The visionaries were committed to the establishment of a local chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated that specifically targeted the distinct needs of the Gwinnett County community. On May 5, 2001, nineteen sorors came together at the home of Soror Candace Medlin to discuss the concept in detail. This was the first of numerous informal monthly meetings that the Gwinnett County Sorors would hold. During this initial meeting, they discussed the feasibility of establishing a separate chapter in Gwinnett County versus joining one of the existing Metro Atlanta Chapters or even neighboring Hall County Alumnae Chapter. While it was obvious that the most challenging of these options would be to pursue a new chapter to support the unique needs of Gwinnett County , it became quickly apparent that this was clearly the most feasible option. The sorors came to a swift consensus, committed themselves to begin the journey and set out on the course that would eventually lead to the Gwinnett County Alumnae Chapter.

Month after month the group grew in numbers. From the initial nineteen, the numbers moved to over ninety by the end of 2001. In the fall of 2001, eight sorors (later to be known as the Steering Committee- Sonja Cooke, Pamela Crenshaw, Philippi Lawal, Thelona Manning, Candace Medlin, Samela Reid, Erma Warmack and Hazel White) met with the Southern Regional Director, Soror Paulette Walker, and the State Coordinator, Soror Ann Jones, at the Georgia State Cluster in Albany, Georgia to discuss the possibility of a chapter in the Gwinnett County area. Steering committee members collectively pulled details from numerous sources. A service committee was formed to outline Gwinnett County service needs and concerns. This committee consisted of the following sorors: Cecilia Carmichael, Connie Johnson, Philippi Lawal, NeTwaski Rochell and Erma Warmack. Another committee carefully prepared a presentation packet. The committee consisted of Barbara Austin, Lynn Battle, Cecilia Carmichael, Irmatine James, Connie Johnson, Philippi Lawal, Thelona Manning, Samela Reid, Tiffany Thomas, Erma Warmack and Hazel White. This packet contained pertinent information from the newly released 2000 census data, with educational, medical, geographic and demographic statistics. Clarity, consistency and delivery were key to this presentation and its execution. Soror Philippi Lawal served as the spokesperson and while the reception and feedback to the presentation was positive and encouraging, it appeared in the best interest of all to revisit discussions of a chapter in Gwinnett County after the 2002 National Convention which was to be held in Atlanta , Georgia.

Immediately after the National Convention, Soror Walker suggested that the group, again, meet with her and Soror Jones at the 2002 Georgia State Cluster. This time the state cluster meeting was held in Columbus , Georgia. Forty-eight sorors from Gwinnett County journeyed to Columbus to meet and discuss the proposed chapter. Suffice it to say that it was a rewarding journey. The delegation was an impressive group and, as a result, was authorized to receive a chartering package with the understanding that service area concerns would be resolved with the existing chapters in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Soror Walker asked that a representative group meet with the Metro Atlanta President’s Council within a couple of weeks to review service area boundaries. The requested meeting was held in downtown Atlanta where Soror Lawal once again served as spokesperson delivering a powerful presentation to initiate the discussion. The majority of the Metro Atlanta President’s Council along with other Metro Chapter representatives and a Negotiating Team (consisting of the Steering Committee members and Soror Sharon Coghill Jones) from Gwinnett County attended this meeting. Consensus was reached, good wishes extended and the chartering packet was submitted to National Headquarters on December 9, 2002.

On January 10, Southern Regional Director, Soror Paulette Walker advised contact person, Soror Sonja Cooke, that she had received and approved the Chartering Application for the proposed chapter in Gwinnett County. The application was then forwarded to National First Vice President, Soror Louise Rice with a proposed chartering date of March 8, 2003. Soror Rice advised on January 15 that she had approved the Chartering Application and forwarded it to National President, Soror Gwendolyn Boyd. On January 24, Stephanie Spencer from National Headquarters phoned to advise that the National President had given the final approval of the Chartering Application with a recommended nomenclature of The Gwinnett County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The news was relayed immediately to the Gwinnett County Sorors. After twenty-two months, God answered our prayer.

Praises to God Almighty were extended by all!

On March 8, 2003, this chapter was established in the spirit of sisterhood with emphasis on “Accentuating Reclamation and Rededication.” God was and will always be our guide. Our sorority was founded on Christian principles. Just as the twenty-two founders looked to Him, we will maintain our unwavering faith in the Almighty LORD as we move forth in the name of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


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