Judge Mary G. Terrell Speaks at High Tea

Lyndia Grant | 6/9/2010, 12:17 p.m.

Last Saturday, the Delta Pi Chapter of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. sponsored what is expected to become an annual 'High Tea,' at The All Nations Baptist Church in Northeast. The church is officiated over by The Reverend Dr. James Coleman. We invited the Honorable Mary G. Terrell, founder of The High Tea Society to be our keynote for the afternoon event.

Judge Terrell was nominated to the D.C. Superior Court by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate in 1997. The charismatic judge successfully raised three children and has been married for 35 years to Rev. Dr. James E. Terrell, pastor of the historic Second Baptist Church in Northwest.

Judge Terrell received her law degree from Georgetown Law Center, her Master of Arts in Teaching from Antioch College and her Bachelor of Arts from Howard University. A founder of the Dix Street Academy, an alternative school for students who have dropped out of public schools, Judge Terrell also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in India.

She is the founder of the High Tea Society, a nonprofit mentoring organization, established to provide educational and cultural enrichment for inner city girls, ages 12 to 18, who come from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and who attend D.C. public schools. During her speech, Judge Terrell provided the audience with daunting statistics about how girls are becoming a part of a growing trend.

"White girls are being arrested at a 74 percent increase, [from previous years] but our African American girls are being arrested at an alarming 106 percent increase [from previous years]," she said. The judge challenged everyone present to take responsibility for African American girls.
"Please begin a chapter of the High Tea Society, and help save our girls."

She also encouraged every member to become a mentor to a young girl; and she reminded guests that we can make a difference. The Mistress of Ceremonies, Adrienne Washington, a dynamic speaker, was nearly brought to tears when she heard the staggering numbers of girls who are being arrested. Washington told the audience of how she was reminded of her own God daughter, who was not expected to succeed. But, the tide turned.

"She just graduated this year from Shaw University," Washington said.

As chapter president/basileus, I was thrilled to have Judge Terrell as our keynote speaker. She was my first choice for this event and it was a real treat for all of us. During the 2 1/2 hour High Tea, young performers showcased their talent, with Liturgical dance by Shnydine Honore'; a poetry selection read by Alexis Ramdass; a musical selection by Victoria Okafor; a Hip-Hop dance by Swaggs Starzz; and a wonderful, youth jazz ensemble entertained guests. Our sorority's theme for youth groups is the "Eradication of Juvenile Delinquency."

The event chair, Soro Andrea Conner Roberson presented the chapter scholarship to Aja Myles who will attend Bowie State University in the fall.
Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. was founded in February, 1943 at the Lewis Business College in Detroit, Mich., by Mrs. Elizabeth Garner, an instructor at the college, assisted by her sister, Mrs. Violet Lewis, owner and president of the college.

Membership includes women in all professions, business related positions and vocationally trained occupations; in addition to young women who continue to pursue their educational goals as undergraduates. Each chapter is required to provide a showcase for aspiring young artists through the sponsorship of an annual Artist of Tomorrow program.

Many of the participants have achieved national and international acclaim. Educational and recreational programs are provided to keep
young people involved in worthwhile pursuits. The National Headquarters in Detroit, Mich., provides the space for such activities in that area.