More than 1,000 women from national service sorority coming to Jacksonville for regional conference

More than 1,000 women from one of the oldest Black sororities in the world will come to downtown Jacksonville this weekend for an event that organizers and city leaders say will benefit the community.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated’s 2024 Florida and Bahamas cluster is a regional conference where members get together for professional development.

The organization selects different cities for the cluster every year.

The 2024 Delta Sigma Theta Florida and Bahamas Cluster helps members learn and grow professionally through networking and community service.

“Well, why not Jacksonville? Jacksonville is the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. We’re the home of major African American colleges such as Edward Waters College. We have a lot to offer, and we’re the home of the award-winning Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter of 430 members who provide service this community each and every day,” President of DST Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter Christina D. Stallings, said.

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Coordinators said the cluster will focus on the pillars the sorority stands for, which includes helping the community.

They also plan to help younger members trying to enter the workforce by providing donated professional clothing to what’s called “The Collegiate Closet.”

“It means so much to me because we have the opportunity to give back to our communities not only through service, but financially through scholarships,” North Florida State Coordinator Laurette Scott said.

The three-day event will be held at the Hyatt Regency, and coordinators said members are ready to experience all that Jacksonville has to offer.

“We prepare our members before they even get to Jacksonville or any city that they visit. We let them know what businesses are in the area. Of course, we are supporting the tourism in the area,” South Florida Coordinator Taylor McCain said.

Councilman Rahman Johnson said the cluster’s economic impact will be felt throughout the city of Jacksonville.

“Whether it’s a book readout or going in to ensure that they’re spending their dollars in restaurants with people in the community who some may consider underserved, those are the things that build Jacksonville, so we’re really excited to have the Deltas here,” Johnson said.

He also recently announced a $10,000 contribution to the organization which will go towards youth programs.

“While it’s only $10,000 now, it’s something that is going to reverberate and the Deltas are already doing the work. I put the appropriation in, and they haven’t even received the dollars yet, and they’re already putting those programs to work,” Johnson said.

Organizers hope their presence will help the community better understand the work Delta Sigma Theta does on a daily basis.

“As an organization, we believe in giving back. Giving back to the community in which we live to make it better than what it’s been before we arrived,” Stallings said.

The Cluster begins Thursday night and Mayor Deegan along with Councilman Johnson will be there to give opening remarks.

The Deltas are also partnering with the nonprofit My Village Project for Florida’s “Celebrate Literacy Week.”

Through that, members will read to children at different schools in Duval County to encourage families to make reading part of their daily routines.

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