Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Mu Omega Zeta Chapter, enjoyed a weekend of activities as they celebrated 101 years of service. This Founders’ Day weekend was completely different than previous year’s celebrations. As the global pandemic reared its head, it impelled the sorority to rethink each phase of the celebration to ensure it stayed in compliance with the CDC and the sorority’s national headquarter’s guidelines.
Reflecting back on January 2020, the sorority held its’ Formal Centennial Celebration in Washington, D.C. Intentions were to continue the celebration in June 2020 with a Centennial Boule’ again to be held in Washington, D. C., however with the global pandemic, International President Valerie Hollingsworth-Baker along with the venues were required to cancel all face to face activities and ceremonies and everything reverted back to being virtual. That was 6 months ago and now in January 2021 the pandemic has affected so many family members, sorority members and friends. So, again there won’t be any face-to-face interactions or celebrations. However, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority is a group of resilient women. Their hearts did not skip a beat and sorority members brainstormed ways to celebrate this momentous occasion and do it safely.
The first event of the weekend was a Virtual Founders’ Day Program hosted by the Upsilon Pi Zeta Chapter of West Memphis, AR in the South Central Region. Kathy R. Tatum serves as South Central Regional Director and Beverly Cook is Arkansas State Director. Dignitaries who were present on the Virtual Program were Camille Young-Miller, State Life Member Coordinator and Treva Sanders ,State Z-Hope Coordinator. Pamela Vaughn serves as President of the Upsilon Pi Zeta Chapter. The host chapter was joined by Nu Omega Zeta Chapter, Malvern, AR, Chi Lambda Zeta Chapter, Bartlett, TN, and Mu Omega Zeta Chapter, Natchitoches. Jannette Strong of Nu Omega Zeta Chapter served as moderator.
The theme for the event was “Omnia Vincit Labore-All is Conquered by Labor. It is All About Zeta.” Mu Omega Zeta Chapter members played a vital role in making this virtual program a success. President Yalaunda Toliver-Taylor served as guest speaker, Kimberly Smith provided a praise dance and Jacqueline Wells- Smith shared her voice in song. President Toliver-Taylor spoke of the duties and the importance of being an active and engaged member in each respective chapter.
She reminded everyone that members are actively involved and are always up-to-date with the numerous changes which occur in constitution and by-laws, membership updates, current social action initiatives, national programs, partnerships and all of the news and events that make this sorority the best sorority. She stated that in order for the chapter to move and grow members should be willing to serve in a capacity where their strength lies. As the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority works together it is all for the betterment of the sorority as the members uphold the founding principles.
Being well informed is one of the things Toliver-Taylor stressed. The sorority’s past Grand President Mary Breaux-Wright would often say “A Good Zeta is a Well Informed Zeta” and that was a key point in Toliver-Taylor’s message.
Kimberly Smith provided us with a spiritual praise dance to the gospel classic, “I Know I’ve Been Changed” and Jacqueline Wells-Smith offered a beautiful rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” This hymn was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson at a pivotal time, when Jim Crow was replacing slavery and African-Americans were searching for an identity. His poem was later set to music by his brother, John Rosamond Johnson. The hymn is often referred to as the Black National Anthem. James Weldon Johnson was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated a fraternity that is constitutionally bound to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.
On Sunday evening the sorority engaged in a Virtual Paint and Sip Party. Sorority members from Coushatta, Montgomery, Natchitoches, Shreveport, Winnfield, Texas, and Tennessee joined the zoom party. Members ordered pre-drawn canvases of their choosing from Amazon and from Wasted Paint, a business owned by Natchitoches native Sonja Knight. They joked, laughed, sipped and enjoyed a relaxing evening of painting.
The 101 Founders’ Day Celebration may have been Virtual but it did not deter members from a grand celebration. They honored their Sisterhood: The Ties That Bind, “It’s All About Zeta.”
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated was founded on January 20, 1920 in Washington, D.C., on the campus of Howard University by five women affectionately referred to as “Our Five Pearls”. The founding principles are Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood and Finer Womanhood. It is a community-conscious, action-oriented organization.