Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. is the oldest black Greek letter organization to ever participate in the Rose Parade in its 124-year history. The parade’s theme this year was “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” named in honor of the Dr. Seuss book.
One of the book’s most famous quotes: “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” underscores just how far your imagination can take you.
When the sorority’s 22 founders collaborated and created the public service organization, they could never have imagined this day and that one of the places would be along Sierra Madre Boulevard at the Tournament of Roses Parade where nearly 39 million Americans could behold this salute to sisterhood and service.
The awe-inspiring float’s theme, “Transforming Communities through Sisterhood & Service,” was a highlight at the 124th Rose Parade on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Pasadena, Calif. It featured a sculptured globe highlighted with a spectacular floral tribute that emphasizes Delta Sigma Theta’s commitment to humanitarian efforts worldwide and a rotating hexagon, with six magnificently detailed floral-graphs, took center stage and highlighted Delta’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust program: economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, and political awareness and involvement.
Founded in 1913 at Howard University, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s inaugural Rose Parade float was in celebration of its 100 years of commitment to excellence and international sisterhood of more than 300,000 college-educated women. Today, Delta is the largest African-American Greek-lettered sorority in the world with over 1,000 chapters in the United States, England, Japan, Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Republic of Korea.
The 12 float riders included the sorority’s national president, Cynthia Butler-McIntyre, national executive committee and seven past presidents. One hundred out-walkers flanked the sides of the float to represent Delta Sigma Theta’s 100 years of public service. Twenty-two out-walkers walked in stride in honor of Delta Sigma Theta’s 22 founders on this chilly winter morning.
Over 15,000 roses, including red Black Magic and Freedom, formed the lush garden beds running throughout the float. There was a plethora of crimson and cream, the sorority’s official colors. Crème de la Cream and Rouge Baiser roses intermixed with phalaenopsis orchids, Casablanca lilies, euphorbia, hydrangea, bells of Ireland and viburnum were also featured.
British primatologist Jane Goodall, who has spent much of her life in Tanzania studying chimpanzees, served as this year’s grand marshal. She admitted her first hearing of the parade was upon the request to participate.