October 24, 2017
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 80th anniversary of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority's Newport News Alumnae Chapter.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded in 1913 by 22 students attending Howard University. These women all saw education and community service as the key to pushing forward the cause of civil rights and progress for the African American community, and that mission remains strong to this day. Today, Delta Sigma Theta has grown to an organization with over 250,000 members and over 940 local chapters operating all over the United States and the world.

The Newport News Alumnae Chapter was originally charted in 1937 as the Beta Kappa Chapter. It was then changed to the Gamma Iota Sigma Chapter in 1947 before officially becoming the Newport News Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 1960. The Chapter was dutifully led in these early years by Charter members Marian Palmer Capps, Clara Pannell, Ethel Pannell, Sallie Watkins Roberts, Dorothy Roles Watkins, Olivia Williamson, and Christine Jefferson Haynes.

The women of the Newport News Alumnae Chapter are committed to the same honored tradition of community service that has driven all of Delta Sigma Theta's members since its inception. Delta Sigma Theta's sisterhood has always been guided by the sorority's Five-Point Programmatic Thrust of Economic Development, Education Development, International Awareness and Involvement, Physical and Mental Health, and Political Awareness and Involvement. It is with these principles in mind that the Newport News Alumnae Chapter established the programs that continue to serve their local community to this day.

Delta Sigma Theta's unwavering commitment to serving the needs of African Americans has been truly reflected through the good work pursued by the Newport News Alumnae Chapter over the years. The Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy provides young girls between 11 and 14 years old with the opportunity to pursue their interests in math, science, and technology. The Delta GEMS program offers college and career planning to at-risk teenage girls who may otherwise not understand the opportunities available to them. The EMBODI program addresses the challenges facing African-American boys by providing middle and high schoolers with counseling and support in subject areas such as fostering healthy relationships, fiscal management, physical and mental health, self-efficacy, and more. These programs provide an invaluable service to the youth of Newport News.

Mr. Speaker, as the Newport News Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority celebrates this exciting milestone, its members can feel affirmed that these past 80 years of fellowship and outreach have left the Newport News community stronger and more united than it otherwise would have been. I would like to congratulate Chapter President Joyce Melvin-Jones and all of the members of the Newport News sisterhood on this special occasion.