The Ebony 2011 Convention Issue
THE OFFICIAL VOICE OF SWING PHI SWING SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP
2011 National Convention Highlights Begins on Page 4 | National News
Which Sister Founder made her debut at this yearâ€™s National Convention? Sis. Raquel ROC Rouse gives us the details on her full circle SWING moment. Page 10
The Ebony Pearl | SUMMER/FALL 2011 | SWINGPHISWING.ORG
CALLING ALL SISTER WRITERS!! The Ebony Pearl Call for Living Legacy Poetry & Songs
The Ebony Pearl is looking for poetry and song submissions. Selected poems and songs will be published in The Ebony Pearl and included in the upcoming Swing Phi Swing Song Book - a historical treasure. If you are interested, please contact Melonee Griggs, Editor-InChief, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Black History Trivia The Ebony Pearl has a new feature in which we test our Sisters in their Black History knowledge. Think you have what it takes to show off your Black history smarty pants and win a prize? Read on...
Lighting the Way What do you get when you mix Swing style with Cali Swag? A big S on your chest! Los Angeles Graduate Chapter is making their way in one of the most liberal cultural meccas in the nation, so how are they lighting a path in order to make a difference?
In Remembrance National President Sharon Chandler remembers two dearly departed Sisters whose deaths rocked many Sisters earlier this year.
Also in Letter from the President…………………………….. ……..….4 Chapter News…………………………..…………….………….14 Editor’s Desk…………...……………………..……….…………6 2011 National Convention Highlights………………………….12 National News…………………………...………...……..……….7 BackSwing.………….…….…………….…...…………………..19 SUMMER/FALL 2011 | SWINGPHISWING.ORG
This issue of The Ebony Pearl is dedicated to the beautiful and graceful memory of our dearly departed Sister
Sister Arthelia â€œSpankiâ€? Parker August 8, 1956 - June 16, 2011
Letter from the National President
My three primary objectives for my three year term are as follows: 1. To increase our visibility in the African-American community and the community at-large; 2. To establish our national initiatives as viable, grant worthy programs; 3. To increase our organizational value by improving our infrastructure. I have always contended that our National Convention host cities should benefit from our presence and that we should gain media exposure as a result of newsworthy conference events. Prior to and during the 2011 Convention great strides were made toward the accomplishment of these objectives. Led by Sis. Brenda Torrence, and donned in their wonderful Swing/Groove t-shirts (which Sis. Torrence designed and purchased), our notable and productive volunteers team spent time at Hosea Feed the Hungry, deemed 'the most significant human services organization in the Southeast US', illustrating our value to the other volunteers, staff and members of the surrounding community. Additionally, our Youth Positive Rally served to feed and provide school supplies for close to fifty Atlanta area youth, accompanied by the Executive Director of the Village Keepers, Sheila Joyner-Pritchard and Apostle Joan Starks, was well-received and much appreciated. Our guest speakers, which included Dr. Pauline Key, Dr. Carlton Young and Mrs. Tawana Williams, all of whom are respected locally and nationally as motivational speakers and youth advocates were extremely impressed by SWING PHI SWING and our dedication to serving our communities. Furthermore, Ms. Brenda Muhammad, newly elected Atlanta School Board
Chair, who gave an inspirational message during our Opening Ceremony, was likewise impressed with SWING's community involvement and advocacy She was further grateful for the donation of 50 loaded backpacks for the children in her school district. No less significant was our impact on the Prayer Breakfast keynote speaker, Min. Montel Jordan of Victory World Church in Norcross, GA. Min. Jordan and his lovely wife, Kristin, both considered it an honor to be in our midst and expressed great respect for the Black & White & Black Family's commitment to serve. The allegiances we were able to establish as a result of interacting with these community leaders and showing them what we have to offer is invaluable and will go a long way in contributing to our ongoing success. Thanks to Sis. Toni Miles-Maloney (aka Justine Love), V103FM, the top R & B radio station in Atlanta, ran a public service announcement (psa) about the Youth Rally several times a day for the two weeks prior to the event, which was heard by tens of thousands of Atlanta area listeners, resulting in increased name recognition, as well as certain membership growth for the Atlanta Grad Chapter. The value of the Youth Positive Summit and Supplies for Success programs has increased by leaps and bounds and will provide substantive text for grant proposals in the coming months and beyond as a result of the successes of the Youth Positive Summit (2010) and the Youth Positive Rally (2011). We have fully accomplished cohesion between the SHE Foundation and the fellowship in order to fulfill the overall missions of both enti-
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“'Claiming Our Place' requires all of
us working collectively toward the common goal.”
ties. Although I am pleased with our achievements, I must temper my optimism with the realization that there is still much work to be done in regard to my 3rd objective. This will serve to direct my path for the remainder of my term as National President. Therefore, my focus in the 'home stretch' will be to significantly improve our internal processes and make those improvements of benefit to you, the membership. However, if SWING is to live up to her full potential, it will take the commitment of each and everyone one of us to be the best we can be. Board Members, Executive Officers, Regional Administrators, Chapter Officers, Committee Members and supportive members at every level, must recommit to serve in whatever capacity is needed. So, let's prepare to approach the coming year with drive, determination and vigor! 'Claiming Our Place' requires all of us working collectively toward the common goal. Unity will be the key to our success!Φ In Sisterhood,
Sharon M. Chandler
Youth Positive Rally ~ July 21st, 2011 ~ Atlanta, GA SPECIAL THANKS On behalf of Swing Phi Swing, the SHE Foundation, and the youth of Atlanta, we thank each of you from the bottom of our hearts. Your generosity and support are much appreciated! Swing Phi Swing was founded on the 1st anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by design, not by accident. Since 1969, our organization has been impassioned by a spiritual connection to Dr. King's legacy. Our 12 Founding members stood in solidarity on April 4, 1969 to say to the world that Dr. King's life, not his death, would drive the destiny of our beloved organization. As we look to commemorate the unveiling of the MLK Memorial, the anniversary of the March on Washington and the renowned 'I Have A Dream' speech, Swing Phi Swing sisters will raise their hands and their voices in unity to honor the legacy of Dr. King as the world pays tribute to the Dream and the Dreamer. To God Be the Glory! --Pres. Sharon M. Chandler
Our Sponsors: SUBWAY WVEE “V103” FM SHE Foundation Hilliard Transportation Services Custodial Support Foundation Philadelphia Grad Chapter - SФS Garden State NJ Grad Chapter – SФS RuBu Grad Chapter – SФS Tri-State Grad Chapter – SФS Raleigh Grad Chapter – SФS Harambee Fayetteville Grad Chapter – SФS Central Carolina Grad Chapter – SФS DCMetro Grad Chapter – SФS Mid-South Grad Chapter – SФS NewConn Grad Chapter – SФS Fl. John Word – GФG Fl. Bernard Gordon – GФG Sis. Marilyn Berry - SФS Sis. Jackie Jackson – SФS Sis. Deborah Hunter - SФS Fl. Darnell Johnson - GФG Fl. Harvey Cannon – GФG Fl. Victor Henderson – GФG Sis. Lasandra Barksdale – SФS Sis. Sandra Plenty – SФS Sis. Erynn Moorehead – SФS Sis. Journia Jones - SФS Sis. Sherri Jennings – SФS
Our collective work helped support the One Million Youth Peach March International in Washington, D.C. in July 2011. Our Patrons: Sis. Earnestine Holden - SФS Sis. Rochelle Slaughter - SФS Fl. Charles Mangum – GФG Sis. Tanya McKoy Sutton - SФS Sis. Stephanie Turner - SФS Ms. Linda Reed Mr. Louis Patino Mr. Edward Lindsey Ms. Angelina Banks Andre Gist Memorial Foundation Fl. Art Brown – GФG Sis. Tanya Matthews - SФS
(in memory of Ms. Daisy Reese)
The Editor’s Desk
Find me online Facebook.com/Melonee.griggs
Sis. Melonee D. Griggs National Media Affairs and Public Relations Officer email@example.com
I pride myself in being a committed and savvy teacher. There are many nights that I’m driving home and I’m completely spent from my 9 hour work day that begins at 7:15am. That’s not including tutoring, faculty meetings, organizational meetings, or sporting events. There are many days that I drive home in silence in order to give a piece of myself to my family, friends on the phone, my Swing PHI, or looming emails glaring at me in my inbox. I instantly feel overwhelmed with it all and just opt to go to asleep. Where had my work-life-SWING balance mojo gone? All of this came into perspective in a way that only music can be a catalyst. I had one of those poetic moments on a cool, rainy night driving down a dark thoroughfare in Memphis. I had been driving in silence and decided to turn on the radio to the local jazz station. At that moment, a beautiful jazz song came on the radio asking me to find my way to love. The singer asks her paramour, ‚Is this love for real or just make believe? Were we meant to be? Is this our destiny?‛ Many of us often find ourselves in a love affair with our lives and with SWING. When it’s good, it is bliss; when it’s bad, we lament with tears and anger. I instantly connected with this song so much that I had to call the
station and ask the DJ who did this song that was all in my psyche. The Jaspects provided the melody and Chantae Cann was featured to provide the soul. But it left me wondering, who helps me find my way to love in my own life when it all becomes too overwhelming? I never wanted to be a person who only gives pieces of myself to people or causes. If I can’t do it fully, then I can’t expel what little energy I would give it. I thank God for my loving husband my daughter who greet me with hugs, love, and kindness every day without fail. Even though I’m exhausted, I try to give it back equally. That day, I had to refocus my love and had to cut back on obligations that appeared to be obligations but were not. I took a leave of absence from a second job; I turned down a third part time job. I decided to take 2 graduate courses instead of three. I hung out with friends I hadn’t seen in months, laughed to no end, and ended the night with hugs and plans to do it again. I hugged a dear Swing Sister and ate gelato with her after almost a year of not seeing her. I had to find my way back to love. I’m attending a Swing retreat in the spring with Sisters that I don’t know well but I love their sisterly nature and vibe all the same. When real women show love, nations are healed and revitalized; songs are written in her honor; destinies manifest themselves. This is
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where love resides. I miss the fellowship and proof positive energy of Sisterhood and lament on missing the 2011 National convention, but I am consoled by the fact that my Sisters are spread across this nation holding true to the promise of loving SWING. As you look through the stories and pictures in the current issue, ask yourself how are you helping a Sister find her way to love within Swing. For instance, Sisters Nneka Shoulds and Tiffany Banks share their experiences in putting together a retreat to get spicy Sisters back in the Swing of things but first, they have to reconnect themselves to the organization and the oaths that bind the new and old. Also, Sister Autumn Rowles left the bevy of Swing activity in North Carolina and rooted herself in Southern California. Now she lights a path for Sisters who have been disconnected from Swing for over 20 years. If you have a chance, please listen to The Jaspects’ song ‚Find My Way to Love‛ ft. Chantae Cann and I hope it makes you fall in love with love all over again. Let me end my letter with the song’s final words: ‚If we never try, we will never find...if we were meant to be...or if you’re here to help me find my way to love<‛Φ Peace and Ola
2011 National Convention Highlights and Grooves packed up food and supplies in the HFTH warehouse and did such a wonderful job, Sister Krystal Coston commented, ‚We did such a good job, they asked us if we could come back every week. We packed up so many boxes in such a short amount of time.‛
The 2011 Joint National Convention in Atlanta and Stone Mountain, Georgia was one of significance for Swings and Grooves who came from all over the Black and White Nation. This year’s theme was Our Place in a Changing World' and Sisters truly made their place through service and fellowship at this year’s convention. The first day of the convention opened with community service with Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless (HFTH), an international Christian outreach program founded by civil rights pioneers Rev. Hosea and Juanita T. Williams in 1971. Since it’s inception, HFTH has distributed over $3 billion in food, clothing, and medical supplies in Georgia and countries such as the Philippines and Uganda. Swings
The service did not end there! In partnership with the International Million Youth Peace March, Swing Phi Swing hosted the Youth Positive Rally, a prerally movement that featured motivational speakers like our very own Toni Miles Maloney, better known as radio personality Justine Love of Washington, D.C.’s WPGC-FM; our moves-making Groove Brother Harold Reed Jr., author of Find a Way to Make a Way; and Dr. Carlton Young, one of the leading experts on homelessness in the United States. With entertainment from local singing group, The Doowhopboiz, the children in attendance were positively overflowing with knowledge and empowerment. The rally ended with a donation from Swing Phi Swing’s national initiative, Supplies for Success, and backpacks filled with school sup-
plies were distributed to all in attendance. Interim Chair of the Atlanta Board of Education, Ms. Brenda Muhammad welcomed Swing Phi Swing to Atlanta and imparted words of wisdom during the opening ceremony. A major and heartfelt surprise for Sisters was meeting Sister Founder Patricia Story who has not been in the Swing of things since the organization’s founding. She was met with tears, hugs, and songs! To better understand the heartfelt sentiments of Sister Founder Patricia Story’s presence, read Raquel ROC Rouse’s
article “A Story in the Building”, on page 10. Other convention highlights included the unveiling and celebration of Groove Phi Groove’s new history book, The First 50 Years in Black and White by Walter Perkins. Finally, former R&B turned gospel artist Rev. Montel Jordan served as the keynote speaker at the annual Swing & Groove Prayer Breakfast. For more pictures and a list of
national awards, turn to page 12.Φ
2012 National Executive Office Nomination Packets will be available January 2012 Contact Sis. Raquel ROC Rouse, National Board Chair of Nominations & Recognition at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
ANNOUNCEMENTS NATIONAL MEMBERSHIP DUES
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Send your LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
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Mail your dues to the following: NATIONAL TREASURER SWING PHI SWING S.F.I. POST OFFICE BOX 723 OLD BRIDGE, NEW JERSEY 08857
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Graphics must be at least 300 dpi or higher and in jpeg format. These ad rates are effective as of February 1, 2010. Please contact Melonee Griggs at email@example.com for more information.
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What is the name of the Black American social anthropologist who did groundbreaking research on race and class in the deep South during the 1930s? This famous Black American was honored with a postage stamp during the 20th century. His research undermined racist beliefs about Black children’s IQ level - research that eventually helped to end legalized racial segregation. He served on numerous federal commissions and task forces, such as President Richard Nixon’s Commission on Civil Rights and the White House Task Force on the Gifted. BE THE FIRST to send your response to ebonypearl@swingphiswingorg for your chance to win a fabulous and unique Swing T-shirt and a 2012 Black History calendar. GOOD LUCK! ????????????????? SUMMER/FALL 2011 | SWINGPHISWING.ORG
The Office of Graduate & Undergraduate Affairs
Sis. Lasandra Barksdale National Graduate Affairs Officer email@example.com
Mission: By assisting all chapters in matters of intake, compliance, and mediation, the National Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Affairs seeks to build a formidable legacy and basis for leadership within the members of Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship, Inc.
Sis. Crystal Ballard National Undergraduate Affairs Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
Online ROP Training Schedule In February, the National Office conducted its first Online Risk Management training. That training was successful with over 20 sisters being certified without leaving the comfort of their homes. Because we have received numerous requests for more online training, we have put together an online training schedule to offer you Risk Management and Rites of Passage Coordinator training through the end of the year. Online Risk Management training will be offered once a month and RPC training offered quarterly. Each session is limited to only 20 sisters, so register now at https://swingphiswing.ticketleap.com. In order to participate in ROP sisters must be financially active & risk management certified.
Swing Online Document Storage Using Box.net, Swing now has an online document storage where sisters can obtain important documents related to membership. You will find forms, Swing Explosion documentation, contact information, and more. You can even find fillable versions of every ROP form allowing you to complete and submit the forms electronically. This is just the beginning, because soon you will be able to find words & audio of the Swing Songs, videos, national media kit, pictures, and much more. To access the site go to www.box.net and log in using the username email@example.com. Contact your chapter president or your regional administrator for the password. I am sure weâ€™ve missed something, so if you have suggestions about what should be added or questions, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OLA & Congratulations to all the new Sisters of Swing Phi Swing!. 9
A “Story” In My Swing House By Sis. Raquel S. “ROC” Rouse ‚Founder Patricia Story is in the room!‛ I was sitting at the Raleigh Graduate Chapter’s vending table during the 2011 National Convention when all of a sudden I heard someone say this. I thought I misunderstood. There was no way on earth that FOUNDER PATRICIA STORY OF MYSTIC, CONNETICUT was in the very same room with me. Slowly, I got up from my seat and nervously, whispered to the Sister, ‚Did you say PATRICIA STORY?‛ I really didn’t want to speak too loudly because I didn’t want to look ridiculous. The Sister responded casually, ‚OLA ROC, she’s right over there.‛ I stood frozen. Seriously? Is that her? calm down because I didn’t want her to think I was crazy. We talked I have worked closely with foun- and talked. It was my honor to meet ders before, but this experience was and talk with her. just a little bit different. FOUNDER PATRICIA STORY OF MYSTIC SWING PHI SWING SFI® is so CONNETICUT symbolized strength blessed to have FOUNDERS who and encouragement during my in- can educate us about our past. I entake process in 1977 at North Caro- courage all of you to reach out to a lina A&T University (I detailed the FOUNDER and just listen to the story on our FACEBOOK group). knowledge that these leaders have to share because it is empowering. I walked over to SISTER FOUNDER and before I could say a word, Many have asked did I tell her she looked at me and smiled. It is about my intake process and my exhard to describe my feelings at that perience. The answer is ‛No.‛ The particular time. I compared it to the reason I didn’t share it is simple and experience others must feel when not dramatic at all. I did not share meeting a super star. AND THE SU- my experience because I didn’t want PER STAR turns out to be more than to cry. That is the honest answer. I you imagined!! All of my anxieties don’t think anyone will ever underleft me. I kept staring at her. I gave stand, except for my line SISTERS, her all of my pearly whites and the emotional impact her name had hugged her. I took so many pictures on me. The very name that I would of her. I wanted to make sure that take pride in remembering. The very when I got home, I had proof that I name that gave me hopes during a wasn’t dreaming. Then, I had to process embraced by the 70’s. The SUMMER/FALL 2011 | SWINGPHISWING.ORG
very name that encouraged me to do something. I couldn’t do everything, but I could do something. The very name that empowered me to remain HONCHO of my line and to continue to lead 6 strong ladybugs. I’m sure you have heard the phrase, ‚What’s in a name‛? For me, the name PATRICIA STORY OF MYSTIC CONNETICUT meant my very existence as a SWING. Thank you to all of our FOUNDERS/SISTERS. May GOD continue to BLESS each and every one you. AND from me to you FOUNDER/ SISTER PATRICIA STORY OF MYSTIC CONNETICUT<It is my most sincere honor to say to you ‚OLA‛.Φ Sis. Raquel ROC Rouse is a member of the Raleigh Graduate Chapter in Raleigh, NC and serves as the National Board Chair of the Nominations and Recognition Committee.
Raleigh Grad Recognizes Raquel Rouse for Extraordinary Service in Education
Special to The Ebony Pearl Sister Raquel ROC Stewart Rouse has served on the Board of Directors of the Harriett B. Webster Task Force for over 5 years. The mission of the Task Force for Student Success is to bring parents, students, educators, churches, interested citizens, and organizations together to plan, develop, and implement strategies to help close the academic achievement gap." Rouse and other leaders push to improve student performance and academic achievement by promoting parental involvement to create a bridge towards a positive and productive future for students. With the belief that all children deserve equal access
to a quality education, Rouse is a shining beacon for her chapter - a chapter that mostly comprised of exceptional educators.
SISTER Roc Co-chairs the Student Ambassador's program of the Harriet B. Webster Task Force. Student Ambassadors, chosen and recommended by school based administrators and parents, meet monthly to participate in leadership training and seminars. This program is de- The Raleigh Graduate Chapter and signed for middle and high school the entire Swing Nation commends students. Raquel S. “ROC” Rouse for exemplifying PHI in her service to the Rouse states, ‚President Obama community. Φ stated during his campaign that
Saddling Up for the Southwest Region By Autumn S. Rowles, Southwest Regional Administrator
(l-r) Los Angeles Grad Sisters Carla Hastye-Hill, Autumn Rowles, Linda Womack, and Darlene Carter-Simpson bring Swing style amongst Cali swag.
California is such a large state, and because it is like a melting pot of people I’ve found that culturally Swing Phi Swing is not something that many women are interested in. What I mean by this statement is that I have to find ways to present the organization to all women that is relevant to them. Afrocentric characteristics alone do not sell well here in California. Most black
‘We are the change we’ve been looking for.’ This quote, more than any other, resonates within me. Instead of complaining and watching from the sidelines, I have always been one to roll up my sleeves and get involved. The Harriett B. Webster Task Force is another avenue where my time, efforts, dedication and community service can make a difference.‛
women in particular are completely unfamiliar with the organization, unless they are like me and have relocated from the south or east coast where Swing Phi Swing is quite popular. There is however potential growth for the organization on the undergraduate and graduate level. So how did I get here? I had the opportunity to participate in a site visit at my job prior to accepting the position which allowed me to scope the area. I already knew what I was getting into demographically. I’m also an independent person, so I don’t have a problem with being alone. Some think it’s very strange, but this is just who I am. I’d like to think that relocating to an area with no sisters excited me to a certain degree, because it challenged me to go out and find sisters and interests for the organization. I was able to see an opportunity for growth within Swing Phi Swing by relocating to California. One of the first things I did was contact sister Leone Lettsome, who has lived in this region for some time and has also served as the
Sis. Autumn Rowles shares her experiences about leaving the comfort of the Swing cradle in the Southeast Region and moving across the country to unchartered territory in Swingland. What she discovers is pure gold! Southwest Regional Administrator. She was a large part of me linking with sisters in the area. I also had the support of sisters from other regions who maintain contact with some sisters on the West Coast. Not much went into preparation for the move, it was perfect timing. I finished my bachelor’s in Computer Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University in May of 2010 and had my official offer from NAVAIR in June 2010. My lease was up on my apartment, and it just seemed to be the perfect ending to a chapter in my life. I miss the fellowship with my SWING babies; however I have to be honest and clear about the timing of this transformation. Everything fell into place for me here on the West Coast, and as soon as I was granted access to move by my job, the relationship amongst me and the baby sisters (Continued on page 14)
Sister of Raleigh Grad pose with Brenda Muhammad (4th from right), Interim Chair of the Atlanta Board of Education, at the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony.
Sister Founders Beverly Dorn-Steele and Patricia Story beam with pride in the registration area. Welcome Back Sister Founder Pat!
(l-r) Sisters Tess Chappell, Jazzlyn Ferrell, Sherry-Ann Prezeau, Nene Dobbs, Sandy Cayo, Kendra Mangum, and Monique Chappell repping the Northeast Region at the Groove Phi Groove Cookout.
(l-r) Sherry-Ann Prezeau, Jazzlyn Farrell, Via-Tonda Byers, Denice Luke, Audrey Elliott, and Mesha Minter take a moment to pose with Sister Founder Ellen Tomlinson-Carter (center). Swing Girls do Rock!
(l-r) Legacy babies Frenchy Evans and Alycia Wright pose with their legendary Swing Mommies, Madame President Sharon M. Chandler and former national president Cheryl Kornegay. All grown up, these two spicy Sisters are blazing their own trail in Swingland.
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2011 National awards recipients Special to The Ebony Pearl
Member Awards Tanya DeShields Lindafaye Newton Cheryl Boddie Tanya McKoy Sutton Angelina Huggins Tai D. Matthews Candace Stowe Ernestine C. Holden Melissa Frederick Donna Pinder Debra Lightner Jazzlyn Farrell Pat Chalmers Toni Miles-Maloney Lillian Byrd
Chapter Awards Raleigh Graduate Chapter RuBu Graduate Chapter DCMetro Graduate Chapter Philadelphia Graduate Chapter Atlanta Graduate Chapter
"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person."
Special Awards Tanya D. McKoy Leadership Award: Ms. Brenda Muhammad
Mother Teresa Wanda Clay Excellence in Education Award: Sis. Cheryl Kornegay Cheryl Kornegay Presidential Award: Sis. Anita Johnson SUMMER/FALL 2011 | SWINGPHISWING.ORG
Los Angeles Grad “lights” the way By Sis. Autumn Rowles
Sisters Carla Hastye-Hill and Autumn Rowles shine their Swing flame during the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society walk October 2011.
Saddling Up cont’d (Continued from page 11)
began to shift, just as I expected. I moved to California ultimately because I was offered a great opportunity to work for NAVAIR as a Computer Engineer. Currently I am a software engineer at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California. I am a firm believer in change of environment after a certain period of time, so moving to California was easy for me. I’ve found that conference calls and Skype are the best tools for sisters who are spread out. Traveling everywhere in the region is not cost effective nor is it time convenient, so for the sake of the sisters of the Southwest Region I’ve found that it is more efficient to communicate often via teleconference. Emailing is only useful in keeping sisters in the region informed about what’s taking place in SWING on a local and national level. I often reach out to the sisters in my region to introduce myself, and make sure that they have what they need in SWING. One of my main purposes is to serve the sisters of the Southwest Region to the best of my ability. Reaching out does not always yield the
The Los Angeles Graduate Chapter of Swing Phi Swing participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk on October 29th in Santa Clarita, California. Collectively the chapter raised over $330.00 to donate to research for the society. Each year, in communities all across the United States and Canada teams of families, friends, co-workers and local and national corporations come together to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS's) Light The Night Walk events and bring help and hope to people battling blood cancers (http://www.lightthenight.org/los/what/). The Los Angeles Graduate Chapter would like to thank all sisters, family, and friends who contributed to our team for this event.Φ
desired response, because some sisters have been discouraged from SWING, but they are still sisters nonetheless and I continue to be inclusive regardless of their circumstances. Currently Los Angeles Grad is focusing on one of its signature service projects which include our bi-monthly participation at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The L.A. Regional Food Bank feeds over 20,000 people monthly and the sisters of LA grad dedicate a significant portion of its time to contributing to this effort to stop hunger in the community. The Southwest Region is currently working on a regional initiative dealing with women and domestic violence. More details will be provided as we move forward in preparation for service. The Southwest Region is also hosting a raffle beginning in January 2012 to fundraise so be on the lookout for upcoming details on this initiative as well. Los Angeles Grad is still growing, but I do plan for our chapter to be an example for the rest of the organization. Our chapter will be inclusive of all types of women regardless of their past, appearance, or religious beliefs. The same standards are in place for the Southwest Region. Overall I believe other chapters can learn from our
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chapter on how to work with sisters from all different age categories. In LA grad, we do not have power struggles or respect issues concerning sisters’ contributions and we embrace the difference amongst us all. Working with sisters who are 20 plus years removed from the organization is certainly a challenge and a work in progress. I realize that I have to have more patience with sisters who are out of the loop, but also help them get the information they need in order to be a useful and valuable members/sisters. I’ve heard many stories of what ‚pledging‛ used to be like during the 1970’s, but I’ve also learned about solid relationships these women have formed with their line sisters. It is a beautiful thing and I hope to pass along some of those same sisterly lessons to the newest sisters in my region. I believe the 1st and 2nd generation SWINGs are excited to be working with me. I’ve been told that I’m on fire for the organization and that SWING needs more young sisters with that same attitude. This momentum has created some excitement for sisters who have been gone for a long time. I hope to inspire more sisters in the region to participate in fellowship and service with us.Φ
Chapter “I Got All my sisters with me!” - Sisters create annual retreat to Re-energize and reconnect By Sis. Melonee D. Griggs
Sisters retreated to Ocean City, NJ in June 2011. Pictured (seated l-r): Sisters Tiffany Banks, Alicia Richardson, Vanessa Vinson, and Nneka Shoulds; (standing l-r) Lena Barker, Noel Webster, Terazia Jones, Angelica Barrett, and Chauncey Lynn Butcher.
Sisters Tiffany Banks and Nneka Shoulds wanted to reconnect to SWING through fellowship, fun, and sun. What made this retreat a little daring and different was the invitation to new and unfamiliar faces...but did all’s well end well?
Read on... Nneka Shoulds and Tiffany Banks have enough history between each other: high school best friends, college roommates, and Swing line Sisters. After crossing in the Summer of 2007 at Morgan State University with the Marali Nubia Bear Chapter of Swing Phi Swing, both Sisters have been on a personal journey that lead them away from Swing. Shoulds became a homeowner but eventually found her career in flux due to economic flux (see The Ebony Pearl Fall 2010-Winter 2011, Two Sisters’ Journey: The Recession). For Banks, the death of a long time friend put a damper on her life. ‚September 20, 2008 was when everything spiraled downhill. That was the same day I was supposed to leave to go a
regional meeting. It just so happened one of my best friends had passed away from elementary school. Ever since then, I shied away from Swing,‛ said Banks. In the same month, she found out she was pregnant and began focusing on her career. The last four years of her life have been a whirlwind but she never forgot about Swing. ‚I just watched Swing from a distance. I actually got to a point to where my son was 2 years old, started a new job, got a new boyfriend<I wanted to unify with Sisters in my age group.‛ In a conversation one night with Shoulds, they discussed wanting to get away with Sisters to bond and renew their Swing oaths. They discussed 15
growth and stagnation in Swing and asked each other ‚Where do we see Swing in the next couple of years?‛ That’s when the idea to do a Swing Retreat in Ocean City, New Jersey came about. ‚I had a bond with Sisters that came in around the same time<I wanted to get back,‛ said Banks. Both Shoulds and Banks wanted to reach out with Sisters they came into Swing with and opened the invitation to newer Sisters who wanted to have positive fellowship reflective of their interests and generation. It didn’t matter about your financial status or whether a Sister has been active in Swing events. They wanted to have real fellowship and dialogue with Sisters who carry a heavy heart. ‚Something has to give. We have to understand why Sisters are no longer active,‛ said Banks. ‚ It was just a weekend getaway for Sisters. It was really organic in how things unfolded,‛ said Shoulds. ‚We had some Sisters that were newer to Swing,‛ adds Banks, ‚and it’s important to keep that positivity going. Just because you have a different outlook on Sisters, you shouldn’t pass that on. The entire weekend was informal. No agenda, limited Swing paraphrenalia and colors. It was more about the bonding. Banks and Shoulds took ideas on planning the weekend from various Sisters – in particular new Sister Myesha Taylor who suggested a vision board activity. ‚We wanted to put together a vision board – like a collage – and Sisters can cut out pictures from magazines and words that they want to attract to their lives or improve their lives or bring that person to the next level,‛ said Shoulds. Sisters from Washington, D.C. and the Maryland area joined the road trip and the fellowship was genuine and carefree. (Continued on page 19)
On June 6, 2011, Swingland was rocked by the news that Sister Arthelia “Spanki” Parker had passed away after a hard fought battle with diabetes on June 6, 2011. Madame President Sharon M. Chandler remembers her dear Sister Friend.
Sis. Arthelia Parker became a member of Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship, Inc. on September 3, 1995 in Upper Marlboro, MD. She along with her 2 line sisters – Janet Gray and Cheryl Quick - became the 1st graduate line to be inducted by the DC Metro Graduate Chapter. Although Arthelia did not officially join the organization until '95, she always quipped that it had taken her 20 years. She had been a Swing at heart since 1977 when two of her best friends at St. Augustine's College, Arnetta 'Blue' White-Doyle and Montina Lee, pledged our beloved organization. Spanki maintained close relationships with many Swings and Grooves from St. Augustine throughout the years and always supported their chapter and it's members. Arthelia went on the become the organization's National Historian in 2000 and compiled the 2nd edition of Swing's Historical Journal in 2002. Spanki's love for photographs and her innate ability to have the ‚411” on whatever was happening everywhere and anywhere earned her the Swing nickname ‚Headquarters‛ and made her the ideal sister to serve in this capacity. Although in recent years her health did not permit her to participate as often as she would have liked, Arthelia remained a proud and dedicated member of DC Metro Graduate Chapter. Spanki will be sorely missed by Sisters everywhere, but especially those who served with her on the National Executive Team (2000-2006), her DC Metro Grad Chapter Sisters, and members of the Nkijah Undergraduate Chapter of St. Augustine's College (1975 -1979).
SUMMER/FALL 2011 | SWINGPHISWING.ORG
Sis. Karen L. Wall almost celebrated 35 years in Swing Phi Swing when she departed this life on September 10, 2011. Described as committed and hardworking, National President and Sister Sharon M. Chandler shares a few words in remembrance of Sister Wall.
Sis. Karen L. Wall became a member of Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship, Inc. on November 17, 1976 in New Brunswick, New Jersey while attending Livingston College at Rutgers University. She along with her seven line sisters – being # 2 on her line, Christina Claiborne, Faye Peterkin, Junie Scott , Diane Woods, Soraya Hawthorne, Zondra Green, and Shirley Peterkin. Karen was a force to be reckoned with since the day she joined the organization. Her critical thinking skills, organization and meticulous ways allowed Karen to take the lead on numerous activities and complete an awesome task. Her dedication and commitment to the organization allowed her to be a founding member of two New Jersey Graduate Chapters: Garden State and Imani Kuumba. Since 1976, Karen stayed in contact and established friendships with numerous sisters in our beloved organization. She also maintained close relationships with many Grooves in New Jersey (especially from Rutgers and what is now Kean University) throughout the years and provided support to organizational events. Karen was diligent in every task she took on. She was Imani Kuumba’s chapter Media Affairs' Officer. She solicited feedback from sisters to make sure her task was top notch and perfected. She would keep everyone on task during meetings with her spunk and creative words while simultaneously smiling and saying ‚ya know.‛ Karen spoke her mind at all times letting any and everyone know how she felt about a situation or you. Karen did not allow her illness to interfere or prevent her from participating in chapter activities. She attended every meeting and event. She continued to be vocal in the meetings, express her opinions and share her ideas with everyone. She was an asset to the chapter as well as to the organization. She attended our last meeting and community service project. Karen L. Wall - a proud member of the Imani Kuumba Graduate Chapter - will be missed by everyone. No one can fill her shoes or provide the sisters with her special touch.
2012 JOINT NATIONAL CONVENTION BALTIMORE, MARYLAND OCTOBER 10-14, 2012 BALTIMORE MARRIOTT HUNT VALLEY INN 245 Shawan Road | Hunt Valley, MD 21031
IN CELEBRATION OF GROOVE PHI GROOVE’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Reserve your room today! Call (410) 785-7000 and request the Swing Phi Swing block
RIGHT: “In all things...excellence” is the motto for Wilberforce University and what an excellent show of Swing flavor back in the day with the plume of clouds in the blue sky above their crowns of afros. Photo courtesy of Arlene “Beans” Campbell Circa 1974
ABOVE: Sisters prepare for an event at Wilberforce. Photo taken in 1975. Sisters pictured (l-r) Regina Williams, Angela Brown-Waller, Donna Rice, Arlene Campbell, and Joan Brown. Photo courtesy of Arlene “Beans” Campbell
RIGHT: Sisters at Elizabeth City State University, circa 1973. Photo courtesy of Patrick “Chic” Langston
(Continued from page 15)
Shoulds reflects, ‚I did form some bonds with Sisters I didn’t have before. I do look forward to doing it again. We learned about some things we could do better.‛ Even with the planning of the retreat, the takeaway was invaluable to a burgeoning leader like Shoulds. ‚I did learn to not take things personally. When you work on a project like this, you feel like it’s your baby and I had to learn to accept input from other Sisters. We just had to maintain a certain level of positivity<To be reminded as an older Sister in Swing, you are a role model and to always be cognizant of that,‛ she affirms. Throughout the laughter, there were sobering moments from many of the retreat participants who have painful and disheartening moments in their Swing life. ‚Some of them were Sisters who had been Swings for three or more years but haven’t been really active,‛ said Shoulds. ‚It just wasn’t for Sisters who were financial. Some sisters feel disenfranchised by Swing. Some were interested in coming but SUMMER/FALL 2011 | SWINGPHISWING.ORG
were just exhausted by Swing. One Sister didn’t come because she felt like Swing lied to her.‛ The emotion in her words was halting and tangible. It is evident what Shoulds and Banks and the Sisters on this retreat were seeking: healing through the power and grace of true Sisterhood. Banks declares, ‚Whenever I am in the capacity of Sisters, I always learn something. I strengthened bonds with Sisters I had already had a bond with. More importantly, I learned there are still sisters motivated for Swing and that’s refreshing. As long as I can see these sisters motivated, I’m going to keep going.‛Φ Sisters Nneka Shoulds and Tiffany Banks are planning their second retreat for summer 2012. For more information, contact them by email: Nneka Shoulds | email@example.com Tiffany Banks | firstname.lastname@example.org
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