Submitted by Naneka J Brathwaite
On Feb. 27, 2022, the Queens Alumnae Chapter (QuAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated hosted the Virtual Black Paris Tour, a premier scholarship fundraiser event! During the past two years the chapter has been challenged with developing unique ideas to raise funds during the pandemic. Even as many people were suffering from virtual meetings and events fatigue, the Queens Alumnae Chapter’s African American History and Fundraising Committees collaborated with Black Paris travel expert, Ms. Julia Browne of Walking the Spirit Tours to organize this highly curated, interactive online experience. Attendees embarked on a virtual journey to learn more about the enormous contributions that Africans and persons of African descent have made to France, particularly as it pertains to Parisian culture.
Leading up to the event, the Queens Alumnae Chapter utilized social media and email to encourage ticket sales by posting and sending interactive flyers and a video commercial with music and voiceover narration. Registered attendees received customized, first-class and premium economy boarding passes via email according to the level of their ticket purchases. On the day of the tour, attendees were delivered a complete sensorial experience as they were whisked into the doors of the virtual Monarchy Lounge, before boarding their virtual flight to Paris. The chairs of the Queens Alumnae Emergency Response Team (ERT) were our flight attendants on “Air QuAC” and creatively delivered Delta’s emergency response message before the flight took off. The virtual tour took attendees through the streets of Paris with stops along the way referencing notable African-American figures such as James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Sally Hemings, the 369th Harlem Infantry Jazz band, performer and philanthropist Josephine Baker, and many more! Between tour stops, there were raffle drawings for various door prizes and the ultimate grand prize worth over $300.
The Virtual Black Paris Tour attracted more than 200 attendees, including 22nd National President Gwendolyn Boyd, Eastern Regional Director Rosie Allen-Herring, National Scholarship & Standards Committee Member Dr. Marie-Carmel Durandisse-Pressley, Eastern Regional Secretary Tessa Murphy McGee, New York Metropolitan State Coordinator Randi Horton Gray, New York Metropolitan Coordinating Council (NYMCC) Chair Althea Kitchens, and several other distinguished sorors from various chapters in the Eastern Region and beyond. The event was an overwhelming success as it raised $10,340.38 to be used toward scholarships, but it also raised the bar on what Queens Alumnae Chapter virtual events will look like in the future!