Carolyn House Stewart Installed as International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Carolyn_house_stewart ST. LOUIS, MO — Carolyn House Stewart of Tampa, Florida was sworn in as the 28th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority during the Sorority's weeklong convention that was held in St. Louis. In ascending to the international presidency, she becomes the first lawyer to head the organization. She also makes history as the first president to serve a full term in the Sorority's second century.

As international president Mrs. Stewart will serve a four-year term from 2010-2014. She will guide policy, develop programs and set the leadership tone for Alpha Kappa Alpha, which was founded in 1908 at Howard University and is the largest and oldest organization of primarily African-American college-educated women in the world. Today, it boasts a diverse membership of 260,000 college-educated members in 975 chapters in the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, Germany, Korea, Japan and on the continent of Africa.

Attorney Stewart's ascension to Alpha Kappa Alpha's chief leadership position caps a 38-year record of commitment and service to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority that began when she was initiated at the University of South Florida. On the national arena, she also served as Chairman of the Sorority's Program Committee, International Secretary and First Vice President.

Mrs. Stewart, who has enjoyed a 32-year career as an attorney, is a shareholder in the law firm of Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen, one of Florida's oldest law firms. She received her juris doctor degree from the University of South Carolina Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida.

Under her administration, Alpha Kappa Alpha will launch a comprehensive program that will continue the Sorority's 102-year legacy of "providing service to all mankind."

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is the oldest and first Greek-letter organization founded by Black women and one of the world's leading service organizations. The Sorority's mission to "serve all mankind," is achieved through a comprehensive array of programs and advocacy initiatives. Its membership includes Dr. Mae C. Jemison, Alicia Keys, Eleanor Roosevelt, the late Coretta Scott King, the late Rosa Parks a host of political leaders and other luminaries.

For more information, log on to www.aka1908.com.

Alpha Kappa Alpha to Host Historic Global Walk on June 28

Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) - On June 28, over 50,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will link arms in a synchronized ESP 1908 Global Centennial Walk to raise awareness about the importance of fitness. Stepping off at the same time, worldwide, the members will send a strong statement about the importance of Emotional, Spiritual and Physical health.

Esp_pink_green Leading the walk will be International President Barbara A. McKinzie, who will be joined by 50,000 members from nearly 1,000 chapters, as well as friends and families who recognize the significance of making one's health a priority.

Those participating include members from every region, as well as from Canada, Germany, the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. The walk is being coordinated by AKA's International Program Committee, chaired by Loann Honesty King. In planning the in-sync walk, King declared that the walk is full of symbolism that revolves around the Sorority's Centennial.

"To commemorate the Sorority's founding year--1908--the contingent will walk a symbolic 1908 steps, which is approximately two miles," King said.

In setting to this historic walk, participants will all face in the direction of Washington, DC, where Alpha Kappa Alpha's Centennial convention takes place, July 11-18. After completing the two-mile walk, members will meet again at the Sorority's biennial convention on Sunday, July 13 in Washington. There, in another show of solidarity, members will walk 1908 steps to the Washington Convention Center. At the culmination of this event, President McKinzie will lead members into the Center and the historic Centennial convention will officially begin.

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Chicago, Illinois – May 23, 2008 - Barbara A. McKinzie, Alpha Kappa Alpha's international president, expressed indignation and outrage over the Tennessee Republican Party running a smear campaign against Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. McKinzie denounced the transparent mindset that triggered the decision by the Tennessee GOP to design such an ad. She said it is the basis of an ugly underpinning that is being echoed in established racist Internet chat rooms, within the right-leaning blogosphere and among some conservative pundits. To make Michelle Obama a target of a potentially hate inspired offensive is something that she—and the 200,000 primarily African-American female members she leads—will not tolerate.


"The impulse to take a statement of hers out of context and make it a focus of an unpatriotic ad is to trivialize her and to attempt to devalue her," said McKinzie. "This is unacceptable!"


She said the ad appeals to the subconscious racial fears of a sliver of Americans who remain unaware of progress. "This intransigent posture," said McKinzie, "defies the American ideal of democracy and fairness, the bedrock of the Constitution."


McKinzie said at a time when the economy should be the issue around which Americans should unite, using a fringe element to stoke racial fears is a temporary distraction.


Emphasizing that point, McKinzie said, "The fragile state of America's economic psyche threatens the viability of this nation. Alpha Kappa Alpha has made economics a major focus through the ESP program that is the theme of this administration. Putting America's psyche on a strong financial global footing needs to be front and center on everyone's mind—not polarizing messages that fan the flames of historical racial prejudice. We must snuff out the embers of racial fear that the ad attempts to ignite," declared McKinzie.


In lambasting the ad, McKinzie took a cue from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who acknowledged that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because of a national "birth defect" that denied black Americans the opportunities given to whites at the country's very founding. "This ad," stressed McKinzie, "is nothing less than a very public display of America's 'birth defect.'"


"Given the historical challenges facing American women, the resolve should be to improve the stature of American women rather than to denigrate them," declared McKinzie.


She challenged all fair-thinking citizens—including President George W. Bush, Senator Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State Rice—to join Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in denouncing the ad and the climate of intolerance that prompted its creation.


She said she would galvanize members and wage a counteroffensive by speaking out, writing letters, issuing statements and signaling that these types of acts will trigger a solidarity that will combat offensive messages.


McKinzie said she also sees a dangerous trend emerging if this type of offensive behavior is not checked.


"The very real possibility of having an African-American woman as First Lady of this nation underscores progress that a small number of America's citizens continue to ignore. Yet, they have a voice that should be heard when it is tempered with truth, not transmitted through offensive sound bites."


Continued McKinzie, "Having a party organization use Michelle Obama as a target appeals to a bygone era that blemished America's reputation and global stature. This type of ad could pose a real threat to the safety of the candidate's wife given America's historic behavior. It demands action from the president on down."


Declared McKinzie, "As the head of one of the leading organizations for African-American women, I am compelled to speak out when injustice is so blatant. During our Centennial Convention from July 11-18, we will address this matter. Clearly this ad—and the ugliness that is bubbling under the surface of it—mandate action and we are poised to respond."




Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is America's first Greek-letter organization founded in 1908 by, and for, African-American college women. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, it is one of the world's leading service organizations. The Sorority's members have made a commitment "to serve all mankind" through a nucleus of more than 200,000 women in over 975 chapters in the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, Germany, Korea, Japan and in the continent of Africa. Barbara A. McKinzie is the 27th International President. Because her term coincides with the 100-year anniversary, she is being hailed as the "Centennial National President." McKinzie's administration is marked by the theme: ESP, which stands for Economics, Service and Partnerships. For more information, log on to www.aka1908.com. For an archive of press releases, visit the online pressroom at http://aka1908.com/site/pressroom/

Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrates 100 years

100 years ago today, nine black female students met in Miner Hall on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC. Of that meeting, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was born. The organization's colors: salmon pink and apple green and its motto: "By culture and merit". Since that day, the organization has grown to approximately 200,000 members. I am honored to be one of those 200,000 members.

Do take a look at highlights of the organization's past by visiting the Centennial Celebration Web site, an online commemoration of the courageous achievements of a dynamic group of women. The site also includes wonderful resources that frame the sorority's accomplishments in light of the changing times in the world.

The organization's membership remains predominantly black but is comprised of women of various ethnicities. Click here for a video presentation of this organization's remarkable history.

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