Meet Pi Gamma Zeta Chapter
Pi Gamma Zeta was chartered on Jan. 31, 1995 in Southfield, Mich. by the following five women: Sorors Angela Jeter, Jacqueline Nelson, Dr. Marilyn Pearson, Evelyn Oliver and Ursula Taylor-Allen. Mayor Donald F. Fracassi and Michigan Sen. Carl Levin welcomed them.
The chartering reception was held on March 19, 1995 at Hope United Methodist Church with Past International Grand Basileus Edith V. Francis and Michigan State Director Mary Gray in attendance.
The chapter was recognized by Southfield City Councilman Sidney Lantz, Oakland County Commissioner 20th District Lawrence Pernick, Oakland County Commissioner 21st District Nancy Quarles, and 46th District Court Judge Susan Moiseev.
Although the chapter was small, the work of Zeta continued. Four years later, we inducted 13 students into the Archonette teen auxiliary group.
After becoming inactive a few years later, the Zeta zest did not remain dormant. In November of 2014, the chapter was reactivated by six women: Carmen Blessett, Tiana Brown, DeQuanda L. Carson, Dr. Theresa Johnson, Vershaun Jones and Erika Lewis.
On May 31, 2016, two ladies were welcomed to this Great Sorority: Bethany (Stokes) Jackson and Nikita Hopkins were the first to be initiated into Pi Gamma Zeta Chapter since the “rejuvenation” of the chapter.
In the 2016-2018 sororal year, the chapter began to grow by participating in the National Campaign “Come Home to Zeta” Program. We reclaimed Sorors Rashonda Dawson, Lakeitha Delbridge, Renee Bellamy, Shawnda Bryant, Jo’Lenna Doggett, Chriscanthia Foster-Jones, Tisha Grant, Aja Gore, La’Trell McNairy, Bunmi Parks, Lesley Penn and Gwendolyn Williams. We also had sorors transfer into the chapter, and they are Sorors Kawana Baldwin, Sharon Murphy, Trycennia Dean Motley, Tayneata Starr and Regina McMullen.
The chapter reclaimed seven sorors during the 2019-2020 sororal year: Sorors Urusal Allan (charter member), Jabette Boyd, Jackie Wilson, Tasha Gore, Shannon Thomison, Jennifer Lewis, Machele Finley and Carita Davis.
Currently, our chapter is thriving as we inducted seven new members on Jan. 9, 1920. They are Sorors Brittany Mackie, De’Asia Cole, Gabrielle Coner, Lisa Maximore, Theresa Sommerville, Angela Franklin and Torlisa Wright.
Pi Gamma Zeta has been very active in the Southfield community during its lifespan as a chapter. We have donated to the Michigan chapter of Volunteers of America. During Black History Month, we provided an annual youth workshop featuring Black Jeopardy. Pi Gamma Zeta has adopted the Lahser Nursing Home and Crescent Academy School to offer more services to the Southfield area.
The chapter has given over 100 backpacks for the students in the city of Southfield at the annual Back-to-School bash. The chapter has provided community service to other agencies, programs and projects based on their needs. While the chapter has worked alone, we have collaborated with other great chapters in the area to have an even more significant impact.
Other service projects have included the annual Sock and Blanket Drive, the Stork’s Nest Program in partnership Charity Assembly #38 Order of the Golden Circle, and the March of Dimes coin collection for the Prematurity Awareness Program with Capstone Chapter #29 Order of the Eastern Stars, PHA. We have collaborated with Zeta Nu Zeta Chapter of Inkster, Mich. in the Michigan State Organization Z-HOPE programs (Zetas Helping Other People Excel).
In 2017, Pi Gamma Zeta hosted a STEM event catered to young girls of color to help spread information about these male-dominated fields.
In June of 2019, the chapter hosted our second annual family-friendly skating party for the community, as well as a Halloween party to raise money for our scholarship fund. We also reached out to the community to find out its needs.
The chapter wanted to do something special for the Sorority’s Centennial in 2020, so we facilitated a donation drive and Black History presentation at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Southfield. We donated over 300 items to the church’s food pantry and have built a new relationship in the community of Southfield.
Our Centennial officers are: Basileus Trycennia Dean-Motley, First Anti-Basileus Lesley Penn, Second Anti-Basileus Jacqueline Wilson, Third Anti-Basileus Aja Gore, Grammateus Bunmi Parks, Corresponding Grammateus Dr. Sharon Murphy, Tamias Tayneata Starr, Tamias Grammateus DeQuanda L. Carson and Phlaycter Felicia Smith.
Local and Regional Recognition
On April 23, 2015, the chapter was recognized for its 20 years as a trailblazing chapter in the Great Lakes Region. In that same year, Pi Gamma Zeta participated in the March of Dimes walk and gave blankets and socks to the needy as part of our Z-HOPE initiative, for which we received first place for Z-HOPE in our chapter-size category.
The chapter hosted the Michigan State Organization’s Founders’ Day Luncheon on Jan. 16, 2016.
Pi Gamma Zeta hosted the Finer Womanhood Brunch in May 2017 and presented two scholarships to graduating high school seniors. We honored our fraternity brother, Mr. Damian Perry, for his outstanding work in the community. We are also active participants in the Southfield MLK task force and have been for the past few years. We also participate in the MLK Walk that happens in Southfield.
On May 20, 2017, Pi Gamma Zeta awarded two scholarships and honored three women in the Southfield community during our Finer Womanhood Brunch. Soror Alana Purnell was honored for her outstanding professional achievement in education. Megan Penne was honored for her outstanding leadership and dedication to community engagement, working with young adults aging out of foster care system. Jameria Caldwell was honored for outstanding leadership and commitment to public service in the field of law enforcement.
Undergraduate Chapter – Theta Phi
On March 10, 2018, Pi Gamma Zeta began sponsoring the Theta Phi undergraduate chapter based at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. The charter members are: Kaylin Foster, Aminah Muhammad, Octavia Edwards, Sasha Freeman and Camille Rice. In April of 2019, two graduating seniors received a scholarship from our chapter in honor of Mary Harriet Reid Gray. Our undergraduate chapter brought an intake class of two: Alexis Currie and Jasmine Sizemore.
Our Centennial Basileus Trycennia Dean-Motley is the only Life and Diamond Life member at this time.
Note: This is part of the Michigan State Organization’s online series "The MSO Great History Countdown! Our Centennial Journey to State Meeting" to leave a lasting gift to the state in honor of Zeta’s 100th anniversary. Histories from every graduate and undergraduate chapter in Michigan is being published in the month of September 2020 in the days leading up to the centennial state meeting. The project was approved under State Director Lynese Thomas’ administration, and overseen by MSO Epistoleus Earlene McMichael in partnership with MSO Historian Trudy Hale and Great Lakes Region Historian Norma Dartis.