Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. welcomes Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and more to its sisterhood

“Divine Nine” organization Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. announced its 2023 Honorary members, featuring Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and six other trailblazing women. 

This week, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. proudly unveiled its latest honorary members. During the organization’s 56th National Convention, currently taking place in Indianapolis, thousands of members gathered to welcome seven trailblazing women into their sisterhood. 

Ketanji Brown Jackson Delta Sigma Theta, Rashida Jones Delta Sigma Theta, Deborah Lee Delta Sigma Theta, Tameka Catchings Delta Sigma Theta, Delta Sigma Theta 2023 Honorary members,
Thousands of members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. retrace the footsteps of their founders on March 3, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“It felt surreal to be in the room during the announcement of the honorary members,” said Sonia Issa, president of the Kappa Lambda chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at Syracuse University. “To be surrounded by women who look like me and provide such great examples of accomplishment and prestige was a moment of restoration and inspiration. You could almost feel the amount of pride and love for our new Sorors, and it was a blessing to bask in that energy.” 

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a historically Black Greek letter organization “committed to the constructive development of its members and to public service with a primary focus on the Black community.” Founded on the campus of Howard University on Jan. 13, 1913, the organization houses over 350,000 members committed to its pillars of sisterhood, scholarship, service, and social action (including this writer). 

Each year, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. inducts a select group of women into the organization as “honorary members.” This year’s cohort of honorees consists of President of MSNBC Rashida Jones; United States Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie D. Jenkins; Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros Television Studios Channing Dungey; WNBA legend and Olympic gold medalist Tameka Catchings; Deborah Lee, former CEO and Chairman of BET; entrepreneur and businesswoman Phyllis Newhouse, and Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

“Honorary Membership is the highest honor extended to women who have made significant contributions to society while excelling in their chosen fields,” Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. captioned the official announcement. “We welcome these exemplary women into our beloved sisterhood with great joy and love!” 

“They are a cohort of ‘firsts’ and ‘onlys’; trailblazers in their respective fields, and truly represent the organization’s mission of providing service to Black people,” said Issa. 

From “godmother of Black entertainment” Lee to the first Black woman appointed to the Supreme Court, these women hold impressive resumes. As previously reported by theGrio, MSNBC’s Jones made history in 2020 as the first Black woman to run a major cable news network. Similarly, Dungey is known for her notable impact on television as the first Black female president of a major broadcast television network, serving as president of ABC Entertainment Group before joining Warner Bros. TV in 2020.

That same year, Catchings was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame for her notable athletic career, which included being one of only 11 women to receive a WNBA and NCAA Championship title, FIBA World Cup gold medal, and an Olympic gold medal. U.S. Army veteran and entrepreneur Newhouse has made a striking impact on technology while uplifting other women on their entrepreneurial journeys. And Ambassador Jenkins, who led global threat reduction programs during the Obama Administration, serves not only the United States as a government official but also women of color as the founder of Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS), an advocacy organization for marginalized women working in the fields of international peace, security, and conflict transformation.

Now, as members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., this distinguished group of women joins a 110-year-old legacy that includes trailblazers Mary McLeod Bethune, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Shirley Chisholm, and more. 

“It was an emotional moment that will stick with me forever as I go on to create my place in the world,” said Issa, who enters her senior year at Syracuse this fall. “These new members are embodiments of the values of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; they continue to carry the organization in the direction of breaking barriers and redefining the Black existence in America.” 

Haniyah Philogene is a multimedia storyteller and Lifestyle reporter covering all things culture. With a passion for digital media, she goes above and beyond to find new ways to tell and share stories.

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