In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorors of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Nassau Alumnae Chapter in Nassau County on on Long Island New York and did an interview with Jackie Morrison-Brailsford the president of the chapter.
The position of president of a Black sorority chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes.
We interviewed Morrison-Brailsford, who is a Spring 1996 initiate of her sorority and talked to her about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
Being Chapter President affords me the honor and opportunity to uphold the legacy of my beloved sorority while modeling servant-leadership which upholds the legacy of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
This chapter year our chapter will be significant agents in ensuring underrepresented communities are counted in the 2020 census. The impact of representation will improve our communities in the form of the distribution of funding and services that are not currently being received as a result of skewed data from a decade ago.
Another initiative that my chapter will be engaging in this year is partnering with “likeminded” organizations and businesses for additional streams of revenue in the form of sponsorship and grants. Now that Sororities and Fraternities are well established and organized we now must now level up and strategize to be servants from a business model mindset to ensure sustainability for ourselves and community programs.
What made you want to pledge Delta Sigma Theta?
I wanted to be initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. because that was the one organization I closely identified with. As a youngster and throughout my development up until this very day I am known to be courageous and to have an innate opposition to status quos that are not beneficial to all. The Founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (DST) exhibited and set the trend of courage within our sorority with their very first public act when they marched in the Women’s Suffrage Parade on March 3, 1913 less than two months after being founded on January 13, 1913. Despite the volatile threat that loomed over the participants in the march, the women of DST risked being a larger target for harm by being the only African American women’s organization to participate because their vision and purpose was greater than themselves. Due to the fact Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was founded on Christian Principles, serving on behalf others is never an afterthought as they continue to be trailblazers while championing for others.
During my undergraduate years I was a single mother who attended school with my daughter because there was a nursery on campus however I did not have the time, support, nor resources to pledge back then while raising such a precious life. A study partner from my Intermediate Spanish course who was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. assured me that a dream deferred should never be considered a dream denied. Many other women poured positively into me academically, emotionally, and spiritually who I emulated along my journey unbeknownst to me, too were members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Once a chance became available to me in 1996 to seek membership into a sorority the choice was clear, there was no decision to be made. Hence 23 years later of uninterrupted service to my beloved organization as a member on various committees and holding offices as Collegiate Advisor, Social Action Chair, Program Planning Chair, Financial Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, 2nd Vice President, 1st Vice President, and now the 22nd President of Nassau Alumnae Chapter, words cannot express my humbled gratitude and joy. A dream was deferred but not denied, my circumstance is now my legacy and my Soror.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Nassau Alumnae Chapter is unique in that its cross-generational membership is almost proportionally represented and committed to the endeavors and initiatives of the chapter to ensure success that benefits the community. Our chapter takes great pride in thinking outside of the box in creating/presenting inaugural innovative public service programming under the Sorority’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust in the areas of Educational Development, Economic Development, International Awareness and Involvement, Physical and Mental Health, and Political Awareness and Involvement. Our collective efforts are evidenced by a long list of National and Regional Awards/Recognition that we’ve accumulated over the years: Social Action, Regional Day of Service, Risk Management, and Economic Development to name a few.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni/alumnae chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
Alumni/Alumnae chapters should invest in their members in becoming knowledgeable with and visible on online platforms. Technology continues to be the present and future direction of our global society. These platforms serve to connect and enhance the missions of various entities for success. Therefore if the digital world is another phase in humanity’s evolutionary process towards growth, then it would be advantageous for Alumni/Alumnae chapters to utilize this resource to optimize and sustain themselves. Via the digital world, chapters’ good works can be acknowledged and displayed and have the potential to make them more relevant, familiar, and household names on a global scale.
What does leadership mean to you?
To me leadership is not a position but an active role that is entrusted to others to be selflessly executed for a cause, idea, or purpose. When assuming leadership, although the person in that role may have personal motives to propel what they have been commissioned to do, there is always a slippery dance to be performed in not allowing the ego of the position to overshadow the well-being and expense of the benefactors that should be served. Leadership is one of the greatest opportunities for influence therefore it must be stewarded appropriately to yield untapped gifts in others. Leaders build leaders to ensure the work, mission, and new visions carry on.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important to Greekdom because it allows all organizations an opportunity to be celebrated and showcased as one collective. This vehicle is a “home” for African ancestry in Greekdom to reconvene, promote, and display the college experience in the black culture.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means although one may not be related by blood/family there’s a spiritual bond that keeps us connected for the purpose of developing and sustaining our best selves as ordained by God. Sisters keep one another accountable in the pursuit of helping and ensuring that each other’s dreams/goals are attained. Sisterhood is for life. Just as no one gets to pick their blood family in most cases, you do not get to pick your Greek sisters that are chosen for you. Therefore, there should always be a level of respect, allegiance, and loyalty in Sisterhood similar to that in a family.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Nassau Alumnae Chapter currently has four active undergraduate chapters in our service area. Although our support is continuous and comes in many forms (property regalia, personal crisis, etc.), we primarily provide assistance in three major areas. We support our undergraduate chapters in the form of guidance by serving on their advisory councils as mentors to teach and encourage collegiates to learn all chapter management experiences. We also serve as mentors and resources for their individual future professions. The second area of support that is provided to undergraduates is with their service projects and programming. Intentional collaborations not only help to alleviate expenses that most undergraduate chapters incur, but while doing so it affords opportunities for relationship building/bonding that increases the likelihood for undergraduates to transition into Alumnae Chapters, remain financial, and continue their lifetime commitment to serve. Financial assistance is the third way that we support our undergraduates. Our members/chapter supplement or fully support collegiate attendance to Local, Regional and National meetings and events (Registration, travel, lodging, etc.) yearly.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Jackie Morrison-Brailsford for her work as the president of the Nassau Alumnae Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1963.