Submitted by Corlette Mays & Traci C. Benjamin
Sorors in New Jersey got “Back in Stride Again” on Jan. 13- 14 for their first in-person Founders Day since 2020. The pandemic might have kept everyone apart, but the fellowship was evident as Sorors embraced and hugged as they made their way throughout the Tropicana in Atlantic City. The theme for the 51st statewide event was “Back in Stride Again 2023: A Celebration of 110 Years of Sisterhood, Scholarship, Service and Social Action” hosted by New Jersey Garden City Alumnae Chapter. Attendees packed their patience, smiled and put our best foot forward to welcome more than 1,000 sorors, family, friends, and vendors, where every detail was carefully considered and planned with sorors happiness in mind.
Founders Day was a weekend event, where sorors partied at a Welcome Reception on Friday evening, featuring the best in hip hop, R&B, and New Jersey’s “house music.” A 360 photo-booth kept sorors spinning throughout the night as they posed with Delta props. In addition, there were plenty of Delta backdrops throughout the area to catch a photo or two with a long-lost soror or line sister. Sorors also had the opportunity to take in the Heritage and Archives display that was designed as a tribute to Delta’s Founders. The exhibit featured mannequins dressed as the Founders in period clothes, biographical facts, and news clippings from the time of the organization’s founding. Lastly, you can’t have a Delta gathering without vendors who provided a place for sorors to shop and support black businesses.
On Saturday morning, sorors rededicated themselves to Delta’s mission and reflected on the ideals Founders established. The Rededication ceremony included participation from the state’s 17 chapters, State Coordinator Donna Marable, Regional Representative Jerra Holdip, Regional Director Rosie Allen-Herring and 24th National President Cynthia M.A. Butler McIntyre.
Following the rededication, regional and national leadership past and present strolled the red carpet into the Founders Day Luncheon celebration. Kicking off the luncheon was the “Parade of Banners,” where members from each chapter danced in displaying their banner in charter order. The luncheon program was truly a Broadway production! A special HBCU rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was played to everyone’s delight and sorors from across the state lifted up praises through the choir and praise dancers.
Gospel singer Soror Maurette Brown-Clark, took everyone to church singing “I Just Want to Praise You” and “It Ain’t Over.” Attendees also paused to remember those sorors who are now in Omega Omega since the state’s last in-person Founders Day in 2020, with a touching PowerPoint presentation including 27th Past National President Soror Cheryl A. Hickmon. The icing on the cake was having Soror Butler-McIntyre bring a mighty word, reminding sorors to reflect on the meaning of their Jewels and how they are applying those principles to their own lives and the communities they serve. The luncheon concluded with the singing of the “Sweetheart Song.” It was a wonderful weekend to indeed be “Back in Stride Again,” for no one celebrates Founders Day like New Jersey!