The Alpha Kappa Alpha was the first Greek-lettered sorority that was established and incorporated by African American college women at Howard University in Washington. It was considered a breakthrough for African American women at the time as they had little opportunity or authority in the early twentieth century.
The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority was eventually incorporated on January 29 1913.
Today, over 250,000 women of all descent are part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha, with over 900 chapters in the US and in other countries around the world. Woman can join when they are an undergraduate or through a graduate chapter.
Members take part in community service, education programs, health programs and social and political matters in the community.
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Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority established its position as a global influence with the announcement by the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that it had granted AKA Special consultative status. This status, which was engineered by AKA’s international president Barbara A. McKinzie, is granted to Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that have a special competence and are concerned specifically with certain fields of activity covered by the ECOSOC.
This powerful designation enables Alpha Kappa Alpha to promote the aims and objectives of the UN and to further the understanding of its work to AKA members and communities they serve. This status means AKA can now actively engage and consult with the ECOSOC, its commissions and subsidiary bodies. The status also allows AKA to access ECOSOC’s provisional agenda, attend public meetings, make oral presentations, submit written statements for circulation by the UN Secretary-General, participate in preparatory meetings and attend international conferences relevant to its expertise.
Achieving this consultative status gives AKA the leverage to ensure that the United Nations’ human rights mission gains another voice. AKA will focus on gender equality and advancement of women worldwide and will also strengthen international cooperation for social development with particular attention on the core issues of poverty eradication, employment generation and social integration. AKA will also continue its support of its member, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in her mission to rebuild the economy and strengthen governing institutions in the war-torn country. Ambassador Alice Dear, AKA’s NGO representative, and her team, will reinforce Africare’s resolve to address needs in health, agriculture and water resource development. Alpha Kappa Alpha will also add voice in the ECOSOC to the message of its programmatic partner CARE as it addresses the global poverty crisis.
Serving in this key role continues Alpha Kappa Alpha’s long and storied relationship that is rooted in its commitment to human rights and inspired by the activism of one of its founders, Norma Boyd, who laid the foundation for AKA’s participation with the UN.
Alpha Kappa Alpha helped craft the highly-heralded Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the document around which the mission was defined. The Declaration was inspired by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt who so admired AKA’s vigorous advocacy and passion for speaking out against human rights violations that she accepted honorary membership into the Sorority.
Like almost any issue there are two sides. The side making the most “newsworthy” claim is likely to get the press. Such is so relative to the ongoing legal battle between the leadership of the AKA Sorority and a group of disaffected members who have charged the current Sorority President, Barbara McKinzie with fiduciary malfeasance and outright theft of the organizations’ funds.
One of the key accusations against Mrs Mckinzie is that she commissioned a $900,000 wax statue of herself to be added to The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. The Founder of the Museum, Dr. Joane M. Martin seeks to set the record straight in an open letter tot he AKA Sorors – Read the rest of this entry »
I grew up in a house festooned with Pink and Green. My Mother is a 60+ year Soror, who sadly has succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. She doesn’t remember even her son much of the time – but enjoys being visited. However, two things impressed me about the sincerity and dedication of the AKA Sorors…
First, I recently had to move my Mother from one Senior Center to a different type of nursing home due to a bad fall, wherein she fractured her hip. Things happened so quickly I didn’t have time to do anything to prepare her new room, in which she would be confined for the next 6 weeks. She was quite upset that she was in a new place, and repeated to me over and over – “This isn’t my house”. In her old room I had hung a litho of an AKA meeting she had bought years ago, and her precious pink and green AKA pillows. As soon as I transferred these things to her new room, her mood immediately brightened – smiling for the first time since the accident.
Second, her Sorority Sisters still look in on her at least once a month. She usually doesn’t recognize them, but nonetheless is buoyed by their visits and attention. Over the past 5 years, they have been as consistent and dedicated as my Mother’s Church – in some cases more so.
So, the news of the issues in the Sorority are noteworthy to this guy.
As I reported earlier, a group of Sorors have filed lawsuit against the current Sorority President for misappropriation of funds. They allege that she has given herself a $375,000 salary in what had historically been an unpaid position, and utilized an organization credit card to purchase numerous personal items.
The next major step in the Lawsuit will be a meeting August 22, 2009 in Philadelphia at The Legendary Blue Horizon where the attorneys and plaintiffs in the lawsuit have scheduled a meeting to answer questions and give an update on the suit. The plaintiffs have also created a website – Friends of the Weeping Ivy, providing updates, a method to donate for legal expenses, and a forum where other Sorors may go for updates and ask questions or make comments.
Now – I don’t have an opinion on who may be in the right here, nor is it my place to insert one – however, the evidence as included in the 2007 Income Tax filing is pretty damning – 2007 Tax Exempt Form 990 where on page 3 of the Federal Statements Section, it does show $375,000 being paid to Barbara McKinzie. Assuming this is true, this would be an extraordinary salary for the head of a individual funded non-profit of this size – by nearly a factor of 2, especially if not combined with some sort of performance/bonus metric.
Sad days… Indeed.