The Story of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in Las Vegas
In the great “Silver State” of Nevada Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is fortunate to have three distinctive chapters: Las Vegas Alumnae, Eta Chi, and Tau Mu. The Las Vegas Alumnae Chapter (LVAC) was the first chapter chartered in Nevada. The chapter was chartered on June 3, 1966 by eleven tenacious young educators and social workers. The eleven charter members of the Las Vegas Alumnae Chapter had the wisdom and foresight to know that there was and would always be a need for black women to be politically aware and involved and serve the African American community. The charter members were Gwendolyn O’Neal Booker, Barbara Williams Curtis, Shirley Anderson Williams Dean, Aquilla S. Williams Guy, LaFonde McGhee, Joanne Woodfork Pughsley, Eva Goins Simmons, Bobbie J. Smith, Dorothy York Taylor, Helen Anderson Toland and Margaret York.
The chapter service area includes the greater Las Vegas area known as Clark County, Nevada encompassing the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Boulder City, Nevada. The LVAC focuses on service and involvement in the community and has created many programs of distinction by participating in and supporting several community initiatives including but not limited to: regular attendance at the Clark County School District (CCSD) school board meetings; participation in the American Cancer Society: Making Strides Against Cancer Walk; membership in the local NAACP; voter registration drives and field registration training; support of and participation in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade;letter writing campaigns and social action luncheons on community issues such as “election reform.” Regardless of the cause, the chapter is always advocating for the needs of the local community.
In 1970 members of the alumnae chapter decided to extend their efforts towards the local University community and on June 24, 1970 the Eta Chi Chapter was established on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). The charter members of this chapter were Savannah Brown, Nira Jean Walker McCoy, Jacqueline Hamilton, Leonette Taylor Brown, Gertrude Woods Toston, Wanda Scott and Patricia George. The Eta Chi Chapter was the first Black fraternal organization on the UNLV campus. Since its inception the chapter established itself as a change agent by implementing signature programs such as the Fitzgerald Project (a history project at a local elementary school), Pay Attention to My Wisdom, Girl Talk and International Awareness and Involvement projects.
For years, the Las Vegas Alumnae and Eta Chi chapters were actively creating change in Southern Nevada. However, Northern Nevada was missing the sorority’s influence until April 30, 2004 when the Tau Mu Chapter was chartered on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).
In the state of Nevada not only are sorors at the forefront of local government, primary through higher education, hospitals and agencies of social change they are also active participants in many collaborative programming efforts and are involved at the Regional and National levels of our Sisterhood. Las Vegas, Nevada is currently the home of 28th Regional Director Soror Sandra Phillips Johnson and was the host chapter of the 24th National Convention and the Regional Conferences in 1971, 1990, and 2011. With growing memberships the three Nevada chapters continue to be visible in civic, academic, religious and political arenas. The members of the Las Vegas Alumnae, Eta Chi and Tau Mu chapters have proven time and time again that they are dedicated to the continued development and implementation of outstanding service projects in the name of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Submitted by Tya R. Mathis
President, Las Vegas Alumnae Chapter
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
For more information about the local chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.: www.lasvegasalumnaedst.org
For information on Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. please visit the National website: http://www.deltasigmatheta.org/