I am a pale white girl who wanted nothing to do with any sorority in college. So it may surprise you that at the age of 31, I am walking around Washington, D.C. desperately wishing I was an Alpha Kappa Alpha.

AKA is the nation’s oldest black sorority, founded in 1908 at Howard University, right near my home. They are celebrating their centennial this week in D.C., which means that 25,000 sorors are walking around our nation’s capital, gloriously festooned for the celebration.

Conventions in D.C. are usually two-day, staid affairs of business types: day one, wear suit in convention center; day two, wear suit and lobby on the Hill. So it has been a welcome breath of fresh air to have these ladies bring so much color to our little town this week. And by color, I mean PINK and GREEN. Lots of it.

On Sunday, women were walking laps around the convention center in pink and green tracksuits (pink jacket with AKA logo on back, pink pants with green piping on the side, bright green shirt with pink collar). On Monday, they were totally decked out in varied pink and green attire — from their glorious pink hats to the shiny green shoes. Tuesday it was all in white — white dresses, white shoes, white hose (!!). Wednesday, back in pink and green, this time is seemed to be more of a MAGENTA and kelly green affair. Thursday started with a march on the Capitol, all in AKA t-shirts. As I rode home from work that night I saw them headed to their formal at the convention center … women in bright pink gowns, little girls in sweet pink and green polka dotted dresses.

They are wrapping up their weeklong affair today. I saw some of them — wearing pink and green shirts again, of course! — packing up their cars this morning.

I love the outfits, but I also love the AKA family pride. Grandmothers, daughters and grandaughters marched to the Capitol yesterday. The littlest wore “future AKA” t-shirts. I found myself caught in their tide on my way to work, and I have to admit it — I weeped. (I’m a weeper, ok?) It was a glorious sight, all these beautiful African-American women celebrating together. How I will miss them and their wonderful outfits!
Happy 100th birthday, AKA!

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