Zeta Phi Beta Walking In Greatness

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The Men of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity stand with their sisters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. at the 35th Annual Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. state meeting. From left to right: Front row ladies: Zakkiyyah Nazeeh, Shamar L. Wilson and Desiree St. Louis. Back Row: Cedrick A. Soso, Derek Downs, Tony Tillmann, David Betts, Charles Brewer, Kedric Nalls, Jamal Mohamed, Graig Brooks. Photo By Carla Thomas.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. held their 35th Annual California State Meeting in Walnut Creek at the Marriott Hotel. Themed “Walking in Greatness,” the event’s tagline stated; “One Zeta…The Mission is Possible.”

The opening reception was hosted by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Hayward Chapter, Iota Delta Zeta. Wearing their traditional sorority colors of royal blue and white, hundreds of women came together under the leadership of Pacific Regional Director Zakkiyyah Nazeeh, Northern California State Director Desiree St. Louis and Southern California State Director Shamar L. Walker.

Poet Ciera Gordon performed and Pro Tem Mayor of Walnut Creek Loella Haskew provided a civic proclamation. Additional participants included the Youth Auxilaries, the National Pan Hellenic Council and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Two scholarships were presented to students with 4.0 GPAs.

St. Louis said the annual meeting gives members of California the opportunity to ensure that Zetas of the region continue to enhance their services, fundraising and “hold true to our finer womanhood.”

St. Louis, one of the organization’s youngest state directors has been a member of Zeta for 16 years, serving as president of graduate chapter Delta Delta Zeta for four consecutive years in San Francisco. “If you want to serve the community, be encouraged and find sisterhood while bringing your expertise in management or community service, those are some of the qualities we are looking for in Zeta.” St. Louis quoted Michelle Obama saying “There is no limit to what we can accomplish as women.”’

The weekend meeting also featured The Speak and Release Experience with Holistic Therapist, Syreeta Butler, MFT and Author/Child Advocate Tonya McKenzie. By sharing tools of empowerment Butler discussed the psychology of overcoming trauma while McKenzie provided a scenario of being a survivor of childhood trauma.

In line with the popular saying “Hurt people hurt people,” the two speakers spoke of the importance of healing in order to live a full life internally and externally. In partnership with the sorority, McKenzie and Butler announced that healing circles and safe spaces will be offered in communities. “When you operate in the world with unaddressed trauma it limits your capacity in life,” said McKenzie.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., will also launch an Autism Awareness campaign in the spring. “Black and brown children often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed,” she said. “We aim to change the statistics and generate more awareness,” said Monika L. Brooks, Autism Awareness Coordinator of Zeta Phi Beta’s Pacific Region.

In 2020, the sorority will commemorate 100 years with a centennial celebration in Washington, D.C.

Walker and Nazeeh spoke of the organization’s sisterhood and legacy.

“Zeta has been a great personal experience for me for over 20 years,” said Walker. “When I first joined the sorority I surrounded myself with like-minded people who mentored me and shared their experiences. I have a strong sisterhood of lifetime friends who have supported me through ups and downs.”

“Zeta has been the best thing I could have done,” said Nazeeh. “I have a compassion for service and sisterhood and I love that I can go anywhere in the world and find a sister who will take care of me like someone who has known me all my life.”

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