LifestyleAlpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Xi Omega Chapter Celebrates 100 Years

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Xi Omega Chapter Celebrates 100 Years

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Cherly Hill put on one of her finest dresses — that had a touch of green, one of the colors representing Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. — to join the centennial gala for Xi Omega, the sorority’s first alumni chapter in the District, which celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Westin Washington DC Downtown Hotel in Northwest on Dec. 16.

NBC 4 anchor Jummy Olabanji, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Xi Omega Chapter, serves as mistress of ceremonies for the chapter’s centennial celebration on Dec. 16. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)
“This is such a wonderful event, and I am so glad to be here,” said Hill, 69, and a former president of the chapter from 2006-2007. “Celebrating our 100 years of service in D.C., we had all types of activities. The highlight was the giving of $1 million in college scholarships to students. We made sure we delivered on that. Service to D.C. is what we are all about.”

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The gala was designed to celebrate the chapter’s year of special centennial activities that consisted of the dedication of Xi Omega Way, a renamed block of 14th Street NW; a 10-episode Centennial Podcast series highlighting the significant milestones in the chapter’s history from each decade; and key collaborations with Food & Friends, the chapter’s longest-standing community partner. 

Hill said the highlight of the night was the announcement of $1 million to college-bound students that was noted throughout the program.

The History of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Xi Omega

Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) is the first intercollegiate historically Black sorority. The sorority was founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University by a group of young women led by Ethel Hedgemon Lyle. 

Notable AKAs include Vice President Kamala Harris, former D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt, former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, entertainers Phylicia Rashad, Wanda Sykes and Roxie Roker, Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and tennis legend Althea Gibson. AKA officials report 300,000 members have been initiated and there are 1,024 chapters internationally.

The Xi Omega chapter had 704 members as of Dec. 16, according to chapter President Raven L. Hill. It was founded on December 23, 1923, by 20 sorority members. Prominent members of Xi Omega are U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Illinois), D.C. Council members Christina Henderson (I-At Large) and Janeese Lewis George (D-Ward 4) and D.C. Superior Court Judge Kendra Briggs. Washington Informer Managing Editor Micha Green is also a member of the chapter.

The Centennial Celebration

For the gala, hundreds of sorority members were dressed in glamorous, celebratory, 1920s-inspired attire, with many donning pink or green (the sorority’s colors. Many of the male guests sported black suits and ties. 

Current president Hill spoke about the years of service that the chapter has delivered to the community.

“Standing on a century of commitment to the Washington, D.C. community, we take immense pride in commemorating 100 years of service,” she said. “After a year marked by continued community outreach and reflections on our rich history, we honor this milestone with a gala that transcends celebration into a commitment for the future. Our legacy is not just in the years behind us, but in the scholarships we fund and the community service we will continue for the next 100 years.”

NBC4 Washington anchor Jummy Olabanji served as the mistress of ceremonies. 

The keynote address was delivered by Charletta Wilson Jacks, the AKA International First Vice President. Jacks complimented the Xi Omega chapter and its legacy.

“You have been running the race with sisterhood and with service,” she said.

Noting that sometimes the work of the chapter can be difficult, she said to endure tough times “because it’s OK I have been an AKA.”

“Did I have to understand the assignment?” she asked rhetorically. “I created the assignment. The relay is still going on.”

As the chapter’s current president, Hill said she looks forward to being a part of the Xi Omega’s next 100 years.

“We are going to increase the giving of scholarships and continue our work in community service with organizations like Food & Friends,” she said.

Source: Washington Informer

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