Meet Sigma Pi Zeta Chapter
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Sigma Pi Zeta Chapter of Detroit, Mich. was reactivated on Sept. 9, 2016. The ceremony took place at 8 p.m. at the Edwards Hotel Conference Center and Resort in Dearborn, Mich., under the leadership of then Great Lakes Regional Director Michelle Porter-Norman and Michigan State Director Tonia Jenkins. Sorors from around the state and region served as witnesses. We were officially introduced to the public on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 at the Warren Valley Golf & Banquet Center in Dearborn Heights, Mich.
Sigma Pi Zeta had 20 sorors on its membership roster at the time of reactivation. Four years later, that grew to 45 members by the time of the 2020 Centennial year. We call ourselves the “Renaissance Chapter.”
Our chapter expanded through a combination of transfer and reclaiming sorors, and new members. We view ourself as a vibrant blossoming chapter ready to do the work of Zeta envisioned by our Five Founders and Zeta’s leadership team.
They are: Karen Arnold, Cheryl Austin, Patricia Barnes, Cynthia Bias-Emanuel, Crystal Brown, Latrice Bryant-Howard, Veronica Fuller-Stewart, Deondra Hale-King, Angela Hardison, Jerry Jones-Davis, Jacquelyn La’Nier-Ingram, Brigette Lee, Regina Lewis, Alexandria Marshall, Yolande Moore, Judy Price, Cylestine Monique Smith, Deborah Smith, Lillie Vicks, and Leslie Wilson-Smith
Our leadership team for our chapter’s first two years were: Leslie Wilson-Smith, Basileus; Judy Price, First Anti-Basileus; Latrice Bryant-Howard, Second Anti-Basileus; Yolande Moore, Third Anti-Basileus; Brigette Lee, Tamias; Cynthia Bias-Emanuel, Tamias Grammateus; Angela Hardison, Grammateus; Jacquelyn La’Nier-Ingram, Phylacter; Deondra King, Epistoleus; and Lillie S. Vicks, Chaplain.
Sorors Cheryl Birks, Cheryl McPherson and Yvonne Murray transferred into the chapter in 2016, followed later by Sorors Kim Drew, Dr. Eboni Mathis, Loretta Thomas, Shonna Tyson, Barri Tiggle-Murphy and Naomi Thomas (who transitioned from undergrad). Our reclaiming sorors are Robin Porter-Hopskin, Lontina White-Jones, Kenya James, Diane Hutcherson, Jawana Lawhorn-Crews, Carmen Williams, LaTheresa Jefferson and Yvette Campbell-Thompson.
Our new members are: Boyzella Akins, Sanea Giles, Jessica Harvey, and Vikki Williamson under the Alpha Group; Doreia Bragg-Rogers, Beatrice Jackson, and Tyana Kenner under Beta Group; Imani Thomas under Gamma Group; and Micquana Stanford-Ndiaye and Arielle Wells under Delta Group. Since reactivation, Sorors Robin Porter-Hopskin and Lillie Vicks have been triumphantly removed from the roster.
The chapter hosted a “Community Ties That Bind Reception” that was sponsored by the Cyber Center Community Partners to provide current and future community partners a better understanding of what Zeta Phi Beta does in the community. Through this public introduction, the chapter looked to strengthen current community partnerships and form new ones because of our belief that partnerships are needed to accomplish Zeta’s principles and better serve the community.
Under the Z-HOPE banner (Zetas Helping Other People Excel), Sigma Pi Zeta supports the Adopt-A-School initiative by adopting Beechview Elementary School in Farmington Hills, Mich.; and Way Academy and Cooke Elementary STEM Academy in Detroit. We have donated school supplies, backpacks and winter garments, and provided trophies and breakfast treats for honor students who earn special recognition during “Moments with the Principal Ceremonies.”
We have hosted annual free flu and health clinics with our community partner the Alana Foundation to serve the underinsured and non-insured population with mental health services, eyes and hearing testing, dental cleaning, mammogram screenings and more. The chapter partners with Sara’s House to service single and low-income mothers with babies’ items, nutritional training, financial management and information about domestic violence.
Sigma Pi Zeta has participated in projects to benefit the Lupus Foundation, Making Strives Against Cancer Foundation, the Detroit Rescue Mission (feed the homeless), the Michigan Veterans Foundation, Veteran Women Rock Projects, Wreath Across America Program, Donate Life and MOTTEP Organ Donations, Forgotten Harvest of Southeastern Michigan, Wigs for Cancer Awareness, St. Jude, Get Engaged & Voters Registration Drives and March of Dimes. We have also worked with senior citizens at Brush Park Manor by sponsoring Mother’s Day and Father’s Day outings and Black History brunches.
One memorable service project was former Great Lakes Regional Director Soror Michelle Porter-Norman selecting Sigma Pi Zeta Chapter to be Michigan’s Global Day of Service host chapter for Jan. 16, 2017, which received media attention. Our chapter placed advertisements, hosted a food drive supporting Forgotten Harvest Food Bank, participated in the 2017 MLK Walk in Southfield, Mich., and served food at the Veteran Shelter with the members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, Alpha Alpha Beta Sigma Chapter.
Sigma Pi Zeta spent our first year getting trained and preparing for its youth auxiliaries. The chapter inducted five Pearlettes and five Amicettes in September 2017. In January 2018, these young ladies hosted an Afternoon Tea with some help from their sponsors to Celebrate Our Zeta Pearls. In September 2018, we launched an Archonette Club with three members.
The youth have done many service projects, including providing items like school supplies, toiletries and socks for seniors, women, children and men. They have given holiday cards and toiletries to veterans and served meals to them at a shelter, as well as distributed four Thanksgiving baskets, hosted exercise and dance classes for at-risk children at a shelter, and donated 10 baby bottles to March of Dimes and St. Jude.
We gave our first $1,000 scholarship to the Gwen Jones Scholarship at Temple of Faith Baptist within two weeks of our 2016 reactivation ceremony. To date, the chapter has awarded over $7,400 in scholarships to 10 scholarship recipients. Sigma Pi Zeta has also contributed $800 to Zeta’s national Zeta National Education Fund (Z-NEF).
Five Sigma Pi Zeta members (Leslie Wilson-Smith, Cylestine Monique Smith, Loretta Thomas, Naomi Thomas and Cheryl McPherson) attended the 2020 Centennial Founders’ Weekend Celebration in Washington, D.C. They participated in the Centennial service project while there, visiting Martha Table Community Center to help distribute bundles of warmth (gloves, hats and blankets) to men, women, children and families.
The chapter also commemorated the Sorority’s 100th anniversary by having our name placed on the 2020 Centennial Monument on the Howard University campus. Sorors Cynthia Bias-Emanuel and Angela Hardison are Centennial Circle of Pearl donors. Sorors Cheryl McPherson, Carmen Williams, Leslie Wilson-Smith and Cylestine Monique Smith’s names are on the monument. In honor of Triumphant Sorors Lillie Smart Vick and her sister Mattie Smart-Madison, the chapter petitioned the Vicks’ family to have their names added to the monument.
Soror Angela Hardison served as the Michigan State Organization Centennial Chair, where she and her team hosted a Saturday Night Gala focusing on community service and scholarships.
Under the community service focus, people were to make monetary donations to the Rhonda Walker Foundation (Walker is a TV personality and founder of the Rhonda Walker Foundation for Girls), St. Jude Foundation and March of Dimes. Our chapter also contributed.
The MSO Centennial Scholarship Committee was chaired by Chapter Basileus Leslie Wilson-Smith. It awarded two scholarships totaling $4,400. Soror Elayashia Kendall was the winner of the $2,200 Graduate Scholarship Award and Soror Keiera Parkman was the winner of the $2,200 Undergraduate Scholarship.
Sigma Pi Zeta has three Diamond Life Members: Cynthia Bia-Emanuel, Angela Hardison and Leslie Wilson-Smith.
Two sets of Zeta Mother-Daughter Legacies are in the chapter: Leslie Wilson-Smith and Cylestine Monique Smith; and Loretta Thomas-Walker and Naomi Thomas. Both daughter legacies transitioned from undergraduate chapters into Sigma Pi Zeta. Cylestine not only joined Sigma Pi Zeta after graduating from college, she is also one of the 20 reactivating members.
Sigma Pi Zeta has one Dove, Soror Patricia Barnes, who has 52 years of Zeta membership.
Sigma Pi Zeta received a Detroit City Council Testimonial Resolution from Councilman James Tate II for doing extensive community service, as well as a community service award from the Global Alliance Collaborative Group. The chapter has also earned numerous Z-HOPE awards in our chapter-size category from the Sorority.
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.