WASHINGTON – Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. reached its 100th year of service on Jan. 16. Seven years of planning came to fruition for one of the country’s largest African American women’s organizations.
International Centennial President Valerie Hollingsworth Baker kicked off the week with a design collaboration with St. John’s exclusive line of Zeta-inspired apparel.
Other activities throughout the week featured Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, attorney and Zeta member Anita Hill, former Congresswoman and Zeta member Donna Edwards, award-winning journalist April Ryan, singer Chaka Khan, actress Vivica A. Fox, actor Lamman Rucker; R&B artist and native Washingtonian, Raheem DeVaughn, R&B artist and Zeta member Syleena Johnson, The Chuck Brown Band, and the Zeta International Choir.
Hollingsworth Baker and four other past Zeta’s International Presidents, Dr Jylla Moore Tearte, Barbara Carpenter, Sheryl Underwood and Mary Breaux Wright, spent each day of the week setting a new standard of greatness and impact for the organization.
The events celebrating and honoring the blossoming what Zeta’s five brave women founders started 100 years ago were remarkable. Hollingsworth Baker and a group of Zetas traveled from Washington D.C. to New York twice, once to witness the launch of digital billboards at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station and secondly to be on the “Today’’ show.
TURNED D.C. ‘BLUE’
A Midnight Celebration at Howard University to capture the energy of the exact time and place where the organization was founded drew thousands of sorority and fraternity members.
As Zetas turned Washington D.C. “blue,” they moved through Northwest at two Hilton hotels to Southeast for a visit to Martha’s Table, during which they gave away 13,000 plus blankets to underserved individuals.
The Rhapsody of Blue fashion show, one of the highlights of the Centennial Celebrations, featured designers who took the audience through 10 decades of fashion, including local menswear designer Miguel Wilson, who kicked off his runway show with his 91–year-old grandfather followed by an all-male model team.
Also, R&B singer and pop culture icon Chaka Khan debuted her line of clothing at the standing room only event. Later that day, Local DJ’s DJ Heat and DJ Poison Ivy performed at a Denim and Pearls themed event.
SUMMIT AND GALA
On the final day, The Finer Womanhood Empowerment Summit took place at the Washington Hilton Hotel, and featured three panels moderated by awarding winning journalist April Ryan, singer and TV host Syleena Johnson and advertising and marketing executive Kendra Hatcher King, who led thought and community leaders, addressing topics such as leadership, education, health and wellness, social advocacy and economic development.
The Centennial Founders’ Black-Tie Gala was the finale of the week, during which Zeta Phi Beta Sorority presented four community service awards to Julieanna Richardson, Dr. Vilcia Cade, Aurelia Skipwith and Deborah Harmon Pugh. At the gala, Hollingsworth Baker was presented with blue roses from Zetas brother organization, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority was founded in 1920 on the campus of Howard University and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Zeta has initiated a diverse membership of more than 125,000 college-educated women with more than 850 chapters in North America, Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East.
For more information about Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. visit www.zphib1920.org.