On March 3, 1913, nearly six weeks after its founding, several Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Founders marched in the historic Suffragist March under the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. banner, the Sorority’s first public act. Today, low voter turnout statistics highlight the need to continue to identify ways to include opportunities for all citizens to exercise their voting power. Each of Delta’s programmatic initiatives has an advocacy component that is implemented under the auspices of social action when it is appropriate or necessary to do so.
Under the auspices of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.’s National Social Action Commission, Washington DC Alumnae Chapter (WDCAC) continues to institute activities that foster:
- Sponsoring Voter Registration and voter education programs
- Combating Voter Suppression
- The full restoration of voting rights for individuals who have paid their debt to society (ex-offenders)
- Affordable Health Care and access to quality health care
- Financial Literacy and Economic Empowerment
- Support for HBCU
- Political Awareness and Involvement
- Gender Equality
- Racial Profiling
Washington DC Alumnae Chapter plans and implements opportunities for social action activities, projects and programs in the community. Annually, WDCAC plans and participates in Delta Day at the City Council.
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Delta Days in the Nation’s Capital
In 1989, the National Social Action Commission instituted Delta Days in the Nation’s Capital, an annual legislative conference to increase members’ involvement in the national public policy-making process. The annual conference includes legislative briefings, issue forums, and advocacy skills development. Featured speakers include key policymakers, members of the United States Congress, Congressional staff members, and national issues experts.
The activities of Delta Days in the Nation’s Capital are briefings on legislative issues which impact the African-American community; Skill development sessions such as How to Advocate Effectively; Understanding the Role of Congressional Staffers; How to Monitor and Track Legislation; and Legislative visits to members of Congress. The participants, who come from all geographical areas of the country, also have opportunities to observe the legislators in session, participate in Senate Press Tours and White House briefings. Members of Delta and others with expertise on various issues, conduct the skills development and discussion sessions. In addition, members also participate in the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Town Hall Meetings and conduct Delta Days at the State Capitol, Delta Days at City Hall, and Delta Days at the School Board.
Delta Days at the United Nations
In March 2003, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. became a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) at the United Nations. In a presentation by Hanifa Mezoui, Chief NGO Section, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN (ECOSOC), Past National President Gwendolyn Boyd (who served as National President during this time) accepted the credentials on behalf of the sorority, before 150 members of the organization from across the country. Delta Sigma Theta was welcomed to the United Nations by Assistant Secretary General for External Affairs, Gillian Sorensen, who asked the sorority in her keynote address to use the NGO status to monitor the status of women and children in the world and bind together with other NGOs to ensure that the UN honors its commitments.
Special Consultative Status as an NGO allows the organization to provide analysis and expertise in monitoring and implementing international agreements on issues of mutual concern. As an NGO, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has the opportunity to gain access to and disseminate information concerning a range of issues on women and children in which the United Nations is involved. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. representatives attend regular briefings and disseminate information on UN activities to its members and the community at large.