[Congressional Record Volume 160, Number 9 (Wednesday, January 15, 2014)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E80-E81]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                        HON. SHEILA JACKSON LEE

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate the 106th 
anniversary of the founding of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the 
first Greek-letter organization established by black college women in 
  This prestigious organization, founded at Howard University by nine 
visionary women in 1908, at a period when Jim Crow laws flourished in 
the law books, knew the rigors of their journey during the early 1900s. 
Those nine special women were: Anna Easter Brown, Beulah Burke, Lillie 
Burke, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg Holmes, Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, 
Lavinia Norman, Lucy Slowe, and Marie Woolfolk Taylor.
  The organization, which has grown to a sisterhood of more than 
260,000 members in 975 chapters worldwide, includes an extraordinary 
collection of women, who now encompass diverse ethnicities and 
nationalities and are united by a bond of sisterhood and a commitment 
to service.
  Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded to touch lives, improve the stature of 
women and serve humankind. Its mission is to develop leaders, expand 
educational and economic opportunity, and ensure that the Sorority is 
fully engaged in the civic life of the nation and each community in 
which it has a chapter.
  Sojourner Truth once said, that ``If women want any rights more than 
[they've] got, why don't they just take them and not be talking about 
it.'' This quote embodies the spirit that the determined women of Alpha 
Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  Alpha Kappa Alpha is home to college presidents, deans, directors of 
Fortune 500 companies, judges, mayors, Members of Congress, state 
legislatures, city councils, and school boards. This sorority has 
provided the foundation for intellectuals such as Sharon Pratt Kelly, 
the first woman to serve as mayor of Washington, D.C.; Angie Brookes, 
the first woman President of the United Nations; the long revered Rosa 
Parks, mother of the Civil Rights Movement; Azie Taylor Morton, the 
only African-American to hold the position of Treasurer of the United 
States; and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
  Alpha Kappa Alpha women have served in the United States Armed 
Services and devoted their lives to saving ours. I salute those women 
today who are active or retired military personnel. They are the 
sheroes that should be emulated by the next generation.
  AKA's have long referred to founder Ethel Hedgeman Lyle as the 
``guiding light,'' a figurative phrase that emphasizes the central 
importance to AKA sisters of aptitude, resilience, unwavering service, 
and valor.
  President George W. Bush, in his address at the 55th Inauguration, 
stated that:

       Our nation relies on men and women who look after a 
     neighbor and surround the lost with love. Americans, at our 
     best, value the life we see in one another, and must always 
     remember that even the unwanted have worth.

  I am honored to commemorate this historic milestone and commemorate 
the 106th anniversary of the coming together of an amazing sisterhood, 
born of the passion for humanitarian service and educational excellence 
of nine extraordinary young women.
  As a member of the Alpha Kappa Omega Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa 
Alpha Sorority in Houston, Texas, I take great pride in the fact that 
the legacy of the founders lives on in the work of the Omega Graduate 
Chapter under the leadership of Marianne Young Walker, Chapter 
President; and Jeanne Cherise Story, Chapter Treasurer.
  Alpha Kappa Omega Chapter located in Houston, Texas is also the home 
chapter of:

[[Page E81]]

The 18th International President, Dr. Mattelia B. Grays; the 21st 
International President, Ms. Faye B. Bryant; the 20th South Central 
Regional Director, Dr. Polly Sparks Turner; and the 23rd South Central 
Regional Director, Mrs. Gwendolyn J. Brinkley.
  Inspired by a dedicated investment of human capital and a bold 
commitment to the principles of basic human rights, the sisters of 
Alpha Kappa Omega Chapter dedicates their talent and resources to the 
betterment of their community and live by this motto: ``Global 
Leadership through Timeless Service.''
  Among the signature program initiatives of Alpha Kappa Omega Chapter 
are the following:
  Emerging Young Leaders Program, which--impact the lives of 10,000 
girls in grades six through eight by providing leadership development, 
civic engagement, enhanced academic preparation and character building.
  Health Initiatives--encourage personal fitness and healthy life 
styles to reduce health disparities, save lives.
  Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability an initiative to 
encourage energy efficiency, conservation, eco-living, reforestation, 
urban gardening, education and empowerment of consumers, and 
opportunities for women owned businesses.
  Global Poverty Initiative, a program to hunger, preserve the 
environment and empower women by providing food production skills and 
training in self-reliance through gifts of seeds, livestock and 
training in environmentally sound agriculture.
  Social Justice and Human Right Initiative, which addresses gender 
equality issues including human trafficking and domestic violence, 
services for children with incarcerated parents, youth aging out of 
foster care and children in homeless shelters.
  Mr. Speaker, I am proud to recognize the extraordinary achievements 
of this extraordinary organization that has been providing leadership 
for our nation for 106 years.