2021 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Norwood, Horhn
A RESOLUTION COMMENDING PHI BETA SIGMA FRATERNITY, INC., AND ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY, INC., FOR THEIR EXTENSIVE PUBLIC SERVICE, AND RECOGNIZING THAT MARCH 23, 2021, IS "PHI BETA SIGMA FRATERNITY, INC., AND ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY, INC., DAY IN MISSISSIPPI."
WHEREAS, with many exceptional members in both Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., who have made tremendous contributions to the betterment of society through their unparalleled philanthropic contributions, these prestigious organizations have become model charitable and civic associations within the State of Mississippi and across the nation; and
WHEREAS, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on January 9, 1914, by three distinguished, young African-American male students: the Honorable A. Langston Taylor, the Honorable Leonard F. Morse and the Honorable Charles I. Brown, who wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would truly exemplify the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship and service, which are the principles exhibited by the fraternity motto, "Culture for Service and Service for Humanity"; and
WHEREAS, desiring to create an organization that viewed itself as "a part of" the general community rather than "apart from" the general community, the founders believed that each potential member should be judged by his own merits, rather than his family background or affluence, without regard to race, nationality, skin tone or texture of his hair, and they intended for their fraternity to exist as part of an even greater brotherhood which would be devoted to the "inclusive we," rather than the "exclusive we"; and
WHEREAS, from its inception, the founders conceived Phi Beta Sigma as a mechanism to deliver services to the general community, and rather than gaining skills to be utilized exclusively for themselves and their immediate families, they held a deep conviction to return their newly acquired skills to the communities from which they had come; and
WHEREAS, on November 21, 1927, the first chapter of Sigma, the Alpha Beta Chapter, was established in the State of Mississippi, on the campus of Jackson College, which was later renamed Jackson State University, and 11 years later in 1938, the first alumni chapter, Mu Sigma, was chartered; and
WHEREAS, Mississippi is part of the cluster of states under the Southern Region of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., which is currently the largest region in the fraternity with over 3,000 financial members, and is comprised of four states and one province: Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and the Islands of the Bahamas; and
WHEREAS, the State of Mississippi has 28 financial chapters, 10 Collegiate and 18 Alumni/Graduate, and is home to seven Sigma Beta Clubs, which serve as the fraternity's youth organization, geared towards meeting the needs of its members, and providing them with a well-rounded outlook that is needed to cope with today's society, because investing in our youth today will produce effective leaders of tomorrow; and
WHEREAS, Mississippi is home of the current International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., the Honorable Brother Micheal E. Cristal, a native of Grenada, Mississippi, and the current Southern Regional Director is Dr. Eric Farmer, and Brother Sedric Scott serves as the current Mississippi State Director; and
WHEREAS, the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma are the fraternity's most valuable resource and strength, and are the primary means by which the Phi Beta Sigma objectives will be achieved, and in order to accomplish the fraternity's objectives, it is essential that systems are instituted that effectively embody "Culture For Service and Service For Humanity" and promote brotherhood, scholarship and service; and
WHEREAS, in the spring of 1919, Mr. Charles Robert Samuel Taylor, a member of Phi Beta Sigma, shared with Ms. Arizona Cleaver, a student at Howard University, his idea for a new sisterhood that would be a sister-organization to his fraternity. Ms. Cleaver presented this idea to 14 other Howard University women; and
WHEREAS, with the help of Mr. Taylor and one of Phi Beta Sigma's founders, Mr. A. Langston Taylor, work began to establish the new sorority, culminating in the founding of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., on January 16, 1920, by five phenomenal women at Howard University in Washington, D.C.: the Honorable Arizona Cleaver Stemons, the Honorable Pearl Anna Neal, the Honorable Myrtle Tyler Faithful, the Honorable Viola Tyler Goings and the Honorable Fannie Pettie Watts; and
WHEREAS, with permission from the Howard University administration, the sorority held its first official meeting on January 16, 1920, and the five founders chose the name Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., with the similar names of both Sigma and Zeta being intentional in nature as the ladies adopted the Greek letters "Phi" and "Beta" to seal and signify the relationship between the two organizations; and
WHEREAS, these five extraordinary women dared to depart from the traditional coalitions for African-American women, and sought to establish a new organization predicated on the precepts of scholarship, service, sisterhood and finer womanhood, envisioning a sorority that would directly affect positive change, chart a course of action for the 1920s and beyond, raise the consciousness of their people, encourage the highest standards of academic achievement, and foster a greater sense of unity among its members; and
WHEREAS, it was the idea of the founders that the sorority would reach college women in all parts of the country who were sorority-minded and desired to follow the founding principles of the organization; and
WHEREAS, eighteen years after its inception, in 1938, the Zeta's principles reached the hearts and souls of Finer Women in Mississippi, and with the help of the Southern Regional Director, Lullelia Harrison, and Pauline Allen Davis of Memphis, Tennessee, the first Zeta Chapter was established in Mississippi, the Alpha Delta Zeta Chapter, and was chartered on October 14, 1938, at 723 Rose Street in Jackson, Mississippi; and
WHEREAS, Mississippi is part of the South Central Region of the Zeta International Organizational Structure, and is comprised of four states: Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee; and
WHEREAS, appointed by the International President, Kathy R. Tatum is the Regional Director of the South Central Region, and each state has a director who is also appointed by the International President, with the 17th Mississippi State Director being Portia Ellis; and
WHEREAS, since chartering the Alpha Delta Zeta Chapter in 1938, the State of Mississippi has grown to become the largest state in the South Central Region, and among the largest in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., historically amassing over 1,400 financial members statewide and hundreds of members in the youth and adult auxiliaries; and
WHEREAS, Mississippi Zeta Chapters include collegiate and graduate members, Friends of Zeta, called Amicae, Youth Auxiliaries that are established to mentor and train girls ages 4 through 18 and the Zeta Male Network; and
WHEREAS, Mississippi has become a source of information and inspiration for other states, regions and national leadership, and is among the first 20 states in the organization's national history to have chartered chapters, with over 48 Zeta Chapters across 82 counties, including 11 undergraduate chapters, with the first undergraduate chapter to the charter being the Zeta Chapter in 1945, at Alcorn State University; and
WHEREAS, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., continues to achieve its mission by providing an extensive array of service through the sorority's numerous programs, such as the endowment of its National Educational Foundation, the Elder Care Initiative, Zeta Prematurity Awareness Program and Adopt a School; and
WHEREAS, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., State of Mississippi, and its auxiliaries have been able to support and provide service to citizens in the Magnolia State through its National Service Program called ZHOPE (Zetas Helping Other People Excel), which is an interactive, holistic, multidimensional outreach program designed to enhance, cultivate and empower participants to develop health-promoting lifestyle choices across each lifespan, focusing on specific population groups including women, youth, seniors, men and international women of color; and
WHEREAS, over the past 82 years in Mississippi, this exceptional organization's community service impact can be seen in over 100,000 service hours given to many of its outreach programs, including the Zeta Stork's Nest, which is a partnership between Zeta Phi Beta and March of Dimes that is a community-based prenatal health promotion program for low-income pregnant women.
The State of Mississippi has three Stork's Nest programs: Alpha Delta Zeta Chapter of Jackson, Mississippi; Zeta Psi Zeta Chapter of Clarksdale, Mississippi; and Psi Beta Zeta Chapter of Southaven, Mississippi, and since the partnership with the March of Dimes, African-American babies' low birth rate has declined; and
WHEREAS, in addition to its other numerous programs and community service initiatives, and in line with the principle of scholarship, Mississippi Zetas support scholarships to youth through its annual scholarship program and the Zeta National Scholarship Programs; and
WHEREAS, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., are the only National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations that can claim an authentic brother-sister association through a constitutional bond, which allows both organizations to work closely together as they attempt to materialize what their founders envisioned through a deep and abiding dedication to enhancing and promoting systematic fellowship, African-American self determination, justice, equal rights and service to all humankind; and
WHEREAS, since their respective foundings, the esteemed men of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and the dynamic women of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., have played a vital role in our nation's illustrious history, and there are numerous accomplished individuals in each organization who are recognized as leaders in our society; and
WHEREAS, it is with great pride that we recognize and honor these charitable and civic organizations whose dedication for serving others brings honor to the State of Mississippi:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., for their extensive public service, and recognize that March 23, 2021, is "Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Day in Mississippi."
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.