Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Alpha Beta Delta Omega Chapter, formerly known as the Windy City PEARLS (Pearls Engaged in Reactivating a Legacy of Service), was chartered by 37 members on December 12, 2021 at the Chicago Marriott Suites, Downers Grove, Illinois.
The vision for Alpha Beta Delta Omega Chapter began in the Summer 2013 when a group of members were fellowshipping and discussing current events, issues that continue to plague the black community, and opportunity areas to serve. While Chicago is known for being an iconic cultural and economic center, looming challenges exist such as an unequal distribution of resources, access to economic and social opportunities, racial inequality, and lack of social mobility. With these issues in mind, a journey was set forth with the mission to innovatively pursue more ways to serve the underserved while being of Service to All Mankind.
The first formal meeting to convene a proposed strategy to form an interest group took place on the evening of December 2, 2016 at Rani Morrison’s home. Afrika Alsup, Allison Claybon, Cherya Jenkins, Tequilla Lopez, Danielle McCain, and Ericka Moore were in attendance along with Claudia Holland and Kenita Perry-Bell. From the first formal meetings in 2016 through 2020, the core group of members grew by networking, hosting sisterly gatherings, and attending sorority cluster retreats, regional conferences, international conference, leadership seminars, and Founders' Day celebrations. During this period of growth, the group voted and chose the name Windy City PEARLS.
In September 2020, the Windy City PEARLS, comprised of members from various career fields - healthcare, law, marketing, business, education, and many other fields - submitted the application to establish an interest group. On November 15, 2020, the 30th Central Regional Director Sonya L. Bowen, notified the Windy City PEARLS of its approval to become an official interest group. The first official meeting for the Windy City PEARLS took place virtually on December 20, 2020. During the meeting, the bylaws were approved and officers were elected.
The challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic, including providing service in an exclusively-virtual environment, did not stop the Windy City PEARLS from executing impactful and high-quality programming and service. In one year, the Windy City PEARLS donated more than 3,000 items to community-partner organizations addressing homelessness through our signature Pay-It-Forward Event held in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, mobilized more than 100 people to participate in a cardio workout for Pink Goes Red™, helped reach more than 25,000 individuals through the Protect Chicago COVID-19 texting campaign, donated more than 50 pillowcase shirts for boys in Haiti, and hosted an interactive, HBCU panel discussion and financial planning workshop for students and parents. Additionally, the Windy City PEARLS forged relationships with community and nonprofit partners by coaching aspiring teen entrepreneurs, developing tools to help refugee girls learn English, donating more than 500 eyeglasses to Lions Club International, donating 150 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls, and generating awareness about mental-health issues in the black and brown communities with a co-ed panel of experts. The Windy City PEARLS were proud to launch a first-of-its-kind fundraiser featuring minority-owned brands grossing more than $10,000, allowing the Windy City PEARLS to award college scholarships and more.
The members of Alpha Beta Delta Omega Chapter seek to improve the Northwest/West Side Chicago communities it serves while operating at a high level of engagement and investment, cultivating sisterhood, and fostering a highly-collaborative and cooperative culture that prioritizes service.