International Grand Basileus
Deborah Catchings-Smith

On behalf of the board of directors and staff, we offer our deepest condolences and prayers to all those affected by the horrendous shooting in Las Vegas last week. For those mourning the loss of loved ones from this tragedy and from the recent natural disasters that have occurred here in the U.S. and around the world, we pray that God brings comfort and blessings as only He can provide under such tragic circumstances.

Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference
Sigma Gamma Rho had stellar representation and achieved significant outcomes
from time well spent in Washington, D.C. attending the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference. We promoted our national brand, engaged in strategic legislative discussions on Capitol Hill, conducted targeted networking and executed stellar community service! Our Day on The Hill involved meetings with several legislators promoting the Sigma brand while introducing our Swim 1922 Initiative that is designed to tackle the significant drowning death rates in African-American communities.

Special commendations to Western Region Syntaktes Kenessa Marshall for joining me on The Hill!  We appreciate the tireless work of the Sigma national planning team lead by Coordinator Aminata Mbaye and Soror Karen Vernell Williams along with support from First Grand Anti-Basileus Rasheeda Liberty, Second Grand Anti-Basileus Kathrina Ruiz, Grand Tamiochus Vanessa Tyson, Grand Grammateus Karya
Beamon-Evans, Grand Epistelous Angela Spears and Legal Advisor Debra Hughes; all Regional Syntakti - Delia Askew Harris, Marica Harris, Jakimva Martin, LaShonda Johnson and Kennessa Marshall; Past Grand Basilei Bonita Herring and Dr. Mynora Bryant; Sorors Cherie Washington, Anita Laster Mays, Katiah Brown, Cheryl Procter-Rogers, Carolyn Williams and all Sorors and Philos who provided tremendous assistance while national leadership were in  D.C. during CBC Week! We want to recognize the tremendous leadership of our very own Soror and U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly!
Our innovative partnership with USA Swimming is unmatched and we recognized
Tim Hinchey, president and CEO of USA Swimming, during the Sigma Gamma Rho Reception. Under the leadership of our National USA Swimming Liaison, Soror Scenario Jones, along with the remarkable support of Olympian and Soror Maritza McClendon and Olympian Cullen Jones, the sorority masterfully executed an unprecedented, four Swim 1922 Clinics over a four-day period during CBC Week. Our community service outreach positively impacted hundreds of youth and their families which demonstrated our commitment to preventing drowning deaths in the African-American community! Kudos to Basileus Dawne Stanton and the Sorors of Eta Theta Sigma Alumnae Chapter for hosting a Swim 1922 Clinic during CBC Week! 

The sorority sponsored a Swim 1922 booth at the Walter Washington Convention Center during CBC to share drowning prevention information with the thousands in attendance. The partnership with Carol's Daughter participating in the Swim 1922 booth, sharing hair care tips with African Americans and women of color, was an extra bonus! Thank you Corporate Liaison Soror Cheri Washington for making that venture a reality!  We are most grateful to all Sorors and Philos who volunteered to work the booth to promote our Swim 1922 Initiative! Swim 1922 is saving and changing lives! 

St. Jude - THANK YOU!
We thank all Sorors and affiliates for participating in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer. We are nearing the end of the fundraising campaign. You can still donate to a great cause

We can all be extremely proud of our focus and commitment to end childhood cancer.






International First Grand Anti-Basileus Rasheeda Liberty
As a part of our Centennial Membership Challenge, we want to celebrate our chapters and their status. Our baseline goal is to ensure that all alumnae chapters have a minimum of 22 members and our undergraduate chapters have seven members at the start of each sorority year. For the month of October, in addition to celebrating breast cancer survivors in your chapter, we want you to celebrate your chapter status based on the number of financially active members you have. 

Ruby Chapters: 22 - 49 Members

Pearl Chapters: 50 - 74 Members 

                 Diamond Chapters: 75 - 99 Members

   Centennial Chapters: 100 - 149 Members
   Sesquicentennial Chapters: 150+ Members

Celebration Ideas:
  • Showcase a chapter photo with your status on social media
  • Host a chapter event or retreat to celebrate your growth and status
  • Update your chapter website or social media page to add your chapter status
  • Actively reclaim or recruit members to achieve the next level (i.e. from Ruby to Pearl)
  • Update profile pictures of all members with a frame with the chapter status
  • Invest in a special pin or chapter uniform item to showcase your chapter status
  • Celebrate how you have grown since the beginning of the challenge (2016 - 17 sorority year).
We have accomplished a lot in this last year, but we have a lot further to go to grow our sisterhood, our brand and our chapter image for long-term growth. This is a great way to raise the bar beyond 18 percent of chapters having more than 22 members. Special kudos to both the Central Region and Western Region for their work to have the greatest percentages of chapters over 22 members.

Nicole McCall 
Sister Coaching Initiative Chair

We are ex cited to launch Phase I of the Sister Coaching Progra m this fall.  This program, d esigned to enhance chapter growth and success, will launch i n a phased approach beginning Nov. 3. 

Please look for a series of communications in coming  weeks regarding selection of sister coaches and how your chapter can be one of the first to benefit from this exciting new program. 

Each year, a woman's life is affected by hearing the words "you have breast cancer." This could be said to the woman specifically or to her mother, daughter, aunt, cousin or friend. But being diagnosed with this disease is no longer the death sentence it once was. Early detection, prevention and overall wellness can contribute to a survivor story.

Members and affiliates of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. aim to eradicate the community and each other about the disease through the Hattie McDaniel Breast Cancer Awareness Initiative. McDaniel, the first African American to win an Academy Award and sorority member, succumbed to the disease on Oct. 26, 1952. 

On Oct. 22 and 26, 2017, Sigma Gamma Rho will T hink Pink in honor of Soror McDaniel and others who have and continue to fight against breast cancer. We are asking members and affiliates to consider doing at least one of the following:
  • Wear a pink awareness ribbon, sorority/affiliate supporter pin or other depiction of support
  • Share breast cancer facts on social media 
  • Sponsor a bra-fitting at a local brassiere boutique or invite personnel to chapter/affiliate meeting
  • Host an event at a local women's shelter
  • Schedule a mammogram
  • Honor survivors and angels through a community luncheon, dinner or gala.
In 2015, there was an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnoses. Cancer is a group of diseases that invade and cause disruption to cells in the body. Breast cancer usually occurs in the tissues of the lobules (milk production glands) and the ducts that connect to the lobules. 

African-American women continue to be disproportionately affected by breast cancer. While African-American women have lower rates of being diagnosed with breast cancer than their white peers, black women have higher death rates than white and Hispanic women. Asian a nd Pacific-Islander women have the lowest rate of diagnoses and death rates than any other group. While there is still much work to do, increasing rates of early detection is helping to save lives.

S igma Gamma Rho made a difference in our nation's capitol. The Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference was an experience like no other. Thousands came together to hear lawmakers and community leaders discuss issues and concerns in the African-American community during workshops or braintrusts. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus such as U. S . Reps. Robin Kelly, John Lewis and Maxine Waters led discussions on voter suppression, Attorney General Jeff Sessions' proposed changes to affirmative action, consent decrees and getting control over one's health. 

Our sorority members walked away energized with great ideas the National Social Action Committee plans to implement throughout the year. We will be pro-active in many areas and re-active when necessary. We will shape the future by our work. As renowned poet Nikki Giovanni stated during the Black Women's Agenda Luncheon,"You are the author of the only dictionary that defines you." We will define ourselves by our works.
Soror Anita Laster Mays
Let's come together in unity and prayer. Please join Boule Chapla in Rev. Chan-Tell King-
Beckwith  and regional chaplains tonight for our National Prayer Conference Call. They  will lead us in prayer as we seek guidance, strength and understanding.

The call begins tonight: 10 EDT/ 9 CDT/8 MDT/ 7 PDT. The conference call number is (712) 770-4155, participant access code - 266254.

We continue to prepare for our centennial. We are excited to announce our first milestone event on our journey to 2022! On Saturday, Nov. 11, we will join together as an international sisterhood for International Day of Service.

We are asking all Sorors along with their affiliates to perform an impactful day of service in their communities. On the day of service, chapters may on their own or in collaboration with other chapters and affiliates pick from one of the three H3 Program Thrusts that encompasses healthy choices, healthy living and healthy generations to promote overall health.

Also, since Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, consider hosting a volunteer opportunity to serve our veterans.  Each Soror and affiliate member should perform a minimum of two hours of service. Please document your service activities on our Community Service Reporting Tool . Also, p lease wear your commemorative t-shirt and send all pictures to .

JCPenney Company, Inc. will be saluting Sigma Gamma Rho's 95th f ounding!
corporate partnership is designed to elevate our brand nationally while offering a membership benefit. 

Exclusive shopping events will be held in targeted cities across the country on Sunday, Nov. 5. Sorors and affiliates will also be provided a discount coupon for use at all JCPenney stores across the nation. More details about the exclusive shopping events will be coming soon!

Plans are underway for the 2018 Boule in Dallas, Texas. Registration opens on Founders'  Day!  We look forward to seeing you July 12 - 15!

October 2017