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Greater Service, Greater Progress: Sigma Gamma Rho Celebrates 100 Years With Focus On Community

Members of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated gathered in Indianapolis last week to celebrate their Centennial Celebration Boule. They continued to focus on community service and fulfilling their slogan “Greater Service, Greater Progress”.

History

Founded by seven educators in 1922, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority have always focused on community service as an essential part of the organizations work. To highlight this proud history of community service, Sigma Gamma Rho leadership, and membership held events during their Centennial Celebration Boule that built on many of their successful community service projects.

Service

Last week’s programming included a continued commitment to addressing water safety and swimming. With our ongoing Swim 1922 partnership between the Sorority and USA Swimming, we were able to achieve this. The festivities this week included Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority donating a pool to the Him by Her Collegiate School for the Arts in Indianapolis. 

Soror Natalie Hinds, a 2020 Olympic medalist, shared in a discussion on Instagram on the importance of exposing the Black community to swimming. “We need to have the resources and the access, and also give them exposure so if they want to swim they are able to see what’s out there to continue their journey” said Hinds. 

This year’s Swim 1922 leaders are an esteemed tandem. Firstly there’s Maritza Correia McClendon, the first African American woman to make a US Olympic swim team. Then there’s 2004 Olympic silver medalist, Alia Atkinson, double world record holder and a five time Olympian. Their life experiences in and out of the pool certainly enriched all who participated.

Advocacy

In addition to these initiatives, we also continued our focus on women’s health. Particularly, the ongoing disparate maternal and infant health outcomes that Black women endure. We have an ongoing partnership with the March of Dimes. It includes the Project CRADLE Care program that the organization collaborates with us on to address the issues that adversely affect Black women and their children.

Megan Walker, a VP at March of Dimes, also attended the Centennial Boule. She shared that “every day in America two women die during pregnancy and two babies die every hour.” She continued, “The US is the most dangerous developed nation in the world in which to give birth, and it is getting worse. It is actually worse for African American and Native American women.”

Dr. Myiesha Taylor, is also a soror and the organization’s Project Cradle Care National Program Chair. She shared “it is crucial that historically Black organizations such as Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated and the other members of the Divine Nine continue to be a part of this important community education and advocacy campaign. Ending the healthcare disparities and the associated implicit biases in our healthcare system that Black mothers and babies face is crucial to addressing overall healthcare disparities in our nation and ensuring a strong health foundation for all Americans.”

As part of the partnership with March of Dimes, members of the sorority also made blankets as a donation to local hospital. It was part of their Centennial Boule Day of Service. Over 600 blankets were made and donated last week.

Festivities

Haley Taylor Schlitz is 19 years old and the youngest Black person to graduate from law school in the history of the United States. In May of 2022, Haley graduated with her Juris Doctor from the SMU Dedman School of Law.

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