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Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Enters Its Centennial Year With Lineup Of Nationwide Celebrations

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at November 12, 2021

It’s “RHOvember” and members of the historically Black Greek-lettered organization Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. have a lineup of nationwide events to celebrate its journey into its centennial year. 

On November 12, 1922, seven educators came together on the campus of Butler University to found Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. The women’s efforts and diligence were ones that stood as a symbol of courage, as the organization is the only sorority within the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) to be founded at a predominately white school. 

Today, the sorority has grown massively, with more than 100,000 members and counting. The org has also chartered over 500 chapters nationally and reaching beyond U.S. borders, including in the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Germany, South Korea and more. 

As the sorority hits its 99th anniversary, it is already preparing for what’s to come in year 100. 

During a virtual interview with For(bes) the Culture’s Raquel “Rocky” Harris, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.’s International President, Rasheeda S. Liberty, expressed the joy and excitement the organization is feeling at this moment. 

“There’s a lot of energy, a lot of happiness. There’s an excitement growing in the sisterhood. We’ve built an extreme amount of confidence for the great work that we’ve done for the last 100 hundred years as a self-sustaining organization of predominantly women of color. We’re just extremely excited for this wonderful time in Sigma Gamma Rho’s history.” 

As part of their celebration, the sorority has events planned in five different locations throughout the year, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New Orleans. The biggest event will take place in Indianapolis. 

“We have five regions across the sisterhood, and in those five regions, we are doing what we call a ‘Central Service Tour’ because that’s what we’re about. We’re about programs; service to our communities,” said Liberty. “We actually had our first stop at Tennessee State University, where we were featured on their Jumbotron, and we handed out book bags with the Alpha Beta chapter.”

“Greater Service, Greater Progress” isn’t just the sorority’s slogan, it’s their mission. Sigma Gamma Rho has five different “National Programs”: “Operation BigBookBag,” “Women’s Wellness Initiative,” “Swim 1922,” “Project Cradle Care” and the “Annual Youth Symposium.” Each program targets a specific area of assistance that the sorority will be a part of and help facilitate for surrounding communities. 

“Our primary, overarching focus is really about healthy living, healthy lives, healthy generations but, we start with women’s wellness. We have to take care of ourselves in order to take care of the world. Our ‘Women’s Wellness’ focuses on heart health, diabetes, breast cancer, mental health awareness,” said Liberty. “We have ‘Swim 1922.’ ‘Swim 1922’ is huge for us; it’s unique for us. We hope to commit some pools in our name as we go forth for our centennial because we don’t have pools in our communities. With drowning deaths, we made a focus to ensure that our young people can get in the water. We know it’s challenging because if we can’t swim, we’re more likely to have children that can’t swim, and unfortunately that can result in death.” 

Additionally, over the last 20 years, the sorority has founded six schools in Ghana and in Haiti. “We wanted to do something to honor the legacy of our founders. They were seven educators; we wanted to make sure that we put a seed in the ground that would continue to live beyond a person’s term, or this time in my life serving as president. The only way to do that was to focus on education. We found outlets to find schools where these young people didn’t even have buildings or resources to actually become educated, and we built those schools. Now we’re working on putting water and electricity in those schools because some of those schools don’t have some of those necessary resources for them to be successful.”

Liberty, a 26-year member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., isn’t only leading thousands of women within the sorority. She also works for Amazon as Head of Finance and Global Business Services Talent Acquisition. It doesn’t end there. Liberty is a certified NFL agent, a wife and a mother of two. During her time as international president, Liberty has brought in over half a million in committed funds toward the sorority’s programming efforts, and she’s created partnerships with the OWN Network, Google, the Army and more for the org. Liberty says even with her multiple responsibilities; she tells herself she’s going to stop saying she’s “busy.”

“Downtime, what is that?” Liberty says jokingly. “To be honest with you, I said that I was going to quit saying that I’m ‘busy.’ I’ve realized that we’re all busy, and we’re all working with the same 24 hours. It’s just how you slice up that 24 hours. 

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. just reached its 99th anniversary year on Friday. You can watch our entire interview with Rasheeda S. Liberty here.

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