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Richland County Alumnae Presents

Issue 2

JANUARY - JUNE 2021

Black Women & Girls Conference 2021 Scholarship Recipients Founders Day Community Outreach Red Diamond Gala

Table of Contents Message from the President..................2 Chapter Officers......................................3 Inspirational Moment............................4 Arts & Letters "Master Class"................5 Soror Spotlight........................................6 Black Women and Girls Conference.....9

Founders Day Outreach.......................10 Physical & Mental Health................... 11 Our Voice...............................................12 Committee Corner................................13 2021 Scholarship Recipients...............17 Beyond RCA...........................................20 Upcoming Event....................................21


A Message from the President ZeNata Donaldson

Closing the Book on Our 2020-2021 Sorority Year! During the past six months, the Richland County Alumnae Chapter has continued to be a vital resource to our communities while navigating these challenging times. In keeping with the old adage, “we never missed a beat,” RCA hosted virtual programs that highlighted societal issues like caregiver support, human trafficking, and COVID19. We also celebrated our youth during our Scholarship and May Week program and did not cease from shedding light on matters of injustice. In addition, we were able to raise funds by hosting an extravagant virtual gala that allowed us and the community we serve to "party with a purpose." We, as members of this amazing chapter, were determined to give hope to others, provide awareness for the unknown and advocate for a better tomorrow. Now, as we prepare for the 2021-2022 sorority year, we will continue to build on our foundation of serving others, supporting academic excellence, and being a part of this GREAT sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. In closing, I am forever grateful to serve as President, and RCA will continue to serve and empower our community!

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Chapter Officers Lavell Thornton First Vice President The past year has been one for the record books. Despite a global pandemic, police violence, gun violence, political unrest, and economic uncertainty, Richland County Alumnae has not only survived but 'thrived.' We have demonstrated dedication, fortitude, resilience, and great teamwork. Our programs and events have addressed the cultural, financial, educational, spiritual, physical, mental health, and social action needs of our members and communities. Committees made the technological adjustments and stepped up in so many creative ways. Our sisterhood is strong, as evidenced by our programmatic and fundraising successes in 2021. As we wind down the sorority year, it is my hope that we take the time to reflect, relax and rejuvenate. We are still blessed and highly favored. It is my pleasure serving as the First Vice President, and I look forward to the upcoming post pandemic sorority year. Thank you for keeping the JOY in our sisterhood and the communities we serve.

Cynthia Bennett Second Vice President As I look back over our Sorority year, I can only say, “we made it through with God on our side.” 2020 –2021 is a Sorority year we will all remember – a pandemic, the heightened awareness of social injustice in America, and a call for healing and understanding. For Richland County Alumnae, it was a year of adjusting, doing things differently, but most of all the increased awareness of what sisterhood really means while giving back to our community. Sisterhood is defined as the state of being as sister, sisterly relationship, a society of women in a sorority or organization or the solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences, or concerns. RCA covers all of that and then some. We support each other by being there when needed. We fellowship together, creating a special bond, and on and on it goes - 74 new sisters, new nieces and nephews, and a new love for our Sorority. We engaged in community support through forums, supply donations, and programs to support young girls. Finally, we capped it all off by awarding scholarships to deserving students. Simply put, we just did the work, even during a pandemic!

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An Inspirational Moment

a s i g e i f ft. i L Thank You for My Life A courteous woman can often be heard saying the words, “thank you.” Mostly, we are saying thank you for gifts, the completion of a service, or for some other act of kindness. Even when we thank God we are typically doing so because we are in receipt of something. Truly we should be grateful for all things that we receive, especially from God. His loving kindness gives a multitude of blessings that can overwhelm us. As a reflection of the past year which can effectively be described as turbulent; I ask that we take a moment to say thank you for our lives. The gift of life is the ultimate act of kindness that our loving Father extends to us. There are aspects of our lives that we are working to improve or that we wish were different. However, every day that we awake, on this side of heaven, is another opportunity to be thankful. Sometimes we may not feel like celebrating life. During times of loss, grief, depression, and confusion, we may not feel thankful. However, even during the most difficult times in our lives, one of our sorors will remind us of God’s word. Perhaps, Deuteronomy 31:6 will encourage us, “6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Maybe, Psalm 139:13-14 will serve as a reminder of our purposeful creation, “For you created my inmost being you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” Possibly, Isaiah 40:31 will renew our hope, 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. As we count our blessings, we should ensure that we do not take lightly the life that we are given. Please repeat this short prayer: “Dear God, Thank You for My Life. Amen.” 4


Arts & Letters Master Class Master Class:``Writing Our Wrongs: A Reminder of How Good it is to be Black” On Saturday, February 20, 2021, the Arts and Letters Committee hosted its first Master Class workshop entitled ``Writing Our Wrongs: A Reminder of How Good it is to be Black.” The two-hour interactive workshop, led by poet and author Tiffany Riggs was an exploration and learning of the arts through the eyes of African Americans and minorities. A total of 83 participants attended the virtual workshop conducted via Zoom. They embarked upon a creative writing journey positively affirming how good it is to be black. Workshop participants created word art, and they wrote Haikus, a type of short-form poetry originally from Japan. The afternoon culminated with all participants performing a “round-robin” flowing poem. Everyone who participated in the Master Class received a digital certificate of participation, a copy of the word art creation, and a commemorative journal and pen set. The Arts and Letters committee plans to continue offering future Master Class workshops spotlighting the artistic expressions of RCA members, African Americans, and minorities in our community.

“This was an awesome class and I enjoyed the dialogue between our instructor and the participants.” ~Master Class Workshop Participant

“The music, instructor, and the lessons were all great. They all aligned with the theme and helped us learn and grow. The lessons shared are immediately applicable. This Master Class was so impactful; truly life-changing. Thank You!” ~Master Class Workshop Participant “I ENJOYED the Master Class. At this time, I am struggling with my teenage daughter. This class allowed me to recognize that THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Continue to write out my feelings and give myself the grace to keep pushing.”~Master Class Workshop Participant

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Soror Spotlight Shining a Light on the Accomplishments of RCA Members

Tracey Mobley Chavous

Tracey Mobley Chavous was named University 101 Program Coordinator at the University of South Carolina Lancaster. University 101 helps students successfully transition into college. Tracey will be responsible for coordinating sections, recruiting and developing instructors, sharing the course benefits with advisors, and be the liaison with UNIV 101 Programs on the Columbia campus. Tracey is currently employed as the Director of Human Resources at the University of South Carolina Lancaster.

Kendra Dove was recently celebrated as a graduate of the Emerge South Carolina 2021 Signature Class. Emerge South Carolina is an organization that inspires and supports women to run for public office and hone in on the necessary skills to win. The goal of this organization is to increase the number of Democratic women in all levels of public office throughout South Carolina.

Kendra Dove 6


Soror Spotlight Shining a Light on the Accomplishments of RCA Members

Congratulations to Tiffany W. Freeman, who was recently named to Columbia Business Monthly’s 50 Most Influential List! Freeman is the Senior Public Counsel for Government Affairs at BlueCross BlueShield of S.C. Additionally, Freeman was named by Gov. Henry McMaster to the 29-person advisory panel known as AccelerateSC in April 2020. Their task was to address the havoc caused by the pandemic and generate solutions for South Carolina’s economy.

Tiffany Freeman

Rosalyn Glenn was recognized by Essence Magazine in a feature titled “The Black Women Behind the Biden-Harris Campaign.” She, along with 18 other Black women, was highlighted for working on the frontlines and “fighting for the soul of this country every single day” to elect President Biden and VicePresident Harris. Glenn served as the South Carolina Director for the Biden-Harris campaign.

Rosalyn Glenn 7


Soror Spotlight Shining a Light on the Accomplishments of RCA Members

Dr. Shaneè Moore became the Child Welfare Training Director for the South Carolina Department of Social Services in February 2021. In that same month, she was also recognized and honored as Employee of the Month. Dr. Moore is an adjunct professor at Benedict College and Philander Smith College.

Dr. Shanee Moore

Rhonda Banks Thompson was recently re-elected to serve a second term as Secretary Treasurer of the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA), a national organization. Rhonda is the Chief of the Bureau of Air Quality at SCDHEC and a registered Professional Engineer. She is a charter member of Richland County Alumnae.

Rhonda Thompson 8


Black Women and Girls Conference

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the Richland County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. hosted the annual Black Women and Girls’ Conference on March 20, 2021 (via Zoom). This year’s powerful theme: Ready, Set, Go! Accelerating Black Women and Girls into Empowerment & Awareness was built on the foundation of our RCA Mission, “College Educated Women: A Sisterhood Answering the Call to Serve: Transforming Lives and Impacting Communities.” Our mission became the key to serving our well-qualified audience. We proudly invested in our conference and provided Black women and girls an opportunity to participate on Zoom. Through personal and intimate sessions, our Panelists, Keynote Speaker, and Breakout Presenters did what we asked, and thoroughly presented to our audience: Virtues of leadership, empowerment, and awareness, with the goal of their becoming increasingly self-aware, politically conscious, and physically and mentally healthy, and inspired. The discussions helped to boost overall engagement. Upon reflection, many amazing points shared by our panelists, spoke volumes within the spirit of our audience, as acknowledged in chats and posts: the love of God, the need to love ourselves more, and the need to grow through continuing education. In appreciation for conference planning and support, we thank Zenata Donaldson, President of our RCA Chapter; Panelists, Dr. Cheryl Cummings, Emma Rush, MSW, and Alexis W. Scurry, MSW; and 16- year- old Keynote speaker, Eliana Pinckney, an awesome change-maker, and leader whose words resonated with our audience, as she firmly insisted, “Be the change in the world you want to see.” Young Eliana noted that she- is- just- that- person, as she highly touted “self-value.” In total gratefulness, we also thank The Black Women and Girls Conference Committee; Presenters in Break-out sessions 1 and 11; Members of the Information Communication Technology Committee, Sponsors, Partners, and all who helped to make the Black Women and Girls Conference of 2021, an absolute success, and more to come!

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Founders Day Outreach Activities As part of the Sorority’s 108th Founding celebration, the Founders Day Committee of Richland County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated conducted a community service outreach activity in support of two agencies located in Newberry County. This was an event that was originally scheduled for last year, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, unforeseen closings, and safety reasons, the event was postponed. Almost one year later, with COVID-19 protocols and social distancing in place, on Saturday, January 23, 2021, a drive-by event was held to collect donations for GLEAMNS Head Start and Boy’s Farm. The donations included various school supplies, paper products, canned goods, toiletries, and household items. Very soon into the donations drive-by, we realized that chapter members had far exceeded answering the call to support our community. We had a caravan of trucks, trailers, and cars loaded with donations that needed to be sorted and stored until it was time for our scheduled delivery to the agencies. Because of the sheer volume of items and the distance we had to travel for delivery in Newberry, the committee rented a U-Haul truck. All hands were on deck for the “packing” event, which took place on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. The scheduled delivery date was set for Thursday, February 18, 2021. It was a cold and rainy morning, but it did not deter the dynamic Deltas of RCA from carrying out the mission of supporting our community through our service efforts. The items were delivered to both agencies. The representatives for the agencies were overwhelmed, and they appreciated the amount of donations the chapter collected and delivered; they thanked us over and over again for our efforts and assistance. This community service outreach event was a labor of love, but it was also a huge undertaking that could not have been accomplished without the commitment and dedication of the Founders Day Committee, the generosity and thoughtfulness of the RCA chapter members and our volunteers, as well as the “joy in our sisterhood” and the “service in our hearts!” COVID-19 could not stop us, and the weather could not stop us because of the Delta Love within us!

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Physical & Mental Health Programs Food for Thought - Fuel for the Heart During the month of February, Richland County Alumnae Chapter’s Physical and Mental Health Committee celebrated seven days of Black love and promoted heart health awareness. In the United States, one person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease, and the fact that Brokenhearted Syndrome is a real phenomenon, especially during COVID, the committee designed a family-oriented nutrition challenge with a twist. Each day, chapter members and social media followers were encouraged to prepare and post a meal according to the following instructions: #RCAMeatlessMonday - prepare a full meal without meat #RCATryItTuesday - prepare a meal with the main ingredient you wouldn’t normally eat #RCAWingItWednesday - prepare a healthy meal without direction #RCAThirstyThursday - prepare a smoothie or clean juice as a meal replacement #RCAFriedlessFriday - prepare a meal without using grease or frying #RCASauteSaturday - prepare a meal using the saute cooking method #RCASubstituteSunday - replace your meat, sweeteners, starches, and/or binding ingredients for a healthier option. A special thanks to everyone who participated in the challenge and RCA member Janay Price for spearheading the initiative. Our celebration of Black love and healthy hearts is not confined to the month of February, it continues. We invite everyone to continue to sharing heart-healthy recipes with us on social media. We all win by taking care of ourselves and others. Don’t forget, you can’t beat a healthy heart!

Courageous Conversations: Black Women & the COVID-19 Impact Although the COVID-19 pandemic shifted our daily grammar to include words like pivot, unprecedented, social distancing, e-Learning, and colloquialisms like “the Rona,” candid collective conversations about the effects of the pandemic and the path forward were, and in some cases, are difficult conversations. The Physical and Mental Health Committee hosted a community event facilitated by Jada Hubbard to talk about COVID-19 and the impact the pandemic has had on the health of black women and the roles they play as caregivers, mothers, and medical professionals. invited physical and mental health providers from our community. During the first half of the discussion, Dr. Kari-Claudia Allen a board-certified family medicine physician and CEO of Envision wellness organization broke down the science of the vaccine and dispelled some of the myths and fears surrounding getting vaccinated. Licensed clinical social worker, Shayla Peterson who is also the founder of Ctrl +Shift+ Balance Wellness spoke to black women’s mental health and provided practical tools and resources to help black women navigate while working and striving during the pandemic. The Physical and Mental Health Committee encourages everyone to continue to practice good hand washing hygiene, practice social distancing, and wear masks where appropriate. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.cdc.gov.

Midlands March for Babies Walk Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a charitable partner of March of Dimes. Richland County Alumnae supported Delta’s national initiative by participating in the local Midlands March for Babies on April 30, 2021, at Segra Park located near downtown Columbia, SC. The annual fundraising event shines a spotlight on the maternal and infant health crisis. RCA’s team consisted of 11 members who participated in parade activities, walked a total of 30 miles during the month-long campaign and contributed over $500 to the Midlands March for Babies fundraising total.

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Our Voice “RCA Is Who We Are; Social Action Is What We Do." According to Rights4Girls (2016), FBI data reported Black children comprise 57% of all juvenile prostitution arrest. Moreover, in a two-year review of all suspected human trafficking incidents in the U.S., Black children made up 40% of sex trafficking victims (Rights4Girls, 2016). RCA’s social action committee hosted “Let’s Talk About Human Trafficking: Taking a Closer Look.” Our goal was to increase awareness of child sex trafficking in South Carolina by addressing the systems that impact children to include: the legal, healthcare, and child caring agencies. The virtual forum was held on Saturday, April 17th from 10 am -12 pm. The moderator for this event was Marisa Glover, LMSW; the panelists included: Richland County Family Court Judge the Honorable Gwendlyne Y. Jones, Child Trafficking Program Coordinator, Office of Child Health and Wellbeing with the South Carolina Department of Social Services Jennequia (Nikki) Brown, BSW Program Director/Associate Professor with Winthrop University Department of Social Work Dr. Monique Constance-Huggins, Director of Doors to Freedom Becky Bonavida, Coroner from Richland County Coroner’s Office Naida Rutherford, Volunteer Recruitment/Training Manager with the Richland County Court Appointed Special Advocates Program Alexis W. Scurry, LMSW. Our knowledgeable panelists brought their passion and were able to provide an in-depth view of the law, awareness, community involvement and advocacy of human trafficking in South Carolina, as it relates to the intersection of race, gender disparities, and trauma that victims and survivors encounter within the system of care. Through feedback provided through a survey, all respondents reported that they would like to attend future virtual events on this topic or similar topics.

Reference: Rights4Girls. (2016). Domestic child sex trafficking and black girls. Retrieved from: https://rights4girls.org/wpcontent/uploads/r4g/2016/08/BlackGirls-Trafficking-Nov-2017-v2.pdf

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Committee Corner Emergency Response Team

In May, members of Richland County Alumnae’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Physical and Mental Health (PMH) Committee collaborated to celebrate Women’s Health and Mental Health Month. The celebration included two weeks of mindful moments which consisted of Meditation Monday, Tai Chi Tuesday, Zumba on Wellness Wednesday ,Thankful Thursday, and Family Time Friday. The celebration concluded with a 90 minute “Taking Care of YOU~ A Wellness and Caregivers Support” forum on Saturday, May 15, 2021, via Zoom. This free forum was open to the public and included a 5 minute body-scan meditation, conversations around caregiver support and the importance of recognizing fatigue. The expert panel included Dr. Annette Brown, Founder/CEO of Premier Counseling LLC Janay Price, and Owner/Psychotherapist at Ctrl-Shift-Balance Mental Wellness Shayla Peterson. These professionals offered strategies to prevent caregiver’s burnout, and tips to promote self-care. We received positive feedback from the approximately 30 attendees to confirm this event was needed and appreciated!

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Committee Corner Membership Services Richland County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated 2020 -2021 Honorees

Committee of the Year

DELTA of the Year Dr. Shanee Moore

“Information/Communications and Technology Committee”

Information and Communication Chairs Jada Hubbard and Crystal Tart Technology Chairs Danielle Cooper and Vyce Johnson

Program of the Year

“Ready, Set, Go”: The Black Women and Girls Conference

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Committee Corner International Festival International Awareness is one of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Five Point Programmatic Thrust, and on Saturday, June 5, 2021, members of the Richland County Alumnae (RCA) Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. supported the 26th Annual Columbia International Festival (CIF) held at the Columbia Fairgrounds, Columbia, SC. Dr. Raj Aluri, founder, established this festival to promote cultural diversity, realizing the strong role immigrants play within our community. Although the festival was scaled back due to the pandemic, nearly 100 world cultures were represented. With over 60 international vendors, an international bazaar allowed participants to shop for authentic clothing, jewelry, arts, and crafts. Sixteen countries established an international food court, selling foreign cuisines from around the world. Overall about 8000 people and families came out to enjoy this wonderful cultural event. Although the Richland County Alumnae Chapter did not officially participate in the event this year, fifteen chapter members served as volunteers to engage the international community with building better communities and promoting positive race relations. Volunteers served as greeters, distributed masks, registration assistants, gate attendants, and food service assistants. Whatever the task, volunteers from our chapter supported the event with smiles and sweet spirits. The World comes together when we put aside differences, appreciating each other for our uniqueness; while realizing we’re all God’s children. Fun was had by All😊

Submitted by, Mamie Hayes Hartwell

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Committee Corner Red Diamond Gala The Red Diamond Gala is Richland County Alumnae Chapter’s signature fundraising event! Since its inception in 1995, this event has afforded the opportunity to provide over $200,000 in scholarships to deserving college and college-bound students. Our 2021 Red Diamond Gala was a “Zoom’sational” virtual event! It was held on Friday, June 4th at 7pm via Zoom. Included with certain sponsorship levels was an opportunity to engage in an intimate meet & greet with Camm Wess, Season 18 finalist on NBC's The Voice. Camm was interviewed by RCA's own, Dr. Andress Carter-Sims, and participants were able to ask Camm questions about his life and career. Once the Zoon'sational event began, we enjoyed the soulful sounds of Camm Wess, who shared some original music as well as his own renditions to songs made popular by the likes of John Legend and more. We ended the evening partying with none other than the phenomenal “She-Jay”, DJ T.O., whose performance was unmatched. The night highlighted the chapter’s mission and purpose of impacting the community through scholarship and service. RCA is grateful for the many corporate sponsors and community partners that supported the chapter in its fundraising efforts. These generous contributions allow RCA to continue to provide programs that impact the service areas of Fairfield, Lexington, Richland, and Newberry Counties. The Red Diamond Scholarship Gala continues to be a dynamic event that helps RCA maintain its mission in serving others.

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2021 Scholarship Recipients On May 6, 2021, the Richland County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. awarded over $22,000 in scholarships! Nineteen scholarships were awarded to high school seniors in Richland and Lexington counties. One collegiate scholarship was also presented to a current student at Benedict College.

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2021 Scholarship Recipients

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2021 Scholarship Recipients

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Beyond RCA Congratulations to the following members of the Richland County Alumnae Chapter who were appointed to serve in leadership roles within the South Atlantic Region of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Name

Position

Salandra Bowman

Member, Education Awareness Committee

Cheryl Canty

Member, Investigation Team

Danielle Cooper

Member, Technology Committee

Donna Tillis Fyall

Member, Investigation Team

Rosalyn Glenn

Delta Internal Development Facilitator

Dr. Patrice Green

Delta Internal Development Facilitator

Candice Haigler

Delta Internal Development Facilitator

Dr. Mamie Hayes-Hartwell

Member, Investigation Team

Vyce Johnson

Member, Information and Communications Committee Member, Technology Committee

Jenaya Lee

Delta Internal Development Facilitator

Toya Murph

Member, Emergency Response Team

Andrea Oates

Member, Physical and Mental Health Committee

Monica Owens

Coordinator, Chartering & Reactivation Team Delta Internal Development Facilitator

Sharon Parker

Co-Coordinator, PEARL Program

Crystal Tart

Delta Internal Development Facilitator Member, Investigation Team Member, Membership Services Committee

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Upcoming Event

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2021-2023 Chapter Officers President - ZeNata Donaldson First Vice President Lavell Thornton Second Vice President Cynthia Bennett Treasurer Candice Haigler Financial Secretary Cheryl Canty Immediate Past President Sharon Parker

Assistant Financial Secretary Jada Hubbard Recording Secretary Michelle Bethea Corresponding Secretary Crystal Tart

Chaplain Tracey Mobley Chavous Custodian Asia Workman Historian Dr. Shaneé Moore Sergeant-at-Arms Andrea Oates

Parliamentarian Monica Owens

Protocol Advisor DeVonne Risher Smalls

Legal Advisor Tiffany Freeman

Information, Comunications & Technology Danielle Cooper - Chair, Information & Communications Tammie Epps - Co-Chair Vyce Johnson - Chair, Technology Subcommittee Jenaya Lee - Co-Chair Newsletter Subcommittee: Greta Avery, Tacara Brunson, Ashley Davis, Jenaya Lee Social Media

Mailing Address P.O. Box 777 Columbia, South Carolina 29202

@richlandcountydeltas

richlandcountyalumnae@gmail.com 22

Profile for richlandcountydeltas

The Crimson Review - Issue 2 - July 2021  

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