By Priscilla Chatman, Xi Omega’s EYL Co chair
On Saturday, November 17th Xi Omega Chapter’s Emerging Young Leaders (EYL) went on an African American history tour of Washington, DC. EYL co chairs, Sorors Priscilla Chatman, Vivian Smith and Nancy Chavannes-Battle arranged for their 28 amazing EYLs to go on this educational, fun filled tour under the EYL Education and Civic Leadership Akademies.
The tour started at Cedar Hill, the Fredrick Douglass Home or more appropriately, the mansion which is now managed by the National Park Service. Many of the EYL girls had heard of Fredrick Douglass, but were pleasantly surprised to see that even as a former slave, he lived in a grand elegant home, having amassed a fortune within his lifetime. The girls were very engaged and asked the Park Rangers many questions.
The EYLs then boarded a chartered bus and traveled to the Bethune Cookman statue in Washington, DC’s Lincoln Park. The EYLs walked around the stature reading Bethune's Last Will and Testament inscribed there as Soror Vivian Smith shared Cookman’s accomplishments and how Dorothy Height was responsible for the statue.
The EYL girls were amazed when Soror Vivian Smith shared that Ms. Height had President Lincoln's statue turned around so that his back would not be to Ms. Bethune Cookman. The girls were so proud to learn an African American woman had that kind of power and that she honored a historic African American woman. The next stop was the National Council of Negro Women’s offices on the majestic Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington. This is the only building on Pennsylvania Avenue owned by African American women. Each newly elected president of the United States must march pass this building during the inaugural parade.
After visiting many other sites, the tour ended at the Martin Luther King Jr. Stone of Hope. Wearing our pink EYL polo shirts, the 28 girls and the sorors attracted much attention from the assembled crowds. Someone even asked what type of AKA event was this. That gave us the opportunity to share with him the purpose of the EYL program. The day ended by celebrating Martin Luther King’s mission and that of the AKA, “Service to all mankind.” The EYLs donated 50 non perishable food items for Thanksgiving baskets. This educational, inspirational day was made possible by the participation of hard working sorors: Lori Pemberton, Deborah Allen-Golden, Dana Foney, Sharain Brown Le-Marie Thompson, Yvette Mabrey, Eloise Foster and Frances Bush.