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African-American Sorority Makes Rose Parade History

Delta Sigma Theta will make history as the first African-American women’s organization and the first black Greek-letter organization to sponsor a float in the Rose Parade.

Published on Monday, December 31, 2012 | 8:02 am

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the single largest African-American women’s organization in the country, will kick off its centennial year by sponsoring a float in the 2013 Tournament of Roses® parade, hosting a star-studded Hollywood Gala and launching its Delta Torch Tour.

Founded on Jan. 13, 1913, Delta Sigma Theta’s Los Angeles events will commence the Sorority’s celebration of its 100th anniversary year, with events scheduled around the country and abroad throughout 2013.

Sorority members wearing their colors of red and white are expected to “paint the town red,” and the city of Los Angeles is welcoming them with open arms.

The Los Angeles City Council presented the highest honor that can be bestowed on an individual or organization by proclaiming Jan. 1, 2013 to be “Delta Sigma Theta Day.” The city will also honor the Sorority with red and white lights from Jan. 1 – 13, 2013, at Los Angeles City Hall, the Los Angeles Convention Center and the Los Angeles airport (LAX) sign’s lighted pylons.

“This is not just a monumental moment in Delta’s history, but it is also significant for the more than 250,000 women initiated into this sisterhood, the lives they have transformed and the communities they have impacted,” said Cynthia M. A. Butler-McIntyre, National President of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. “We are extremely grateful for our 22 Founders, who wanted to make a change in the world, and did so – from their participation in the Women’s Suffrage March in 1913 to the legacy they have left for us today. This will be a time to remember as we recognize 100 years of sisterhood, scholarship and service.”

Delta Sigma Theta will make history as the first African-American women’s organization and the first black Greek-letter organization to sponsor a float in the Rose Parade.

The Sorority’s float, which is themed “Transforming Communities through Sisterhood & Service,” will feature a sculptured globe highlighted with a spectacular floral tribute that emphasizes Delta Sigma Theta’s commitment to humanitarian efforts worldwide. A rotating hexagon, with six magnificently detailed floral-graphs, takes center stage and highlights Delta’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust program, representing the cornerstone of the Sorority’s community outreach efforts. The rear of the float is a floral representation of Downing Hall at Howard University where the Sorority was founded.

The float riders include the Sorority’s National President, National Executive Committee and five Past National Presidents of the Sorority. There will be 100 out-walkers, who will flank the sides of the float to represent 100 years of public service, and 22 out-walkers in honor of Delta’s 22 Founders.

That evening, award-winning actor Danny Glover, Aunjanue Ellis from “The Help,” Emmy-award winning casting director Robi Reed and Congresswoman Karen Bass will be among the awardees at Delta Sigma Theta’s Hollywood Gala. The Sorority will honor individuals who represent Delta’s commitment to community service including writer/playwright/producer Sara Finney-Johnson; Felicia D. Henderson, creator of Showtime’s critically acclaimed “Soul Food: The Series” and BET’s “Reed Between the Lines”; and actress-turned-celebrity fitness guru A.J. Johnson of “Living in the A.J. Zone.”

During the Gala, Sorority members and guests will enjoy performances by popular recording artists Ledisi, Faith Evans, Angela Winbush and Elaine Gibbs. Celebrity presenters include Blair Underwood, Kym Whitley, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Keith David and T’Keyah Crystal Keymah.

Delta Torch Tour Launch The Los Angeles activities will culminate with the lighting of a custom crafted Delta torch at the Gala, signifying the launch of an international 22-city torch tour. The tour will include stops in locations such as Tokyo and Bermuda, and will end at the Sorority’s National Convention in Washington, D.C., in July 2013.

“Delta Sigma Theta’s centennial kick-off events promise to be memorable and meaningful,” said Thelma James Day, co-chair of the Centennial Kick-off Committee for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. “Delta women have been working diligently in and with our communities for the past 100 years, and it is a fitting time to reflect on our accomplishments and unique place in history. Deltas in Los Angeles are especially proud to welcome friends, family and supporters from around the world to our beloved city for these celebrations.”
Sheryl Lee Ralph, award-winning actress, singer and humanitarian is the co-chair of the Centennial Kick-off Committee.

The 124th Rose Parade themed “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 at 8 a.m. (PST) in Pasadena, Calif. The Hollywood Gala will be held on the same day, at 7:00 p.m. (PST), inside Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles’ L.A. Live Complex.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was founded in 1913 on the campus of Howard University to promote academic excellence; to provide scholarships; to provide support to the underserved; to educate and stimulate participation in the establishment of positive public policy; and to highlight issues and provide solutions for problems in communities.

Today, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has more than 250,000 members and over 900 chapters worldwide. The Sorority uses its Five-Point Programmatic Thrust of economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, and political awareness and involvement to create its national programs.

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