Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. celebrates 100 years of scholarship, service, community service and sisterhood in 2020. To commemorate, the Beta Tau Zeta chapter of Miami-Dade County held their 74th Annual finer womanhood community fellowship luncheon on Saturday March 14 at the Coral Gables Country Club.
This luncheon’s 2020 theme was, "Honoring valiant women of the vote for our vision, our vote, our victory," and to mark the special occasion, women from all across the globe packed the ballroom. They wore dazzling shades of blue accessorized with strands of pearls.
Proceeds raised from the annual luncheon allow the chapter to provide scholarships to deserving young women in high school including debutantes in May 2020.
"This year, we've raised just about $13,000 from sponsorships alone. That will help us to provide scholarships," said Beta Tau Zeta chapter president Darlene T. Sparks who thanked guests for attending as the organization continues to work as one Zeta, unified and mobilized.
Debra Toomer served as mistress of ceremonies of the program that included awards bestowed to distinguished guests whose contributions have helped the chapter advance its mission.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.’s 25th international president Valerie Hollingsworth and southeastern regional director Lawanda Harper were present along with the men of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. who served as escorts.
Consistent with the theme, honorees were recognized for their voice, vote and victories. Prior to the awards ceremony, the audience was serenaded by Kizie Washington, a professional violist and the Edwin Holland dance ensemble who performed a moving artistic presentation.
The organization honored 11 women for community advocacy.
Paulette Bartlett was awarded voter literacy advocate of the year; Yolanda Cash-Jackson, esq., Florida legislative advocate of the year; Valencia Gunder, citizen of the year; Marilyn Holifield, esq., cultural equity advocate of the year; Brenda Snipes, esq., woman of the year; Cynthia Stafford, esq., human rights advocate of the year; Katrina Wilson, councilmember City of Miami Gardens, Education Advocate of the year; Marisol Zenteno, league of women voters and non-partisan advocate of the year; Denise Kelly Johnson, was posthumously bestowed the women's rights champion award; Pamela Knox Shuler, amica of the year and Judith Lewis, was named, Zeta of the year.
The chapter additionally presented awards to three men including Alva Royston and Benjamin Addison, both of whom represented Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. The men were awarded advocate of the vote while pastor Charles Dinkins of Hosanna Community Baptist Church was awarded church leader of the year.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was founded January 16, 1920, at Howard University, Washington, D.C. Since its inception, the Sorority has chronicled a number of firsts. They were the first Greek-letter organization to charter a chapter in Africa, 1948; to form adult and youth auxiliary groups and to centralize its operations in a national headquarters.
The Beta Tau Zeta Chapter was chartered February 24,1946 in Miami by 12 outstanding, committed, college educated and community conscious action-oriented women.
They have since established a long history of community involvement, voter advocacy, women's rights and youth development. In 1996, chapter members o developed a plan to purchase a vacant building on Northwest 54th street that formerly housed COPE Center North, a public school for pregnant students.
More than two decades later, the chapter’s work remains consistent.
"The Zetas have been doing work in this community since I was a little girl,” said Grace Marshall who attended the luncheon. “Now, in my adult years I'm happy to know they are still in the community making a difference,"
Her sentiments were shared by Elisha Moultrie who said, "Everything was so organized and nicely put together. It was an outstanding event, and I just loved being there."