Nu Xi Zeta: The First 25 Years-1986-2011
On November 29, 1986, the Nu Xi Zeta chapter was chartered to serve the Alexandria, Virginia community. Nu Xi Zeta members have a history achieving professional success, a dedication to improving our community, and share a common belief in the power of sisterhood. Many of the chapter’s early members served in leadership positions at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency, the White House, and worked for Members of Congress.
The Early Years
In March 1994, Nu Xi Zeta held a successful Symposium on Violence on Capitol Hill. Due to the prominence of Nu Xi Zeta members, the event brought together major stakeholders on Capitol Hill and in the health care community. One of the featured experts attending the symposium was the late Beverly Coleman Miller, MD, a former District of Columbia Deputy Commissioner of Health and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Early in the chapter’s history, scholarships were awarded to deserving students from T.C. Williams, and the chapter continued to develop a relationship with the awardees after the students had gone to college. Today, Nu Xi Zeta and the Nu Xi Zeta HAVE Foundation work tirelessly to identify deserving students and mentor them as they continue their educational careers.
After a period of inactivity, Nu Xi Zeta was reactivated in April 2001, by Soror Malica Ahmad, Soror Malika Jackson, Soror Chaka Donaldson (Keiller), Soror Krysta Jones, and Soror LaDonna Stevenson (Mitchell).
Moving Into the 21st Century
As we entered the 21st century, innovation and service were key to Nu Xi Zeta’s plan to grow the sisterhood and make a true impact on the community. Soror Malica Ahmad spearheaded a community technology workshop to teach web design. The Chapter initiated a partnership with the LaDrey Senior home in Alexandria playing bingo with the residents and bringing items that the residents enjoyed as prizes. The Chapter also began working with Suited for Change to help ensure low income women had appropriate business attire. In 2002 the Chapter took first place at the nationally televised Black Entertainment Television Step Off.
In addition to our service activities the Chapter began partnering with local organizations including the NAACP, Urban League and other NPHC organizations to build awareness of community issues and relationships with local government officials. The Chapter co hosted a successful reception for the Alexandria Mayor and City Council at the Alexandria City Hall.
In 2003, Nu Xi Zeta held a community health fair at Charles Houston Recreation Center, and also continued a women’s empowerment series focusing on relationships, finances and health. Youth became more of a focus for the Chapter as Nu Xi Zeta started a Pearlettes group and worked on arts and crafts including a Zora Neale Hurston stamp art project, cooking classes and field trips. The Chapter also held career fairs for students at the Chinquapin Recreation Center.
After the controversial 2000 elections, the Chapter was invigorated to ensure voter turnout. Nu Xi Zeta sponsored a successful candidate’s forum with representatives of the 2004 Democratic primary campaigns and a representative from the George W. Bush campaign at the Departmental Progressive Club in Alexandria which received coverage in the Washington Times. In support of our international ZHOPE initiative the chapter also sent Black American magazines to African nations to showcase Black pride and beauty.
Nu Xi Zeta joined the growing number of DC Metro area Blue and White Chapters in recognizing the increased impact we could have if we would join together on a more consistent basis. In 2004 we started joining to organize Founders Day celebrations every other January to include a service, social and spiritual component. Two successful community health fairs were held at Landmark Mall in Alexandria as a part of the Founders Day celebrations.
Recognizing the expanding needs of area community organizations, Nu Xi Zeta began providing direct community support to several organizations. Through the years the Chapter has supported organizations including the Lupus Foundation, Project Discovery, Charles Houston Recreation Center and Community Lodgings.
In 2006, Nu Xi Zeta began recognizing women in the community who excelled in their professional lives and as community leaders. The first woman of the year award was given to Shireen Lewis, PhD, Founder of Sister Mentors. Other winners have included Maimah Karmo, President and CEO of Tigerlily Foundation; Delegate Charniele Herring of Alexandria; Lavern Chatman, President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League; and Soror Angela Ciccolo, first Black female General Counsel for the NAACP.
In 2007 Nu Xi Zeta began providing scholarships for deserving high school seniors and awarded its first scholarship. Chapter also began working with Carpenter’s Shelter, ALIVE and Community Lodgings to provide critical outreach to families in transition and continued these partnerships for several years. Recognizing the need for so many to learn about the harmful effects of domestic violence and the resources available to survivors, Nu Xi Zeta partnered with the Alexandria Office on Women to hold educational and self defense workshops. In an effort to promote youth and family literacy the Chapter began hosting Read Across America Day in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday with the Duncan Library in Alexandria. In 2011, the event grew to over 60 participants and now includes activities and prizes.
In 2010, the Chapter founded the Nu Xi Zeta Helping Alexandria Virginia Excel Foundation, a 501c3 organization dedicated to providing scholarships to deserving Black high school seniors and focused on personal and educational development of youth ages 10- 18 in Alexandria and Arlington.
In the spirit of the phenomenal women who chartered the chapter in 1986, the women of Nu Xi Zeta are still accomplished and vivacious women, representing a myriad of industries, and serving in various leadership positions in our communities. Nu Xi Zeta women are dedicated to promoting our founding principles of sisterly love, service, scholarship and finer womanhood, in everything we do, and look forward to empowering ourselves and our community in the coming decades.