NEWS FROM THE GRAND BASILEUS
 
International Grand Basileus   Deborah Catchings-Smith
Greetings Sorors, Philos, and Rhoers!  
 
Welcome to Autumn! We have entered this season enjoying the fullness of life as well as sharing the harvest with our family, friends, and Sorors. We are ever mindful that we are called to prepare for reinvesting and saving portions of our harvest for another season of growth. Our undeniable dedication and commitment to service is resulting in significant impacts to children and families in our communities across this nation.  
 
St. Jude Update
Thanks to all Sorors and Affiliates who participated in the 2019 St. Jude
Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer giving campaign! We have already exceeded our goal for St. Jude and we know there are more funds being collected. There's still time to submit donations. Your donations are saving the lives of children with Cancer and Sickle Cell Anemia.

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference (CBCF ALC)
Members of your national leadership team participated in the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference (CBCF ALC) in Washington, DC on September 11-15, 2019. We were strategic with our engagement throughout the conference. We attended policy discussions, had meetings with elected officials, did advocacy work, performed community service, attended partnership meetings, fostered collaborations, and networked.
 
NPHC Council of Presidents Annual Retreat
The precursor to the CBCF ALC, which began on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, was the NPHC Council of Presidents annual retreat. It has been an honor serving as Chair of the NPHC Council of Presidents for the past year (September 2018-September 2019). The newly installed Chair and Vice-Chair are Alpha Phi Alpha General President Dr. Everette Ward and Omega Psi Phi Grand Basileus Dr. David Marion. We look forward to their leadership.
 
Later that afternoon, the Divine Nine Presidents participated in the 10th Annual NPHC Council of Presidents Annual NPHC Greek Forum. The panel discussion themed, "Raising Our Voices to Restore Voting Rights Now!", was hosted by Congresswoman Marsha Fudge. The forum addressed a number of topics including:
  • Voter Suppression
  • Protecting Voting Rights
  • Voter Education and Mobilization
  • Collective Strategies of the Divine Nine Organizations
The Divine Nine Organizations have agreed to partner on initiatives focusing on Voting Rights and the upcoming US Census.
 
Photos L to R. COP Chair Grand Basileus Catchings-Smith presiding at the COP Retreat during the presentation by guest speaker Derrick Johnson, NAACP National President.Newly installed COP Vice Chair Omega Psi Phi Grand Basileus Dr. David Marion (center left) and COP Chair Alpha Phi Alpha General President Dr. Everette Ward (center right) joined by outgoing COP Chair Grand Basileus Catchings-Smith, NPHC National President Vanetta Cheeks Reeder (far left), and Immediate Past NPHC National Preident Jennifer Jones (far right). National Divine Nine Presidents, NPHC National President Vanetta Cheeks Reeder and Congresswoman Robin Kelly along with Members of Congress.  
 
Sigma Gamma Rho Reception During CBCF ALC
On September 13, 2019, during the CBCF ALC, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority hosted a reception
at the Conrad Hotel in Washington, DC. We announced new partnerships with the US Census Bureau and the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission. We also awarded our prestigious 2019 President's Award posthumously to late Congresswoman and US Ambassador Soror Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, affectionately known as Lindy Boggs.  
 
The partnership with the US Census Bureau includes a 30-second public service announcement that the sorority has produced. The promotion involves educating our communities about the importance of everyone being counted. The PSA will be available and distributed to local media in early 2020.  
 
The nonpartisan Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission (WSCC) partnership is a nationwide program that will educate the American public about the women's suffrage movement and passage of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. Sigma Gamma Rho will participate in the year-long celebration that includes the sorority distributing yellow roses (a symbol of the suffragists and the sorority's official flower), media distribution of a public service announcement, editorials, and member support of celebration activities.
 
Soror Boggs, inducted in 1978 as an honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho, was saluted for her many firsts. She was also honored for the impact she made in Louisiana, on Capitol Hill, and as a member of the sorority. Rebecca Boggs Roberts, daughter of journalist Cokie Roberts, accepted the award on behalf of the family.   
Photos L to R: Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs Photo: history.house.gov.  Rebecca Boggs Roberts (right), daughter of journalist Cokie Roberts, accepts the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority President's Award on behalf of her late grandmother Congresswoman and US Ambassador Lindy Boggs. Photo: Cheriss May
 
Swim 1922 Clinic During CBCF ALC
While the sorority delegation attended the CBCF ALC in Washington, DC, we hosted our 5th
Olympian Cullen Jones teaching students during the swim clinic held at the Frank W. Ballou Senior High School.
Annual Swim 1922 Information booth at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center September 11th-15th. More than 18,000 attendees had access to water safety and drowning prevention education information. Additionally, we held a community swim clinic at the Frank W. Ballou Senior High School on September 12, 2019.
 
More than 40 students were engaged in learning information about the importance of water safety and
Syntaktes Gore and Eta Iota Sigma Sorors supporting the Swim 1922 Clinic.
drowning prevention. We thank our National Swim 1922 Liaison, Soror Secenario Jones, for her leadership in coordinating the Swim 1922 activities, Olympian Cullen Jones who led the swim clinic, and our continued dynamic partnership with USA Swimming. Special thanks to Northeastern Region Syntaktes Thomasina Gore, UCC Lisa Sellers, Area 1 Coordinator Dawn Stanton, Basileus Chandrai Jackson-Saunders, Eta Iota Sigma Sorors that supported the Swim Clinic, as well as all Sorors who helped to staff the Swim 1922 Information Booth.  
 
Swim 1922 Featured in 2019 Circle City Classic in Indianapolis, IN
Our innovative Swim 1922 Initiative was featured as a themed float created by Alpha Sigma Chapter during the Indianapolis Circle City Classic parade. Many thanks to Alpha Sigma Chapter Sorors, under the leadership of Basileus Dawn Wright, for their commitment to our drowning prevention initiative and for providing critical information to more than 100,000 spectators! Information about drowning rates, water safety statistics, the importance of learning to swim and swim education, were distributed to spectators along the parade route. We applaud Alpha Sigma Chapter for utilizing this community engagement to share the sorority's amazing drowning prevention movement that is saving lives!
Alpha Sigma Chapter Sorors with the Swim 1922 float participating in the
Circle City Classic Parade.
    
Historic United Arab Emirates Chartering in Dubai 
On September 28, 2019, our sisterhood expanded our footprint to the Middle East! The vision was conceived in 2015 and resulted in the historic chartering of Mu Phi Sigma Chapter in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. We are beyond ecstatic about the 23 charter members led by Basileus Lani San Antonio. Sigma Gamma Rho joins Zeta Phi Beta and Alpha Kappa Alpha as the third NPHC Sorority to charter in the Middle East.
 
Thank you to Soror Deborah Haynes Brannon and Murray's Worldwide for being a corporate sponsor for this incredible event. We appreciate the leadership of First Grand Anti-Basileus Rasheeda Liberty, Global Membership Liaison Tezra Woody, Esq., Western Region Syntaktes Kennessa Marshall, and UCC Michele Aldridge. The amazing support of Executive Director Cynthia Eubanks, Director of Membership Services Elaina Hamilton, Headquarters Staff, and Grand Epistoleus Tamika Williams-Clark are to be applauded. Special appreciation to the more than 100 Sorors who journeyed to experience this historic event and the culture of the Middle East.
 
Photo L to R: Mu Phi Sigma Charter Members - Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Sorors with Mu Phi Sigma Chapter - Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 
  
Upcoming National Events and Webinar  
 
October is Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Month
 
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 9pm ET
2020-2022 International Nominations Committee Leadership Webinar Series: The Office of the International Grand Basileus
 
October 16-20, 2019, Memphis, TN
NPHC Biennial National Leadership Conference    
 
58TH BIENNIAL BOULE REGISTRATION OPEN NOW! 
 
 
Registration for the 58th Biennial Boule in Atlanta, GA opened on October 1, 2019! The 2020 Boule is shaping up to be the most exciting boule ever. As of today, nearly 1,000 Sorors and Affiliates have already registered! Those experiencing FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) were quick to take advantage of the unprecedented 7-day promotion when we reduced the early bird price by $100 for registrations paid in full.
 
Eliminate any anxiety you feel about being left out. Click here to complete your Boule registration today! Remember this exciting promotion ends tonight, October 7 (11:59 PM PT / 2:59 AM ET / 1:59 AM CT). We'll be creating more firsts in Atlanta. We want you there to be a part of history!  
October 2019