By Special to the Daily World
CHICAGO — Nearly 4,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority — from all over the world — will converge on Atlanta from July 13-17 for its biennial Leadership Conference. Led by International President Attorney Carolyn House Stewart, members will master leadership skills, convene health forums, engage in an outdoor environmental-awareness initiative and host a youth summit. The sorority will also brainstorm strategies on how African Americans can flex their political power as the nation prepares for the 2012 presidential election.
Members will come from all 10 regions, including from as far away as Germany and Japan, for the one-week event. The conference theme is “Leadership & Service: A Timeless Mission.”
Dressed in their signature pink and green, members will also engage in a series of service projects aimed at uplifting the community and showcasing Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority as the premiere global service organization.
One of the sorority’s founders, Marie Woolfolk Taylor resided and is buried in Atlanta. Stewart added that Coretta Scott King, an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, also called Atlanta home. In tribute to these venerable notables, members will make a solemn pilgrimage to their gravesites where they will lay wreaths and pay homage to them.
Stewart revealed that another reason for selecting Atlanta is because it boasts a legacy of producing strong African-American leaders. It is this inspiring environment that propelled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to greatness. She added that Atlanta is also the site of Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, and Morehouse College — three strong Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Each institution, said Stewart, has a powerful tradition of educating African-American leaders, including from among AKA’s membership. Stewart said that one of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s core missions is to create pathways where young people can gain an education and become productive global citizens. The Atlanta colleges provide the educational experience that AKA holds up as prototypes of excellence.
Stewart said that Alpha Kappa Alpha will visit King’s birth home, which has a special significance to the sorority. In 1972, AKA purchased Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home on behalf of the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change. The acquisition was one of the first memorials to Dr. King.
The president, the 18-member board of directors and the 2,500-member/attendees will use the occasion to implement the program initiative Internal Leadership Training for External Service. This initiative affords Alpha Kappa Alpha members leadership training at all levels within the organization. It also serves as a catalyst for members to reach their fullest potential as skilled leaders in