PHOTO ESSAY | Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter welcomes first new Deltas in a decade

Published on March 26, 2024 at 10:19 pm

When Christina Stallings and Rodericka Wilkinson strolled onto the gray stage, the scores of people inside UNF Arena realized a red dawn was on the horizon.

VP Rodericka Wilkinson (left) and President Christina Stallings welcome new members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. inside UNF Arena on Sunday, March 24, 2024. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

It had been been 10 years since the Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. last welcomed new members. On Sunday evening, they did so in front of a cross section of Black Jacksonville that is infrequently in the same space at the same time.

Jacksonville Today thanks our sponsors. Become one.

Stallings is the chapter president, Wilkinson the first vice president. Combined, they have been members of the organization for 38 years.

The 106 newest members of one of Black America’s oldest and most respected organizations are college-educated women whose roots in Northeast Florida are deeper than many oak trees. There were mothers and daughters, grandmothers and twenty-somethings all on the same line.

This was the largest group of new initiates in Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter history.

The Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. held its new initiate presentation at UNF Arena on Sunday, March 24, 2024. Of the 106 women introduced to the organization, more than half have master’s degrees and 30% have doctorate degrees. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

“I believe it was an opportunity for us to further our collective impact for driving economic development and advance our education. We are fostering global awareness. We are promoting well-being and we are advocating for political engagement within the Jacksonville and Northeast Florida community,” Stallings said.

“It’s an opportunity to serve and look at positive change in our community. If they can see it, they can believe it. If they believe it, they can do it,” she said.

The new members hail from Out East and Moncrief, from Fleming Island and Hastings. They are doctors, lawyers, educators and entrepreneurs, political professionals and civil servants. Some appear on your television screen in the morning, others arrive in a time of need. Above all they are women who are committed to Jacksonville, sisterhood and service. More than half of the new members have master’s degrees and an estimated 30% have either a doctorate or a medical degree.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was founded on the campus of Howard University in 1913. One of its earliest actions was a march to support women’s suffrage in Washington, D.C. One of its 22 founders, Winona Cargile Alexander, lived in Jacksonville for decades before she died in 1984.

The Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter was founded shortly after Alexander moved her family to Northeast Florida in the 1940s. It has devoted the last 78 years to economic and educational development, international awareness and involvement, and promoting physical and mental health as well as political awareness and involvement.

Stallings says the chapter currently has more than 500 members.

Notable new inductees include: 904Ward CEO Kimberley Allen; Emmy Award-winning journalist Amanda DeVoe; Jacksonville University Professor Michelle Ellis; and Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department Captain Dallas Cooke.

Hundreds of people celebrated the newest Deltas inside UNF Arena in a community confluence of Black joy. They included elected officials, appointed officials, entrepreneurs, professors and members of the other National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations.

Some may know Delta Sigma Thetas by their triangle hand symbol, made with thumbs and index fingers.

“Our No. 1 focus in Delta Sigma Theta in this community is we want to make sure that we leave the community better than we found it,” Stallings said.  “Our goal is to focus on the Black community. We focus our programs around economic development…These 106 women will allow us to foster that in the community.”

The Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. holds its new initiate presentation at UNF Arena on March 24, 2024. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

Disclosure: Jacksonville Today reporter Will Brown has multiple living and deceased family members who are members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

author image Reporter email Will Brown is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. He previously reported for the Jacksonville Business Journal. And before that, he spent more than a decade as a sports reporter at The St. Augustine Record, Victoria (Texas) Advocate and the Tallahassee Democrat. Reach him at

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.