the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society, Shaw University Alumni Association and Anna Bostic, owner of The Body Sanctuary Day Spa.
More than 300 guests enjoyed the ambiance of the museum as they mixed and mingled in the multi-tiered venue. Many of my fellow members of PABJ enjoying the evening included president Shalimar Blakely, Germaine Edwards, Denise Clay, Attiyah Blair, Reese Blair, Ken Scott and Chris Murray.
Guests danced the night away to the sounds of the Tony Day Jazz Band and an incredible performance by Ms. Ella Gahnt. There was also “get up on your feet” music by DJ Stevie D and Damon. The party also featured libations and delicious buffet stations with dishes prepared by Eatible Delights, whose proprietor, David Simms, just catered another amazing holiday party at WURD-AM on Friday, Diane Floyd of Meal Makers, Chef Bernard, Tea Country, Philly’s Platinum Grille and Victoria’s Kitchen.
One of the surprise highlights of the evening was a special tribute to “MJ” Michael Jackson, coordinated by David D. Birts and performed by artist Montray Cherry, wowed the audience with his incredible dance moves and striking resemblance to the King of Pop.
Among those “Out & About” enjoying the festivities were: Rick and Gloria Hawkins, G. Kalomgi Foreman, Dr. Beverly Richards, Twila Slaughter, Judge Doris Smith-Ribner, William Tucker, Mr. and Mrs. Garry Cobb, Sly Barnes and Allegra F. McCullough from Washington D.C., Chef Carl Redding from Atlantic City, N.J., Drew Barrett from New York City, Chuck and Nancy Farthing, Everette Staten, Billy Blue, Jerry Mondesire, Catherine Hicks, Ducky Birts, Blanche Burton Lyles, Phyllis Sims, Kim Boddy, Rob Bell, Michele Lawrence, Roger and Shawn Graham, Gus Lacy, Carl Helm, Doug Henderson, DJ Gary O, Denise Berry, Ellen Conway, Wanda Davis, Michelle Mitchell Day, Eric Norris, Dr. Martin Weaver, Dr. Derrick Graves, Donna Whitehead, Dr. Lenny Lomax, Alfred and Natalie Turner, Rick and Sheila Moses, Arthur J. “Maxamillion” Wells III, Thomas Bacon, Jay Bagley, Cheryl Lee, Wayne Taylor and Shari Williams. Shari, the charming wife of state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, displayed some of the awesome items from her luscious new line of beauty products, “Sha Sha Glam.”
It was a fantastic evening and a wonderful way to celebrate the Holiday Season. Congratulations to Earl and all involved.
Merry Christmas to all, from me to you!
The African American Museum of Philadelphia was the place to be last Saturday evening. The occasion was the second annual Black Professionals Holiday Party hosted by Earl Harvey and Dr. Martin Weaver.
The ambiance of the museum was a perfect backdrop for such an elegant affair.
Harvey reflected, “The massacre of innocent children and caring teachers in Connecticut just yesterday is heavy on our hearts. The year 2012 was a very tough year for so many people, with the continued slowdown of the economy, natural disasters and unprecedented violence nationwide. It was our hope that we could provide a brief respite for our friends tonight.
“This is an incredible evening. We are already making plans for next year, and are delighted by the turnout this year.”
More than 400 fabulous-looking guests attended the entertaining holiday celebration. They reconnected with old friends and made new friends at one of the city’s most social networking events of the year. Guests were treated to sumptuous food stations catered by David Simms of Eatible Delights, Chef Kristov’s Gumbo Cuisine featuring Chef Ken’s jambalaya , Seafood Station Shrimp, Diane Floyd, Mealmakers and more. Libations from Beam, Chaddsford Winery and an especially popular signature “golden Bellini” by Courvoisier were enjoyed by many.
Entertainment was nonstop. Guests enjoyed the smooth sounds of the Tony Day Jazz Ensemble featuring Ella Ghant, R&B vocalist, and Philly favorite,Damon Williams , Eugene “Lambchop” Curry on keyboards and DJ Derrick Rose playing dance floor hits.
One of the special highlights of the evening was a surprise visit by The Universal Dance and Drum Ensemble, an international award-winning African dance group founded by Sister Wanda and Rob Dickerson of Camden, N.J. They energized guests by dancing in the aisles during their incredible performance.
Among those “ Out and About” enjoying the event were: Anna Bostic, state Sen. Anthony Williams and his wife Shari, Beverly Richards, Louis and Elaine Evans DeVaughn, Bill and April Rawlings, Roger and Shawn Alexandra Graham, Lisa Hawkins, Twyla Slaughter, Cyndi Williams, Kim Broddy, Luchia Wright, Marsha Walker, state Repr. Ron Waters, Philadelphia Chapter NAACP President Jerry Mondesire, Kathy Hicks, Lynne Carter, Judge John Braxton and his wife Linda , Martin Regusters, Ron Allen, Trudy Haynes, Barbara Grant, Vera Primus , Lenora Vaughn, Michelle Mitchell, Denise Berry, Donna Mitchell, Doug Henderson and Michelle Chew.
Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (President Sarah J. Glover and President-elect Johann Calhoun of The Philadelphia Tribune were among the many distinguished guests. Others enjoying the evening were David Birts, Donald “Ducky Birts,” Judge Thomisina Tynes, Phyllis Simms, Kathy Epps, Monica Burch, Bruce Rush, Venice Newton, Jamahal Boyd, Wanda Davis and Victor Golding.
“This year’s party was one of the best,” Calhoun said. “I was excited to celebrate the year’s accomplishments with my peers from PABJ in addition to Black professionals from across the city. It’s always good seeing Black folk enjoy ourselves. We need this.”
When I asked Earl Harvey about his inspiration for the event he responded, “ The Philadelphia Black Professionals holiday party was a fixture in Philadelphia from 1998 to 2003. It was a wonderful time for professional associations to gather to raise funds and network with each other. There has been a void since that affair ended and I hope to bring that event back in the coming years.”
Best wishes and congratulations for continued success.
Have a great week “Out & About,” everyone!
Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. received the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter’s highest honor, the Sadie T.M. Alexander Award, on May 20. The 2012 Awards Luncheon program was held at the Philadelphia Hilton Hotel, City Line Avenue and the award was presented by Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter member Cynthia R. Muse.
May Week is a longstanding tradition of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter. It was inaugurated by the first national president of Delta Sigma Theta, Sadie T.M. Alexander, in 1920.
Butler-McIntyre was initiated into the sorority through the Beta Gamma Chapter of Dillard University in 1973 and is currently a member of the New Orleans Alumnae Chapter. She has served Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. with distinction at the local, state, regional and national levels, which has earned her the respect and admiration of the membership. She is lovingly regarded as “A Leader with a Servant’s Heart.”
Cynthia Butler-McIntyre is an educator who currently serves as a director of human resources for the Jefferson Parish Public School System in Harvey, La. She has impacted the lives of countless young people for more than 30 years as a teacher, assistant principal, summer school principal and personnel administrator in her school district. Her professional experience also includes her service as executive director of Tech-Prep Summer Program at Delgado Community College in New Orleans. She has also worked as the assistant coordinator of field experiences and College of Education supervisor for early childhood student teaching experiences for the University of New Orleans.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at Dillard University. At the age of 20, Butler-McIntyre earned a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction/educational administration at the University of New Orleans. She is the recipient of an honorary doctorate of divinity degree in religious education from the Louisiana Christian Bible College.
Butler-McIntyre’s distinguished service and outstanding achievements have been recognized by numerous professional, civic and religious organizations on the local, state and national levels. Some of her recognitions include: National Alliance of Black School Educators Lifetime Achievement Award in Education, Shiners Hall of Fame, Women of Substance inductee (Bennett College), Langston University Presidential Award, Dillard University Distinguished Alumnus Award, MLK Outstanding Activist Honoree, YWCA Role Model and Louisiana Elementary Assistant Principal of the Year. Other honors include: Distinguished Woman of Honor, Trailblazer’s Award, Women Who Make A Difference – Women in the Ministry, SHEroes of the Present, Presidential Service Award, Distinguished Public Servant Award, African American Hall of Fame, Who’s Who in American Education, Outstanding Alumnus of a Historically Black College or University, Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Gospel Speaker, Outstanding Young Women of America, Delta of the Year, and 2010 ESSENCE & FFAWN I Inspire Award. Butler-McIntyre has been listed as one of Ebony magazine’s 100 Most Influential Black Americans and Organizations. In 2011, she was appointed to the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation board of trustees by President Barak Obama.
Distinguished officers of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. for the 2010–2012 term are: president, Victoria A. Mosley Rivers; 1st vice president, Maxine C. Harvey; 2nd vice president, Monica Johnson Taylor; 3rd vice president, Yvette D. Styer; recording secretary, Monica Lewis-Wilborn; corresponding secretary, Jacqueline E. Greene; treasurer, Tiffany Wilson and financial secretary, Tanisha Carelock.
Other Highlights of the May Week luncheon program included a warm welcome by mistress of ceremonies Monique Braxton.
Musical selections were performed by the Philadelphia Alumnae Quartet, Janet Gilmore, Elaine Lawrence Green and Dawn Morgan Moore; the Girard Academic Music and Program, Vincent W. Rutland, director, and students Jeremy Garcia, Benjamin McCool, Alexander Palmer, George Squire, Dwayne Williams and Michael Wooten. There were also praise dancers, Rylee Curry, Rachel Holt and Breyony Lindsey and Impact Day essay contest winners Simmone King, Tiffany Thompkins and Macey Williams.
Members Vivian T. Barrett and Rita Mickie presented the 2012–2013 scholarships to Darriell Dinkins, Lenette Foster, Summer Hill, Alexandra Kenner, Brianna Richardson-Jones, Chante Smith, Amber Williams and Ragine Williams.
Fifty-year service awards were presented by Patricia Sawyer, past president and Rita Waters, president, Legacy of Love Foundation, to Francine E. Cheeks, Vannie Culmer, Gloria Gibson Hamilton, Lurline Jones, Elaine Glazier Staton, Jean S. Turk and Marion Taylor. Marian P. Brown presented Twenty-five year awards to Lynne Battle Millard, Patricia Benson and Dawn Carter-Lacey.
President Mosley Rivers offered thanks and closing remarks as yet another proud milestone for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter came to an end.
Congratulations to the honoree, 2011–2012 May Week committee chairs, Valerie Christmas and Jennifer Boyd Waller; committee members: Wanda J. Caviness, Madeline R. Chatman. Viola Curry, Jocelyn P. Geter, Millicent Hartsfield, Maxine C. Harvey, Twanna Mae Hall, Sophia V. Holley, Evelyn C. Johns, Cynthia R. Muse, Patricia M. Sawyer, Marva Lisa Scott, Cara Walker, Rita L. Waters and Sharana Worsley for their outstanding work on this event and commitment to the community.
I extend a very special thank you to Cynthia R. Muse for her public relations assistance.
Thanks to Michael LeVere, vice president and program director of Ye Olde Philadelphia Club (OPC), and his beautiful wife, Hortense, I saw a lot of great friends, danced to fabulous live music by Sandstorm, dined on delicious food and more at one of the club’s most enjoyable annual holiday parties ever. The affair, held at The Springfield Country Club on Dec. 30, was a blast!
Members of the entertainment committee, co-chairs James Potts and Thomas Garrett and members Louis DeVaughn, Charles Bush, Rob Gorgas, Artis Ray and Charles Manns should be praised for doing such a fantastic job and ensuring that these gatherings just get better with time!
Current OPC officers are Preston Taylor, president; Michael LeVere, vice president; Robert Chapman, secretary; Byron Golson, assistant secretary; and William Burke Jr., treasurer.
An invocation by past president Judge John Braxton was given before a delicious sit down dinner. He reminded us of the intergenerational makeup of one of Philadelphia’s oldest existing organizations, which began in 1926.
Radio broadcast journalist E. Stephen Collins, accompanied by his eternally youthful wife, Lisa Duhart-Collins, received a special award from OPC for his continued achievements in his field. Upon his acceptance he pointed out how much he owed to his predecessors. His message to the attendees included encouraging everyone present and everyone they came in contact with to support President Barack Obama.
The membership recognized immediate past president Eugene “Gene” Golson, there with his wife, Marie, and Everett Gillison, chief of staff to City of Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. Gillison was accompanied by his wife Elaine. David Donaldson, there with his wife, Chiquita, was also recognized for diligently serving as the club’s awards committee chair. All individuals were recognized for their outstanding service to Ye Olde Philadelphia Club.
Among the former “first ladies” (wives of past club presidents) included: Josephine Poindexter, Gail Hawkins Bush, Barbara Gorgas, Linda Braxton, Marie Golson and Linda Meade.
Among those “Out & About” enjoying an incredible evening were: Councilwoman Janie Blackwell, her brother and club member Glen Brooks; president/CEO of The American Red Cross Philadelphia Chapter Judge Renee Hughes; Dr. Walter and Patricia Bantom; Betty and Ballard Shelton; Bruce and Lisa Hawkins; Marie and Eugene Golson; Bill and April Rawlings; Linda and Darrel Stephens; Tina and Eric Coombs; (member) broadcast journalist Monique Braxton; and Dr. Reginald Royster; Philadelphia Tribune CFO John Holmes (member) and his wife, Tanya; Margaret Livingston; former City of Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Harold Hairston and his wife, Ann ( Ann, I love your sleek new hairstyle); Dr. Walter P. Harris (member), the ophthalmic surgeon that I entrust with the care of my eyes and his lovely wife, Nicole; David Livingston; Dorothy Sumners Rush; Jewel Mann-Lassiter and Bob Kersey; Frank LeVere; Wanda Poole; John and Marie Connelly; Gus Lacy; Audrey Johnson-Thornton, Rose Chapman, wife of club secretary Robert Chapman; and Joseph Meade who is a past president of the club.
Exquisitely dressed ladies and gentlemen in black tie enjoyed cocktails and butlered hors d’oeuvres, which could have substituted for dinner, were served to guests as they entered the reception room overlooking the brightly decorated landscape of the county club.
The main dining room glistened with the glow of several Christmas trees. Our delicious entre of filet of chicken breast and fresh seasonal vegetables topped off with a raspberry laced cheese cake desert was excellent. It’s a good thing that the Sandstorm Orchestra created a mood that inspired most attendees to their feet to burn off those calories. Many familiar songs were played but, as usual, the line dances encouraged the majority to move to the dance floor. I’m signing up for “Wobble” lessons ASAP.
Thanks to Ye Olde Philadelphia Club for another memorable, enjoyable celebration.
Members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania gathered together in the City of Brotherly Love to jointly celebrate their founding during the first month of 2012. The theme of the weekend-long event, “Strengthening the Bond Between Brotherhood and Sisterhood,” was a celebratory inspiration for the organization to begin the new year.
"I am so proud to be a member of this illustrious organization,” said Shante C. Dash, basileus, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Beta Delta Zeta chapter. “Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. share a bond like no other Greek lettered organization in that we are the only to be constitutionally bound sisters and brothers. It only seemed befitting that the first Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Joint Founders' Day Celebration take place in Philadelphia, our city of brotherly love and sisterly affection! It was great to celebrate a weekend observance by providing community outreach, celebrating with a brunch and to pay our respect to our honorable founder Arizona C. Stemons, a long time resident of this city,"
The celebration began with an event, which represented their founding principle of community service. The organizations joined together on the first evening in partnership with Chosen 300 Ministries and unselfishly served nutritious meals to local Philadelphia residents. This took place in the city’s Spring Garden neighborhood.
The next day featured a brunch at the Embassy Suites Hotel in South Philadelphia. “The program highlighted the talent within the organizations and thanked all members for their time and commitment that they give to ensure that the organizations remain at the forefront in combating the social ills which plague our community,” said Derek Bowmer, state director of Phi Beta Sigma. Special recognition was given to Geraldine Kinney for 63 years of service to Zeta Phi Beta. and Terrance Sistrunk for his dedication and commitment to Phi Beta Sigma. The highlight of the brunch was a special ceremony where the organizations recommitted themselves to their special bond of being the only constitutionally bound brother and sister organization.
The weekend culminated in Philadelphia with a memorial service at the gravesite of Arizona Cleaver Stemons, one of the founders of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and a former resident of the Philadelphia area. Congratulations to Derek Bowmer, Pennsylvania state director of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and Siéta Achampong, Pennsylvania state director of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority on this momentous occasion.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. was founded on the campus of Howard University on Jan. 9, 1914, by A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse and Charles I. Brown. The men of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, under the leadership of its state director Derek Bowmer, have graduate and undergraduate chapters that service the Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia communities.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. was founded on the campus of Howard University on Jan. 16, 1920, by Arizona Cleaver Stemons, Myrtle Tyler Faithful, Viola Tyler Goings, Fannie Pettie Watts and Pearl A. Neal as the sister organization to Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. The ladies of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., under the leadership of their state director Siéta Achampong, have graduate and undergraduate chapters, which serve communities in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Norristown, and Delaware, Chester and Montgomerycounties.
Congratulations and best wishes to members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. I extend special thanks to Dana M. Moore first vice president, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. Philadelphia Graduate Chapter for her assistance.
Audrey R. Johnson-Thornton, president and founder of the American Women’s Heritage Society, (AWHS) is a passionate and dedicated leader. “Twenty-five years ago, a group of African-American women forged an alliance to protect and preserve the Belmont Mansion, a site with significant relevance to the history of Philadelphia and its African-American legacy. This has been a journey of love and discovery, as we learned more about the Mansion, its role in American history and as a Freedom Station on the Underground Railroad leading American slaves to freedom,” the fashionable and energetic Johnson-Thornton said.
The gala honored the Society’s work to restore and preserve Fairmount Park’s historic Belmont Mansion and the many people who have supported those efforts. The anniversary celebration kicked off a $2.5 million capital campaign to create an endowment that will assure continued maintenance and improvements to the Belmont Mansion for decades to come. The American Women’s Heritage Society, founded in 1986, is leading efforts to restore and maintain Belmont Mansion, one of the most historic buildings in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.
Despite the drenching rain, hundreds of supporters came out to celebrate The American Women’s Heritage Society (AWHS) 25th Anniversary gala at the Historic Belmont Mansion on Friday evening. Former Governor Ed Rendell, former Mayor John F. Street, former Mayor the Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode Sr., Mayor Michael Nutter and state Sen. LeAnna Washington were honorary co-chairs of the event and were recognized. Dignitaries spotted at the gala were U.S. Rep. Robert A. Brady and state Sen. Vanessa Brown.
The Rev. Dr. Goode, senior fellow and national director of Amachi said, “This event was a tribute to a group of Black women led by by Audrey Johnson-Thornton who dared to dream that a broken down building could become a museum that honored those who aided slaves in their flight to freedom. It also underscores that nothing great was ever achieved without a struggle.” He accompanied his wife and former first lady of the City of Philadelphia Velma Goode.
Dyana Williams of WRNB Radio and Lori Williams of NBC 10 did a great job as the evening’s mistresses of ceremony and co-hosts. Poet, scholar and activist Sonia Sanchez and Tanya Hall, executive director of the Multicultural Affairs Congress, were recipients of special awards. Toni Nash presented the award to Tanya Hall and both awardees made gracious remarks and expressed their gratitude.
There were many special touches that made this a memorable and enjoyable evening. Guests were welcomed by the rhythmic West African drum beat of Diabate Cultural and Performing Arts. Acting as hostesses, students from The Docent Training Program were dressed in period costume in keeping with the historical element of the evening. Miss Black Pennsylvania 2011, Jillian Patricia Pritle, performed an inspirational solo, and guests were also entertained by Warren Oree-Appreggio Jazz Ensemble, Musical Legacy.
The food was delicious and I asked Jewel Mann-Lassiter, president of Tuxedo Catering, about her involvement in helping to make the evening a success. “Audrey asked if I would chair the dinner committee and planning events is a big part of what I’ve done for years. She knew that the menu and dinner would play a major role in this event. My responsibilities included meeting with all caterers and planning a classic menu. Her plan was for me to contact a list of local caterers she recommended to donate their time, services and menu selections for the anniversary event. Each of seven caterers prepared one dish from the menu. Tuxedo prepared butlered hors d’oeuvres for the VIP reception and an entrée for the dinner menu. All of the participants did an incredible job. I was honored to work with all of them,” Mann-Lassiter said. Congratulations, best wishes and continued success are wished to Audrey Johnson-Thorton and all involved!
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” in Philadelphia, everyone!
Congratulations to The Philadelphia Chapter of the Links Inc. for hosting a hugely successful fundraising event. It took place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Sept. 25. Chapter president Sherilynn Johnson Kimble said in her message, “As the founding chapter of the Links Inc., the Philadelphia Chapter is very proud of our ongoing commitment to community service which centers on promoting and engaging in educational, civic and inter-cultural activities in order to enrich the lives of members of our community.” Funds raised by the event will support a broad range of programs which enhance the quality of life in our community.
Special acknowledgement was given to corporate sponsors, The Lomax Family Foundation and Pennsylvania’s only African American-owned radio station, WURD 900-AM and PECO Exelon Company.
The selection of the 2011 honorees was focused on the arts. The honorees were Jeri Lynne Johnson, founder and musical director of The Black Pearl Music Chamber Orchestra; Faith Ringgold, internationally renowned artist and author and Jill Scott, Grammy Award-winning singer, composer and actress.
All of the accomplished awardees, who were presented with beautiful sculptures, expressed their gratitude for being recognized by the organization. Jill Scott, who is on tour in Europe, was represented by her mother, Joyce Scott. In accepting her daughter’s award she shared that she exposed Jill to arts and culture at a very young age. Scott also noted her daughter’s tireless work on the Blues Babe Foundation, which Jill established in Philadelphia to assist financially struggling, but motivated students. Joyce Scott’s parting words, “Black can grow out of concrete,” left a lasting impression from a proud and loving mother.
The audience was treated to a wonderful performance on the viola by Christine Taylor, a student from The Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. Six-year-old Alphonso “A.J.” Evans Jr. read a passage from Faith Ringgold’s upcoming book about renowned artist Henry O. Tanner, “His Boyhood Dream Come True.” Alphonso, who dreams of being the world’s greatest singer, attends Gesu School. The Urban Guerilla Band rocked the crowd with an amazing rendition of Jill Scott’s chart topping “Golden.”
Links who presented awards were Renetta Ethridge Holloway, Carol Clark Lawrence, Brenda Johnson Best, Margaret A. Wright, Zakiya T. Black and Rosalyn J. McPherson.
“I am thrilled that our chapter chose to honor three incredible women who are celebrated internationally and identified in Philadelphia as cultural pioneers and legends and continue to contribute to our vibrant art and music landscape,” chapter immediate past president Carol Clark Lawrence said.
Other officers of the Philadelphia Chapter are: Stephanie Watkins, Brenda Johnson Best, Mahlene Duckett Lee, Catherine F. Broach, Deidre L. Patterson and Margaret A. Wright. Mahlene Duckett Lee and Margaret A. Wright also did an incredible job as this year’s event as chairwoman and co-chairwoman respectively. The meticulous planning and hard work that went into this signature event was apparent.
More than 800 guests and Links from as far south as Georgia and all along the East Coast gathered for dinner and dancing to the fantastic music of the Urban Guerrilla Orchestra. The support of other Links Inc. chapters was phenomenal!
Founded in 1946 by two prominent Philadelphians, Margaret R. Hawkins and Sarah S. Scott, The Links Inc. is an international non-profit corporation which currently has a membership of 12,000 professional women of color in 274 chapters located in 42 states, The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The vision of these two women to recognize and exercise community service and outreach has grown and flourished throughout the years.
Links Inc. founder Margaret R. Hawkins was well represented by her family at the event. Family members in attendance included her son, Dr. Frederick C. Hawkins Jr., and his wife, Sharon Hawkins, son Bruce R. Hawkins, and Philadelphia chapter member Lisa Hawkins, granddaughter Melanie Hawkins Tudos and husband Redmond Tudos.
Congratulations to “Smooth Sounds in the Afternoon” committee members: Catherine Manning Adams, Zakiya T. Black, Mariska K. Bogle, Stephanie Mays Boyd, Julie Cocker, Kelly D. Davis, Renetta Ethridge Holloway, Mellanie Kai Lassiter, Gina Golson Nunnery, Donna Roderick and Betty Jane Shelton and Frances Jones. I extend special thanks to Frances Jones for her public relations assistance in addition to Betty Shelton and Mariska Bogle. Sheinelle Ojeh also did a great job as the evening’s auctioneer. Best wishes to all members of the Philadelphia Links, Inc. for hosting this stellar event and contributing so much to our community!
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Quaker City Alumnae Chapter of Philadelphia celebrated its 35th anniversary at a luncheon this month. More than 300 members, family and friends gathered at Drexelbrook Catering and Banquet Facility in Drexel Hill to congratulate the chapter, which was chartered on Oct. 17, 1976. On that date 28 phenomenal young women realized their vision for a second alumnae chapter in Philadelphia County. On the campus of LaSalle University, under the national leadership of the 16th national president, Thelma M. Daley, Quaker City Alumnae Chapter was chartered.
Quaker City chapter president Patricia Evans said, “Since our beginning 35 years ago, we are still strong with enthusiasm and energy. We continue to serve the community through our public service programs and empower the Black community by continuing to make an impact in the lives of our children."
The event honored chapter charter members, many of whom were in attendance. It was a celebration of more than a quarter of a century of sisterhood, scholarship and service to the Philadelphia community.
Charter chapter members enjoying the occasion included: Edna Lee Funderburk, Yvonne W. Browne, Donnamaria Kirby Parker, Merrill Jean Bailey, Joyce G. Beckett, Deborah Turner, Diane Golson Simon, Wilhelmena Johnson Calland, Evelyn Jackson Laster, Constance Keaton, Anita Flournoy Nicholson, Florence Oliver, Patricia Robinson, Jacquelyn Johnson Leake, Patricia Stephens, Patricia Alford and Sharon Coleman.
Other charter members are: Alice Clark, Joanne M. Green, Anne Smith Hart, Marilynn Holmes, Heather Leath, Paulette Forte Smith, Diane Thompson and the late Janice Peters Chapman, Kay Dennis, Phyllis Stephens Tatem and Bessie Williams.
The chairperson for this festive occasion was Florence Oliver, who is also a charter member of the chapter. Catana Montague was the 2011 co-chair.
The program was filled with exciting entertainment, historic remembrance and uplifting words to the community. Pamela Singleton served as the afternoon’s delightful mistress of ceremonies.
Joyce Evans, local television anchor/reporter and member of the sorority, was the featured guest speaker. During her remarks, she reminded the audience of the urgency of the times and urged Deltas, “To continue to use their influence to empower the Black community of Philadelphia.”
Kathryn Gaffney-Golden’s words of encouragement evoked God’s blessing on the chapter and the day’s activities. A poem was authored and read by Gloria Nichols in which she challenged the chapter to continue to “grow in grace.”
Carli Jones Farris, founder/co-owner and artistic director of the Dance Institute of Philadelphia showcased six members from her performing company in a praise dance to Fred Hammond’s “Pages of Life: Your Steps Are Ordered.” There was also wonderful musical prelude performed by Developing Excellence Inc., a local jazz quartet.
The featured musical ensemble included Christopher Burton, pianist and Lincoln University student; Charles Beasley, bassist and community supporter; Howard Burton, drummer and sound technician, and Princess Ameenah, vocalist, author, community activist.
While dining on a delicious lunch, attendees enjoyed a video presentation highlighting Quaker City Alumnae Chapter milestones throughout the years. It was compiled by chapter historian Thomasina Thompson and immediate past president Tracey Carter.
During the past 35 years, Quaker City Alumnae Chapter has provided community service to Philadelphia in support of its citizens. The chapter has several programs that focus on children, including the Toy Library, which supports grandparents who are serving in the role of parents for their grandchildren. Mentoring programs include The Betty Shabazz Delta Academy, The Jeanne L. Noble Delta GEMS and Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence. (EMBODI) The chapter also provides information for concerned citizens during their Annual Dessert Hour, a panel discussion focusing on important topics affecting the community. Other activities include voter registration, health seminars, college and career fairs and economic forums.
Upcoming Quaker City Alumnae events include a “College Preparation Program” on Nov. 20, “Annual Dessert Hour” on Dec. 8, and a “Holiday Cabaret” on Dec. 17.
Congratulations and best wishes to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Quaker City Alumnae Chapter of Philadelphia on their 35th anniversary.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” in Philadelphia!