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 Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s Xi Xi Zeta Chapter in Lithonia, Georgia and did an interview with Faye Rashid the Basileus of the chapter.
The position of Basileus/president of a Black sorority chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Rashid, who works in public health, has served in the position of Basileus for two years.
We interviewed Rashid 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?
Serving as chapter president is both an honor and huge obligation that I do not view in light regard. Since my installation as chapter president, I have approached my role with a servant leader attitude. Knowing that the sorors have placed their confidence and faith in me is a privilege. It means I have to consistently do my best and be my best for the good of the chapter that I represent.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
With this being our Centennial Sorority year, one of Xi Xi Zeta Chapter’s initiatives is re-establishing and growing our Zeta Amicae Auxiliary, Zeta Amicae of Lithonia. The Zeta Amicae Auxiliary provides opportunities for non-degreed women to affiliate themselves with local graduate chapters and contribute to the goodwill of the sorority through community service projects and scholarships. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was the first sorority to establish auxiliaries. Our 12th Grand Basileus had the foresight to see what an added value all women could be to the sorority, even those who were non-degreed. Today, Zeta Amicae Auxiliaries are flourishing and serving the community shoulder-to-shoulder with us. They are truly an asset to our illustrious organization. We will also continue our focus on scholarship, as this is one of our founding principles. We recognize and understand the youth of today will one day be the leaders of tomorrow, and we have been committed to providing monetary assistance to not only DeKalb County, but to students across the Metro Atlanta area. Our scholarship committee works extremely hard to recognize students who have demonstrated academic excellence. Last, but certainly not least, we will continue our engagement and develop new activities for the residents at the rehabilitation facility where we volunteer the 3rd Saturday of every month. Our visits fill in the gap when loved ones cannot visit. The activities stimulate them mentally, physically, and emotionally. We will also continue our focus on the sorority’s National programs such as Wigs and Scarves for Awareness which is an initiative to provide head pieces for women undergoing treatment for cancer, bringing awareness to the community about prematurity through our National’s annual Prematurity Awareness Campaign, donating funds and participating in the annual March for Babies and Relay for Life, and making financial contributions to the St Jude and Hosea Helps campaigns.
What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?
I desired to be a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, because I wanted to affiliate and serve within an organization with a mission of promoting service, charity, scholarship, civil and cultural endeavors, and not to mention one that prides itself on exemplifying the highest ideals of sisterhood and finer womanhood. To know that our Founders saw the need for an organization that would not focus on elitism but instead would stand on the principles of Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood, and Finer Womanhood resonated within me. The more I thought about those principles, the more they described to me the journey I wanted to take; to be the best “me” I could be. Also, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., has many firsts and what that said to me was the women selected for membership into this organization were trailblazing thinkers. I desired to be a part of an organization that would be forward thinking enough in order to serve everyone in every community. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., was that organization.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Xi Xi Zeta Chapter is unique because while we are much smaller than many of our sister chapters, we possess a large-scale initiative and drive to positively affect girls, women, and our communities as a whole. We encompass a vast range of ages of sorors who bring a variety of talents to the chapter. Xi Xi Zeta’s size doesn’t hamper our impact in the community; in fact, it motivates us to stretch ourselves to ensure we are a positive impact wherever we serve. We are proud to call ourselves the eXhilarating Xi Xi Zeta Chapter!
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
In order to represent ourselves online in 2019, alumni chapters across all orgs need to include diversity and inclusion in our online marketing campaigns to encourage diverse underserved women to join our chapters and auxiliaries. For example, there are many autistic women with graduate degrees who would comple ment our chapters and auxiliaries. However, they are oftentimes unintentionally excluded from our organizations based on their lack of social prowess and our lack of knowledge regarding neurodiverse populations who frequently utilize the digital world. Alumni chapters should also be conscientious about how they market themselves and take full use of the online population to ensure their positive messages, events, and opportunities reach as broad an audience as possible. All marketing tools intended for online dissemination should be careful thought out and designed to ensure the highest dignity of our respective organizations. We must also take into consideration how we present ourselves online in our personal spaces because we are representatives of our chapters at all times; whether we are in or out of our colors and letters.
What does leadership mean to you?
To me, the word leadership means to serve and inspire others. As a servant leader of my chapter and community, I aid and encourage my fellow sorors in a positive and conducive manner so they will wholeheartedly embrace each other, me and most importantly, Zeta’s mission.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
The online organizational portal, “Watch The Yard”, is important to Black greekdom because it unites African American fraternities and sororities together for the purpose of brotherhood and sisterhood via positive noteworthy news, announcements and fellowship.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Brotherhood and sisterhood represent an unpenetrable unity that signifies a deep bond and fellowship between sorors and frat regarding joint missions to serve our fellow woman, man and community as a whole. It demands support; it means no matter where I am in the world, I can reach out to one of my sisters or brothers for assistance/support and they, in turn, can reach out to me. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., is constitutionally bonded with our fraternal brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. This is a bond that I value immensely and one that will forever be unbroken.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Currently, we do not have an undergraduate chapter that we support; however, once an undergraduate chapter is assigned to us we are committed to the following: First, we will lead by an exemplary example of setting a professional and encompassing tone of love and sisterhood. Second, we will be committed to ensuring the undergraduate sorors have the tools needed to be successful in all their endeavors. We currently support undergraduate chapters by participating in campaigns to financially support our undergraduates in their activities in the sorority.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Faye Rashid for her work as the Basileus of the Xi Xi Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1989.