When U.S. Attorney General-designate Loretta Lynch testified in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 28 in the initial hearings to confirm her as the nation’s first Black female chief law enforcement officer, she was backed by a large number of African-American women dressed in crimson and cream.
Members of Delta Sigma Theta, the largest African-American Greek-lettered organization founded at an institution of higher learning, sent a message to the Committee senators that they wanted their sorority sister, Lynch, to be the next attorney general. President Obama nominated Lynch on Nov. 8 to replace Eric Holder, the nation’s first Black attorney general, who is stepping down.
Thelma Daley, a former national president, said that Delta’s support of Lynch is unwavering.
“We believe in supporting women,” Daley told the Christian Science Monitor on Jan. 29, adding that while Lynch may be the first Black female attorney general, “there is going to be second and third later.”
“We’re going to flood the people in Congress and speak out in newspapers,” she said. “We need to keep the pressure on.”
U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) also donned crimson and cream to support Lynch. Fudge is a national past president of the sorority, and helped Lynch start a chapter at Harvard University in 1980.
Fudge, the past chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, praised Lynch’s selection last year and urged the Senate to confirm her swiftly. Beatty tweeted “it was great to speak with Loretta Lynch before her hearing today. Good luck.”
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) is also a Delta; other past members of the sorority who served in the U.S. Congress include House members Shirley Chisholm (1969-1983), Barbara Jordan (1973-1979) and Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (1993-1999).
Patricia Roberts Harris, who became the first Black woman appointed to a presidential cabinet when she was named secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Carter Administration, and Alexis Herman, the first Black to lead the U.S. Department of Labor during the Clinton Administration, are also Deltas.
Lynch is the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and is credited for successfully prosecuting tough cases involving homeland security and terrorism, as well as the misconduct of public officials.