AKAs celebrate one of their own

Terri Lipsey Scott, Rene Flowers, Deborah Figgs-Sanders and Arthurene Williams

BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Sunday, March 8, was International Women’s Day, and it only seemed fitting for Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated would honor one of their own, whose recent election to City Council District 5 makes her a trailblazer.  

“Both nationally and locally, Alpha Kappa Alpha women have made significant strides towards uplifting our communities and advocating for the rights of those most in need,” said chapter President Lisa Brody, Esq. “Today, we are extremely honored that our member, Councilwoman Deborah Figgs-Sanders, will continue to carry that torch locally.”

The Carter G. Woodson African American Museum was pack with sorority members, family, and friends of the first African-American female to be elected to District 5 of the St. Petersburg City Council. Figgs-Sanders has now joined the local Alpha Kappa Alpha elected officials club with such members as School Board member Rene Flowers and the Honorable Circuit Court Judge Patrice Moore. 

“What better day and occasion to celebrate you other than on this special day of women’s history,” said Terri Lipsey Scott, executive director of the Woodson Museum. “Your history as an African-American female in our community will resonate beyond time.”

Figgs-Sanders thanked her family and everyone who stood behind through the years.

“Please know that I did not know that I would be making history. All I knew is that I wanted to serve. I did not realize I was going to be the first African American for District 5; I did not know I was going to be the first African-American woman to represent District 5,” said Figgs-Sanders, who is in her 31st year of membership with of the sorority.

She asked for prayers and understanding of the jobs that elected officials perform. Figgs-Sanders said not many people realize how much work is done behind closed doors and how many phone calls are received.

Not only did she ask for prayers, but she asked the community to be present.

“Be present. Silence, to me, is a show of acceptance. And y’all, there’s a lot of stuff we cannot accept. There’s a lot of voices that need to be heard. There’s a lot of things that need to be said.” 

Figgs-Sanders and other local ladies will be honored April 26 at the First Ladies in African American History event at the St. Petersburg Marriot, 12600 Roosevelt Blvd. N.

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