Monday, January 14, 2013

Music Lyrics Monday: We are Family (A Recap of the Delta Centennial.)

On the campus of Howard U., like the Delta 22!

We are Family

We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing

We are family
I got all my sisters with me

We are family
Get up everybody and sing!

Everyone can see we're together
as we walk on by

Jada and I taking in the sight of the Convention Center

And we flock just like birds of a feather
I won't tell no lie

Georgia Southern University sorors that I met along the way!

With my sweethearts, Donna and Eva (the Diva) being "fierce"


All of the people around us they say,
"Can they be that close?"

Just let me state for the record:

with my linesister, Tanya! Yay!

 We're giving love in a family dose

Soror Vauchelle--one of my faves

We are family
I got all my sisters with me

The Epsilon Kappa Chapter girls

We are family
Get up everybody and sing (sing it to me)

With my sands, Sherrese! Spring '92 rules!

Red girl reflections over lush red wine! Can't beat that, now can you?

I heart Crystal!

We are family
I got all my sisters with me

Deanna was there 100%.

We are family
Get up everybody and sing!

Kymmie K was there to dry my tears at midnight. Thanks, K.

Living life is fun and we've just begun
to get our share of the world's delights

with Alpha Chapter sorors

High hopes we have for the future
And our goal's in sight

Sorors made the papers!

We, no, we don't get depressed
Here's what we call our golden rule:

Owt! Neo!

Have faith in you and the things you do
You won't go wrong, oh-no
This is our family jewel!

SMLAC in the house!

Hi Janel!

We are family
I got all my sisters with me

(I've got my sisters with me!)

Me and my med school anatomy partner slash partner in crime, Jada!

We are family

Oh, I can hear you now!
Get up everybody and sing!

~ Sister Sledge


On January 13, 1913 on the campus of historic Howard University in Washington D.C.,  twenty-two courageous young African-American women set out to change the world through a commitment to scholarship, service and sisterhood. Never pleased with the status quo, these insightful collegiate women put their minds and hearts together to form what is now over 300,000 women strong:

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

Yes. This weekend marked the one hundredth year of what I must be partial in saying is, without contest, the best of the best when it comes to sororities. Nothing against my dear friends of other organizations. . . . but alas, I've already admitted that I am partial.

Visionaries. That's what our twenty-two Founders were. The majority of whom were yet to even reach the precious age of twenty-two themselves, yet who were bold enough to march fearlessly for the right of women to vote not even three months after organizing. Going up against the venom of angry mobs shouting words like "NIGRA!" and "GAL!" in their direction. But still, doing what was necessary.

What was right.

The Deltas on my Delta flight!

More Deltas on my flight with me
We have arrived!

I arrived on Friday, along with throngs of Delta women from all over the country. Yes, I made that pilgrimage back to the place where it all began some one hundred years ago to be in the midst of the energy and the celebration of what happens when women aren't afraid to rise up to be who they are truly meant to be.

Deanna's pin -- so glad we found it!

I wore Deanna's pin over my heart the entire weekend. I had to. I carried her picture close to me and looked at it often. Yes. She was there with us all, every step of the way. And I swear to you, if I had a dollar for every single Delta woman that came and hugged me and shared her personal testimony of how Soror Deanna Draper had touched her, I would have been able to upgrade every Delta there to first class on her flight home.

Not. Even. Kidding.

I told Jada that when I come back for National Convention this summer, I am going to have a shirt made that says, "I am Soror Deanna's sister."  Jada said she'd do the honors of having it made for me. So sorors, look for me in the shirt that says that on the back in July!

Jada held my hand a lot that weekend.

The weekend in a word?


That's the only word to describe it. Listen--if you're a Delta and you're reading this and you couldn't make it, just know that your sorors did you very, very proud. I assure you this was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my entire life. One that will stay etched into my brain and heart for as long as I live.

Soror Wendy from the BHE's alma mater, Virginia State! Spring '92 stand UP!

A jazzy soror I met in the airport

There were tears, yes. But mostly, I was more glad than sad. Glad to be there and to carry the torch for not only myself, but for Deanna, too. Carrying it back to our Delta Mecca on the eve of the centennial celebration.

I met one of my numbers! 33 rules!
With Simone

She cried when she saw me because she loved Deanna so.

That's Deanna's pin, not mine!

We sang the Delta sweetheart song in unison shortly after the the midnight hour. My, oh, my. When those voices rose over that campus! All of those bold and beautiful voices singing in unison! Unified and committed to the very things that our beloved Founders were so many years ago. It was absolutely breathtaking. A sea of red jackets and lovely brown faces of every possible hue! Singing, jumping, stepping, clapping, dancing, crying. . . . yeah.

If it looks awesome, it's because it was.

I was there. In the thick of it--I was there! A perfect weekend that, I promise you, felt divine. I was with old friends who happen to share Delta with me--all of whom knew and loved Deanna, too. So they understood when I broke down crying and they knew how to hug me at just the right times. They did.

Yolanda and me, Meharry class of '96 in the mix

They also knew how to make me laugh so hard that I fell to my knees repeatedly. It was just like old times. Like the times we did that in medical school instead of studying. . . . .laughing, loving, living, and just being in the moment.

The text I sent Crystal when she wouldn't go out with us

Linesister love! Me and my big girl, Tanya.

That's it! We were in the moment! Yes!

The one and only Ben's Chili Bowl!

Breaking bread together

Do you ever have times where you're doing something or living something. . . .and you're thinking. . . .this is important. . . . .this is something I will remember for as long as I live!

Well?  Do you?

Like, when it's happening, you can feel it and you just know it's pivotal. You feel it deep in your soul that, yes, this is something you should pause and carefully note each and every detail of as it unfolds.

That's how this weekend was.

Norfolk State Spring '90 represented!

Man. That clock struck midnight on January 13 and it was BANANAS. Bananas, do you hear me?

Get 'em up!


Jada and I kept looking at each other and saying, "We are SO GLAD that we are HERE!"

I also kept thinking: "If I wasn't a Delta right now, I would sure wish I was."

(Something tells me I'm not alone in that thinking.)
We kept pinching each other!

I once heard one of our former National Presidents speaking one year. Deanna and I had attended Alabama Statewide Founders Day back in 2007, right after I'd had Zachary. And Gwendolyn Boyd, who was speaking that day, was talking about how sometimes you see these amazing black women doing these amazing things. . . leading and just making it happen, you know? And while they're trailblazing and running things and inspiring you and all of that--almost always some time passes and you find out:

"Yep. She's a Delta!"

Soror Past President, Gwendolyn Boyd

National President, Soror Cynthia Butler McIntyre--100% awesome.

Linesister love is the sweetest!

Again. Nothing against my dear, dear non-Delta sista-friends. But I have to admit that this statement is one I always remembered because, for me, that statement was so true. Perhaps it's because the women I most identified with were the ones I often learned later were--YEP--Delta women indeed. And I'd even find that many of the ones who weren't would tell me that--if they had pledged anything--it would have been Delta Sigma Theta.

Which reminds me: I secretly remain VERY surprised that Michelle Obama is not a Delta because she SO VERY seems like one. I mean, doesn't she?

Oh, come on. You can admit it to me, y'all. Doesn't Michelle O. seem very. . .uhh. . .Delta-ish? Particularly when photographed beside the late, great Dorothy Height? I'm sorry, y'all. But her energy just screams DELTA.

See? This is the same giddy smile that all Deltas and Delta-ish women have in the presence of the great one -- Dorothy I. Height.

Mmmm hmmm.

Even if you don't admit it to me, you can at least say that if you were a betting person, you'd put your money on Mrs. Obama being a Delta, wouldn't you?


Jada and Charlene, elegant in black!

Ah hem. I mean, I'm just saying.

Okay, okay. I know I'm pushing it. Ha ha ha.

With Auntie Honey Bee.

Again. Nothing against my dear, dear, dear non-Delta sista-friends. And don't even say anything further on Mrs. Obama, either. I am fully aware of what my AKA buddies are itching to say. Ha ha ha.

No more on that. I won't say more either, I promise.  Hee hee. :)
I had to rep for #3 (Deanna) and #33, me!

I'm just excited, that's all. I am. And I'm proud, too.

So, so proud to be a Delta.

Me and my pookie, Sherrese H.

That smile was for Deanna. Isn't it sweet?

So here's to all of the dynamic Delta women, past and present. Here's to Shirley Chisolm, Barbara Jordan, Mary McCleod Bethune, Leontyne Price, and Ruby Dee. Here's to Soledad O'Brien, Regina Benjamin, Dorothy Height, and Judith Jamison. Here's to Winnie Mandela, Aretha Franklin, Wilma Rudolph, Johnetta B. Cole, Marian Wright Edelman, Roberta Flack, Lena Horne, and Nikki Giovanni (just to name a few.)

Oh, and to make this thing local for you -- here's to my fellow Emory Grady doctor-Delta-girl-leader-colleague-sista-friends, Jada Bussey-Jones, Stacy Higgins, and Lisa Flowers. (Yep, Emory med student readers of this here blog, THEY'RE all Deltas, too.)

And Morehouse med students? That was the photo of Dr. Yolanda Wimberly you saw and, YEP, she's a DELTA, too. 

Mmm hmmm.

See? Told you. That's just how we roll. So that sister you met that day that impressed the heck out of you? I'm sure at some point you, too, will be saying: "YEP, she's a Delta, too."

So, yeah. Here's to ALL of those amazing Delta women. . . . .

That smile was for Deanna, too. She even had a pic of her on her phone! Thanks Jamilah!

And most of all, here's to my favorite Delta woman of all time, Soror Deanna Draper.

Yes, Sissy. I did it big, just like you would have. I wagged my Delta duck-tail and sang until I was completely hoarse, just like you would have done it. I jumped in the air and didn't care who saw me. And I hugged as many sorors as I possibly could and savored every single sisterly moment--just as you would have asked me to.

Univ. of Florida sorors were DEEP.

Rain or shine, we're in it to win it.

Southern University Alpha Tau sorors do a second line dance, Bayou style!

I hope you had fun celebrating with our Founders because I know the heavens were rocking, too.

We are proud.
We are sisters.
We are family.

And best believe, I had ALL my sisters with me.

I was a part of history.
(Okay, sorors--all together now--you KNOW you know the moves!)





(Don't even pretend like you weren't just doing the old school snap-clap step with it, either!)

Happy Day-After-Founders Day! Oh, and for a refresher on Delta Sigma Theta and the whole black sorority/fraternity thing, peep this post.

First, this:

And next, these three video clips from the weekend. (Note that they won't show on your iPad or iPhone.)

What did y'all do to get it in this weekend?


  1. Soror Manning, it was great meeting you. You have truly captured the essence of our Founders Day Celebration in this post. I can't help but think that in meeting you, I have met a future Surgeon General in the footsteps of Soror Benjamin! Keep making Deanna proud. OO-OOP 21-A-96 Millicent

    1. Hey Millicent! Soooo awesome meeting you, too. Congratulations to your chapter on your 100th year! :) Hope to see you in July!

      33-GT-92 Kimberly

  2. Beautiful, wonderful, fantastic recap! I'd swear that I saw you at Rededication, but I didn't want to accidentally smother a soror if it wasn't you...and we were both on the same page of bringing Deanna. I brought the Hollywood Gala souvenir journal with the ad that we took out for Deanna with me, so I could feel her close by.

    And then I lost it! But as sorors do, an older Dear came up to me and wrapped her arms around me. She'd lost a dear friend last month, and was reflecting on how much the weekend meant, given that...

    I hope to see you in July! I will look for the shirt, and I kind of want one that says, Deanna made me laugh. :)

    Liz, Theta Psi born, Inglewood bred

  3. Soror "Grady Doctor!" My dear dear friend O'kereta Grate (Tuskegee grad/Orangeburg, SC homegirl) hipped me to your post when your sister passed. I occasionally take a step on the 1913 FB boulevard and was so touched by the outpouring of love for Deanna. So, I did ALL the same things you did this weekend as a registered soror and feel EXACTLY the same way and realize that I sat behind you about 3 rows at the ecumenical service and kept saying to myself. That soror is FIERCE in that haircut with her silk DST scarf. Yes, it seemed that when you stood to praise my row was standing to praise as well. YEP, YEP! No lie. This blog touched me so.....I'm Eta Kappa, Spelman College, Spring 1987 (Adriane Keepler). XOXO

    1. What's up, Adriane! I appreciate the compliment -- and speaking of compliments---HK was DEEP at the 100th. Y'all were 'BOUT IT! Loved it, soror.

      Hope to see you at the convention in July! :)

  4. SUCH an amazing experience. I was one of those people wishing I was a Delta. Thanks for the re-cap. It felt as if I was there with you!!

  5. Hey Soror Manning! It was sooo great meeting you following the rededication ceremony. I saw that face and I knew exactly who you were. Deanna talked about you, your sister and brother ALL THE TIME. And she loved those nieces and nephews sooo much She was such a wonderful friend and Soror. I will forever carry her in my heart. And I saw that you posted the shot that you took of me 'smiling for Deanna'.

    And just so you know, I love the blogs. I read them quite often.

    Take care and I look forward to seeing you in July.

    Angela Fairwell
    (Alpha Xi made; Northern Virginia Alumnae Chapter)

    1. Hey Soror Fairwell! Thanks for the shout out. I will always have love for NoVAC. Your Madame President came all the way to the ATL to show love for my sister and I didn't take that lightly. That was some real love.

      Shout out to Alpha Xi and my SC State made sorors!

  6. What a beautiful, life filled recap of a weekend. I bet BHE was wishing those Uggs got left in the hotel room, lol. See that you got a lot of mileage outta those fuzzy boots when he wasn't around. Beyond fun, it sounds like your weekend was healing for you and many of your sisters in your walk with Deanna into her next life.

    1. 'preciate that, Jill. Girrrrl, those UGG boots were in action. Harry gave me the hairiest eyeball ever when he saw those pictures! LOL!

  7. Kim, this was absolutely beautiful! I wish Deanna was here as well to enjoy in the fun times that you had this weekend. You rocked that red scarf Girlll!

    1. Thanks for looking out for your girl, Starria! :)

  8. Dr. Manning! This post nearly brought me to tears, and made me realize that I must find a way to make it to DC in July! I am so grateful to have amazing Delta Sisters to look up to as I try and navigate my way through this maze called medical school. You are an inspiration!

    Naomi Gebrelul
    NuMu Spring '08

    1. What's up, Naomi? Girl, turns out I was rolling with your chapter soror this weekend! Makeda (NM Fall '97) and she was MAD COOL. If this is anything like all sorors from NuMu then y'all have a really cool chapter! :)

      Hope med school is treating you well. Work hard and play hard--we sure did!

  9. Kim Draper!!!!! Wow, is all I can say!!! So sorry I missed you in the "out and about" this past weekend!!!! Got caught up with my "cuz" Kim Woodson Barnette. Your blog captured it all....I am in the office laughing, smiling, crying for office mates (all non-Greek) are wondering WTH?? After I explained (as best I could what DST means to me), they smile too! BTW-I saw my GODDAUGHTER in one of your pics-she is a Neo from GI (gamma iota-hampton, fall 2012)-the pic is in the exhibit hall and she has on a I heart DST sweatshirt!!!! Love from Hillary Woodson Gaskins, MD 4-HK-90


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