CYNTHIA P. WHITE Contributor
ST. PETERSBURG — The Finer Women of Zeta Gamma Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated presented its second annual Finer Woman Tea Saturday, March 23 at Lake Vista Community Center.
With a theme of southern charm and hospitality, the room was transformed into a grand tea parlor with tables adorned in royal blue and white, topped with delicate tea sets and fine China. Our members were equally resplendent in hats, fascinators and gloves as we welcomed family, friends and honored guests.
For as much fun that was had, the intent of the function was support for our efforts to provide scholarships opportunities for young ladies graduating high school and endeavoring to attain post-secondary education.
The founding tenets of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is its commitment to service, scholarship, sisterly love and to live out the noble concept of finer womanhood. Our Finer Womanhood Tea is our opportunity to widen the circle of sisterhood by recognizing trailblazing women in our community along with honoring a sister from our sorority who exhibits all the traits that identify her as a Zeta in addition to going above and beyond in the call of duty.
Daphne Lampley presided over the festivities. Zeta Gamma Zeta Chapter president Lisa Wilson favored us with a warm welcome and the occasion. Gibbs High School senior and Archonette Destiny Perkins provided a moving rendition of Langston Hughes’ poem “Mother to Son.” Other Zeta Phi Beta youth contributed with a stirring interpretative dance.
District 7 Councilwoman and keynote speaker Lisa Wheeler-Bowman challenged us as women and as a broader constituency to take a stand and right wrongs, principally as they affect our marginalized populations such as the elderly, those living in or near the poverty level as well as those who are challenged with finding adequate, safe and affordable housing. These populations are least able to advocate on their own behalf.
Our honorees this year included our speaker, Wheeler-Bowman, who is also chair of the city council and has served on a myriad of committees with direct impact on the wellbeing of south St. Petersburg residents. She is a woman of both words and actions.
Also being recognized for community activism were Empress Tia Lofton and Mika Slaughter Nelson. Introduced by Elizabeth Perkins, Empress Lofton is first a philanthropist rendering aid those in need of assistance ranging from living expenses, funerals and expenses to begin or complete educational endeavors.
Through her plus-size boutique, Lofton donates to three charity fashion show fundraisers annually in St. Petersburg. She is involved in feeding the homeless, sickle cell awareness and many more.
Introduced by Juanita Wilson, awardee Slaughter Nelson, director of the St. Petersburg Library System, has served in that capacity for the last seven years of her 17 years as an information professional. Her calling to be a public servant comes as a result of her work in the joint-use academic/public libraries.
In this arena, she has been able to contribute to community development by decreasing the digital divide and poverty gap through knowledge access.
The Zeta of the Year award was bestowed upon Tarsha Hagan, who not only serves with the sorority but is engaged in the community with activities such as volunteering with the St. Anthony’s Triathlon event, servings as a mentor for the Girlfriends Program and serving on the board of the DOS Cresent Foundation.
Our congratulations and bests wishes are extended to our award recipients and our thanks to all who supported our efforts.
Photography was provided by Blue Crisis Images, catering by Wanda Stewart and tabletops provided by Dontae Mells.