Today’s date, January 14th, marks the Eve of one the most important dates in our personal calendar – January 15th (for those who are not a part of our illustrious sisterhood, January 15th, 1908 marked the birth of THE greatest Historically Black Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated). With respect to my organization, there is only one more day that’s more important, February 18th. On the eve of our Sorority’s anniversary, I usually reflect on the principles of my Sisterhood and my actions. I always ask myself, “How did I live up to our ideal of ‘Service to ALL Mankind’?”
This year is a bit different, my Dear Sisters. This year’s reflection left me in a state of immense awe.
If you’re new to my blog, I suffer from a mental disorder. When I’m not medicated, I’m left in a crippling state. I can barely function. So why am I in awe? Because of Alpha Kappa Alpha, women who are my Sisters from Afar, came to my aide during one of my most troubling times. You all truly personified Sisterhood (I usually suffer from what I affectionately call word vomit and many days, my Twitter Stream was clogged when I’d express my angst and troubles concerning jobs and my health).
On December 2, 2010, I found myself an inpatient at a Psychiatric Treatment Facility. This was my last resort. Before I checked in though, I felt a sense of peace. I was reassured by the outpouring from many friends, but most importantly by you all, the Women who share a love for those things I hold near and dear to my heart – leading by example, community uplift, scholarship, but most importantly, Sisterhood. Many of you reached out to me when I struggled with something that seemed simple – scheduling an appointment with my mental health practitioner. Many of you offered me resources and suggestions when it came to navigating the (lack of) insurance debacle. But many more of you were there to just say, “Keep your head up.”
For that, I’m forever indebted.
From those women who came into the organization with me (#shoutout Spring 2007, Zeta Rho chapter) to those women who are only connected to me by recognizing Ethel Hedgeman Lyle as “The Guiding Light,” I’ve come to recognize Alpha Kappa Alpha as more than just an organization. It’s truly deep in my heart. I didn’t think it could get any deeper, but someone, I feel the warmth from you all sprouting and engulfing my soul. When I think of what it means to be a part of a Selected Few, I’m almost moved to tears. It’s that serious. *wink*
It’s more than our Salmon Pink and Apple Green. We’re more than the Pretty Girls with 20 Pearls. Our collective organization is more than the Ivy. More than our Skee-Wee.
We are the personification of a legacy that was built by our 20 Founders.
We are the spirit of our Original 9: Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, Anna Easter Brown, Beulah Elizabeth Burke, Lillie Burke, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg Holmes, Lavinia Norman, Lucy Diggs Slowe, and Marie Woolfolk Taylor.
We are the tenacity of the Class of 1910: Norma Boyd, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Alice Murray, Sarah Meriweather Nutter, Joanna Berry Shields, Carrie Snowden, and Harriet Terry.
We are the legacy of our Incorporators: Nellie Quander, Julia Evangeline Brooks, Nellie Pratt Russell, and Minnie Beatrice Smith.
We are women of THE Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
We are each other’s saving grace. You all pulled me from the ledge when I so desperately wanted to jump.
We are kind words and Sisterly Deeds simply because we believe that we should strive to do things By Culture and By Merit. You all have encouraged more personal growth within me (from our Old Heads right on down to our Neos).
Our bonds are as strong as the Ivy that represents us. We’re only as strong as the weakest among us and while there were many times that I certainly felt weak, I can say that I’ll be eternally grateful for the strength that you all lent me.
For all of that, I could never say “Thank You” enough. So I’ll say “Thank You” in my daily actions. In providing that kind word. In paying it forward. In representing our Great Sorority in the best light possible. By being true to me and true to Us. By remembering that the Collective is more important than the Individual. By reminding myself that we rarely, if ever, travel this life alone. By promising to remain forever faithful to our organization.
I’ll continue to strive – upward like the Ivy Vine.