ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY, INC.
The Chapter’s commitment to health care dates back to the 1930’s when Xi Omega members traveled to the Mississippi Delta, along with Alpha Kappa Alpha women from around the country, to set up mobile clinics to inoculate children against diphtheria and smallpox. The laws throughout the southern United States did not allow Xi Omega women to sleep in hotels or eat in restaurants. As they drove from Washington, D.C. to Mound Bayou, Mississippi for seven years, a network of Negro homeowners hosted these women in their homes. In the 1940’s the Surgeon General of the United States recognized the Mississippi Delta Health Project as the first volunteer health project in the rural South.
Norma Elizabeth Boyd, a founder of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, charter member and a President of Xi Omega chapter, established the Non-Partisan Council on Public Affairs to assure decent living conditions for people of color. In 1938 the first goals of the Council were to eliminate police brutality in the District of Columbia and to establish home rule.
The Council was accredited at the United Nations in 1946 as a nongovernmental-participating organization. Under the Council’s auspices, 20 students, teachers and other school officials from the District of Columbia traveled to the United Nations General Assembly. The students were the first group of school children from Washington, D.C. to visit the United Nations.
During the 1950s Alpha Kappa Alpha honorary member and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt was the keynote speaker at the AKA Founders Day celebration, which commemorated the establishment of the Eleanor Roosevelt Scholarship. Awarded by Xi Omega, this scholarship was given to high school students with an interest in international affairs.
The awarding of scholarships to local high school seniors is on-going. Since the 1990’s, our non-profit Pearl and Ivy Educational Foundation in association with Xi Omega Chapter has provided more than $25,000 in scholarships annually for college bound students.
Xi Omega’s commitment to education has been a vital part of the Chapter’s programs of service. Partnerships with area schools, college fairs at the Xi Omega Center and math and science summer camps demonstrated to area youth the importance of academic achievement. Through the Alpha Kappa Alpha Ivy Reading AKAdemy at Smothers Elementary School in Northeast Washington, D.C., Xi Omega with two other Alpha Kappa Alpha area chapters operated one of ten national demonstration sites to provide reading enrichment activities to children in kindergarten through third grade. When students completed the program, most had improved their reading skills. The Ivy Reading AKAdemy was in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education.
Xi Omega has always believed that economic support and community activism go hand-in-hand with programs of service. The Chapter sponsored a series of successful consumer advocacy seminars. Xi Omega invited the community into the Chapter House to learn about the rights of consumers, effective buying strategies, and ways to avoid impulse buying. Xi Omega was recognized by the D.C. Government Office of Consumer Protection for these efforts.
The Chapter’s long history of activism has included participation in the “March Against Apartheid” at the South African Embassy. More than sixty members took part in the March, while three Xi Omega members, along with Randall Robinson, executive director of TransAfrica, were arrested. Throughout the years, voter registration drives, voter forums and transporting voters to the polls have been part of Xi Omega’s civic activism.
Over the life of the Chapter, Xi Omega members have addressed health disparities in the African American community with specific programs targeting children, working adults and seniors. Health fairs, child wellness screenings and through partnerships with other organizations, the Chapter has examined cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breast cancer, lupus, kidney disease and depression. In one of Xi Omega’s longest running programs of service, Monday Activities, seniors from the community come to the Xi Omega Center every Monday for aerobics, bridge, sign language instruction, arts and crafts and a nutritious lunch.
Currently Xi Omega’s program initiatives target Social Justice and Human Rights, Economic Security, Global Poverty and Health. Our signature program is Emerging Young Leaders. Monthly we work with 31 middle school girls to cultivate and encourage excellence in the areas of leadership development, educational enrichment, civic engagement and character building.
Xi Omega Chapter is proud of a membership that has included two founders, Norma E. Boyd and Carrie E. Snowden; three International Presidents, B. Beatrix Scott, Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, and Marjorie Holloman Parker; one International Second Vice President, Nan Arrington Peete; one National Treasurer, Julia E. Brooks; one Editor-in-Chief of the Ivy Leaf Magazine, the official publication of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Jessie Hailstock Roy; and six North Atlantic Regional Directors, Norma E. Boyd, Sadie Daniel St. Clair, Sophie Edlin Fowler, Marjorie Holloman Parker, Esther Garland Pollard, and C. Edith Booker.
Thirty five women have served as president of Xi Omega Chapter, inspiring the membership to advocate for education and implement programs to improve the human condition. Today 400 women continue Xi Omega’s 95 years of service.
On December 23, 1923, twenty women chartered Xi Omega, the first graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in Washington, D.C. Most were educators in the public schools of the District of Columbia and shared a common commitment to service and scholarship. Thus began Xi Omega Chapter’s 90 plus Years of Service in the areas of education, health, and human rights.