Rosalyn Mixon Phillips is the chapter president of the Gamma Rho Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She is the leader of Jacksonville-based chapter that has more than 400 members. | Will Brown, Jacksonville TodayRosalyn Mixon Phillips is the chapter president of the Gamma Rho Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She is the leader of Jacksonville-based chapter that has more than 400 members. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today
Rosalyn Mixon Phillips is the chapter president of the Gamma Rho Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She is the leader of Jacksonville-based chapter that has more than 400 members. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

Alpha Kappa Alpha has high hopes for scholarship drive

Published on June 7, 2024 at 12:05 pm

Rosalyn Mixon Phillips says this will be an iconic weekend for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Jacksonville.

The Gamma Rho Omega chapter of the predominantly Black sorority will host its largest fundraiser in its 82-year history inside the Prime Osborne Convention Center on Saturday evening.

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IKonic: A Fusion of Pink, Arts & Culture is expected to raise at least $50,000 for scholarships as well as fund a backpack program that provided more than 10,000 meals to students from under-resourced schools in the Panama Park and Wesconnett neighborhoods.

Phillips is the Gamma Rho Omega chapter president. She is a Jacksonville native who has been a member of the chapter for 47 years and joined the sorority as an undergraduate at Florida State University in 1974.

“We have addressed needs from education to health to social justice, economic empowerment,” Phillips says. “We try to see where there are gaps in services, where there are identified needs.”

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Phillips expects Saturday’s fundraiser will become an annual event for an organization whose service tracks through the decades. It ranged from donating shoes to schoolchildren on the Northside in the 1970s to providing postpartum resources for mothers last spring.

Longtime members of the organization have stressed that their presence, as educated women who are committed to improving their community, may be just as important as their service.

As Phillips spoke inside the AKA’s sorority house, Tiffany Powell listened. This fall, Tiffany, 16, will serve as the student government president at the Paxon School for Advanced Studies.

“(They give) us more knowledge on certain topics that we weren’t really exposed to,” Tiffany says. “Sometimes, we’re expected to know things that we’ve never been taught. When people come in and they talk to us about things that we really wanted to know, but we weren’t exposed to, it gives us new knowledge on that subject.”

Tiffany says she used to be nervous as a public speaker, but the exposure to the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha through the local chapter’s connection with the I’m A Star Foundation has helped her project her voice and become more confident in all areas of life.

“Their presence just demands something great,” Tiffany says. “They come in and they walk with their head up and they are very kind. It shows me that I can be like that one day and I can command a room and get in the positions I would like to be in as I get older.”

Tiffany, who will begin her senior year at Paxon in August, says she aspires to attend Howard University and study biology, then pursue a medical degree.

The Gamma Rho Omega chapter has been entrenched in Jacksonville for 82 years. It currently has more than 400 members ranging from elected officials like Duval County Property Appraiser Joyce Morgan, health care executives including Baptist Medical Center President Nicole Thomas, educators including Estelle McKissick, judges like Rhonda Peoples-Waters and notable entrepreneurs, engineers, civil servants and other professions.

“All of us with the networks and connections in various fields — and because of the work we’ve done and the partnerships we’ve created with organizations here in Jacksonville and businesses in Jacksonville — we are a well-known commodity.

The city of Jacksonville will light up Friendship Fountain in its honor tonight.


author image Reporter 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 will@jaxtoday.org.
author image Reporter 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 will@jaxtoday.org.

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