Landy Watley

"The pages are your easel. You words are your paint. What will your picture be worth?”
Aspiring Journalist with special interst in Feature Writing, Columns,
Investigative Journalism, and Speech Writing

A Call to Sisterhood

A Call to Sisterhood: The History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Written by: RauLanda L. Watley Date: January 10, 2013 Photo Courtesy of www.aka1908.com A great visionary once said "To experience a call is ordinary how we answer is what makes it extraordinary.” In 1907, visionary Ethel Hedgeman Lyle experienced a call to empower women through sisterhood and service. Lyle set out to answer a call that would establish an entity so extraordinary that it would inspire women of color to achieve greatness despite the dysfunctions surrounding them. However, the dream did not evolve over night .With careful planning, thought, and consideration she recruited other dynamic women to assist with her dream. In the spring of 1907, Hedgman began meeting regularly with Miss Ethel Robinson to discuss starting a sorority at Howard University. From that summer up until the spring semester of 1908, Hedgeman and a group of young ladies worked diligently to refine their plans. A review of commencement programs show that of the 148 students graduating from Howard between 1908 and 1911 only 25 were women. Fromthe pool, Ethel Hedgeman meticulously entrusted eight to help her vision. The group of eight subsequently chose seven sophomores for admission. The final group of 16 represented a rare breed of women who used their talents to blaze trails through Howard University . Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, January 15, 1908. The founders set out to awaken people of color using the torch of resilience to lighten darkness. With the advent of the 1908-1909 school years, outreach began through events such as campus wide spring carnival, an Ivy Day, and bringing social advocate Jane Addams of the famed Hull House to Howard. Alpha Kappa Alpha had established a presence that would continue to grow. Dean Kelly Miller of the College of Arts and Sciences noted that the girls had brought lifeto the campus, calling their "spirit and enthusiasm" contagious. However, it was not until Alpha Kappa Alpha's destiny was threatened that Nellie Quander became a reckoning force to exalt the organization to new heights. Quander knew she had to protect AKA's legacy after she listened to proposals for an entirely new sorority. She named lieutenants, Norma Boyd and Minnie Smith, and together they rallied AKA's true believers and organized a campaign that culminated with the incorporation of Alpha Kappa Alpha on January 29, 1913.With this the founding principles and brands of Alpha Kappa Alpha would never be abolished but strengthened. Just ten years after incorporation AKA had established a national presence with 28 chapters. These chapters range from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast and extend as far north as the Great Lakes. AKA not only expanded its presence but its servitude to include political awareness, but the pioneers established a legacy of leadership through projects such as the Mississippi Health Project, Cleveland Job Corps Center, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation, the National Non-Partisan Council on Public Affairs, and the Economic Sustainability Paradigm. Throughout its rich history, AKA has held many honors including launching the nation's first mobile health clinics and operating the first Job Corps center for women, AKA also pioneered initiatives in healthcare, was a first responder for the NAACP, and launched the first Negro lobby in the nation's capital. The sorority was also amongst the first women's group and the first sorority to earn observer status at the United Nations. 106 years later, AKA has produced some of society’s most eminent women ranging from government officials, health professionals, scientists, and technologies to artists and worldwide entertainers. Distinguished Alpha Kappa Alpha women still garnish themselves in ivies and pearls not only as symbols of the sorority; but as crowns of endurance that represent the struggle and sacrifice sisters have endured to establish the first organization designed to inspire women of color to be great despite the dysfunction that surrounded them. Ethel Hedgeman aspired to inspire women to achieve greatness in every endeavor. She promoted educational advancement, social awareness, and professional growth. And with this aspiration fueling her she transformed an ordinary call into an extraordinary force that would promote educational and social cultivation through the true bond of sisterhood. Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated take on the charge of upholding such an extraordinary answer to what started as an ordinary call. These women carry out the Alpha Kappa Alpha destiny by unselfishly asking not what the sorority can do for them but what they can do for the sorority to ensure that 106 years from now future Sorors will be proud to stand on their shoulders just as they stand on the 20 women who fortified the legacy. Alpha Kappa Alpha continues to inspire young women providing guidance and security to become visionaries such as Ethel Hedgeman and educational pioneers and record setting athletes like Lucy Diggs Slowe. For it is not the fuel that keeps the Alpha train choooing but the unbreakable bond of sisterhood that allows them to defy all odds. God made them women, fate made them sisters, and the relentless will to spread the light of service to all mankind makes them pioneers. A Call to Sisterhood: The History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Written by: RauLanda L. Watley Date: January 10, 2013

The S is for Student

The S is for Student By: RauLanda L. Watley Oral Communications June 2011 An athlete is defined by Merriam-Webster as a person who is skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina. A student is defined as a scholar, learner, and one who attends school. When combined you “student athlete” which is a term coined to mean a student who participates in a sporting activity. Keyword being student. This word is slowly becoming an oxymoron on campuses across the nation. It seems that universities around the country and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, has forgotten that the student comes before the athlete. They have continued to allow the achievement gap between student athletes and non-athletes to widen. All the while giving ball these ball carrying, under achievers the same privileges and more as the students, no athlete, that meet and excel pass their much higher standard. It is time that school athletic officials and the NCAA put the “student” back into“student athlete,” by doing away with the mediocre standards in place now and raising the grade point average of all college athletes.NCAA requires that all athletes have a 2.0 or better grade point average, which is a C average. This 2.0 and a good throwing arm can afford an athlete the opportunity to have his/her tuition paid for, room and board, and even books. However, the 3.5 that the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff requires of its University academic scholarship holders pays for tuition and room and board, but does not cover books. The Chancellor’s Scholarship, which requires a 3.2 GPA, covers tuition alone. So, non athletes are expected to have a GPA of 12-15 points higher than student-athletes, yet they can not be awarded the same things. This is ludicrous. Uapblionsroar.com reported that UAPB 14 sports combined for a 3.0 GPA in Fall 2008, which marked the first time is school history. It took 138 years for the athletic department to produce an average GPA of 3.0, well bravo. Meanwhile, non-athlete students have had no choice but to make better grades in order to pay for school. True, athletes have rigorous practices and hectic traveling schedules. Some non-athletes may have a child, a job, or some other time consuming responsibility. We can all come up with an excuse as to why we can not meet certain standards. However, athletes do not have to because they have been steered to travel on the road of low standards. It is time to put them on the same road with the rest of us. There is no reason why the athletic GPA requirement should be less than a 2.5 or even higher. There needs to be an effective plan of action made to transition into higher achievement. Must we wait another 138 years for the athletic department to come up to speed with the rest of us and produce a 3.5 GPA? Officials are sending the wrong message to athletes by holding them to a lower standard. A message that classroom performance can be mediocre, as long as field performance is A+. It is time to send out a message that the student comes before the athlete. College is not a sports training camp, it is an institute of higher learning. Therefore, every student’s mission should be to obtain an education...not play a sport. So, let’s reverse the message and raise the standards by putting the “student” back in “student athlete.” References "Academic Eligibility." NCAA Public Homepage. National Collegiate Athletic Association, n.d. Web. 29 Jun 2011. . Blad, Evie. "Graduation rate Plan would Bar UAPB players ." Arkansas Democratic Gazette 28 March 2010: 17. Print. Dictionary." merriam-webster . Web. . "Forms of Funding-Scholarships." The Graduate School . Univerisity ofArkansas at Pine Bluff, n.d. Web. 29 Jun 2011. . "Golden Lions Scoreboard." UAPB Athletics. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Athletic Department , n.d. Web. 29 Jun 2011. .

New Orleans the Hopeful

New Orleans the Hopeful RauLanda L. Watley News Media Writing Skills February 10, 2011 The sweet smell of authentic beignets dancing from Café Du Monde, Cajun spices from the crawfish festival intoxicating the air, the Steamboat Natchez cruising down the Mississippi, Praline factory shops teasing noses with rich, caramel pralines whose sweetness ooze through shop windows and creep under doorways. The tarot card reader feeds spectators hungry to look into their future. Black stallions click clacking down the street pulling buggies filled with tourists anxious to explore the French Quarter. Welcome to New Orleans, the city that never sleeps, always eats, and no matter what tornado, flood or hurricane...does not miss a beat. The Crescent City offers so many things to see and do, and the food is definitely a do. So go ahead and throw your mouth a party with a big bowl of gumbo. You never know what you're going to get because natives don’t hesitate to throw it all in the pot. From juicy Andouille sausage to lump crab meat and juicy shrimp. And let's not forget the little bug that packs a big punch, crawfish. Your mouth will explode with flavor whether they're steamed up with sausage and corn, fried crisp with a side of Remaulaude sauce, or soft and sautéed drizzled in a cream sauce tossed over a steamy bowl of pasta. My taste buds are tingling just thinking about the goodness! But wait, there is always more. Boudin sausage for a unique eating experience as your mouth will dance with each bite when this Cajun sausage is rolled up into bite size balls. It's like an exuberant explosion of flavor.But the belly filling is only the beginning of the fun. New Orleans is packed with a culture that you'll feel the moment you cross that 25 mile bridge. The culture exudes history and excitement. But most importantly people that refuse to let their roots be forgotten. The widely known Bourbon Street draws natives and tourists alike to see what outrageous happenings they may find. You’ll see the Cajun expression “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” penned on t shirts, cups, and even hanging on banners. And what does it mean? Well, let the good times roll, of course. Good times in New Orleans have been rolling since 1718 when Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville founded New Orleans. Also known as “Rue Bourbon,” the infamous street sits at the heart of the French Quarter extending 13 blocks from Canal St. to Esplanade Avenue. And of course there’s history amongst the fun in some of the favorites like Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop. This bar and restaurant’s walls carry the mystery of old New Orleans. If you keep on down the street you’re sure to see a street band with blended instruments of pots, pans, and tubas entertain a crowd with their rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In. ”Girls dancing, boys staring, and everyone fascinated by the contagious free spirited nature of the most famous street in America. The French Quarter boost a more calming atmosphere being the home of the beautiful Jackson Square where folks picnic, play, and some even say their "I do's." The square is marked by its namesake, a statue of General Andrew Jackson on his bronze horse. The breathtaking Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis King of France, St. Louis Cathedral, provides a picture perfect background to the square. The oldest Catholic Cathedral in continual use in the United States, faithful members and wondering tourists both gather to adore the triple steeples that tower above and the painted glass windows and ceiling. Real music lovers will appreciate the authentic Jazz bars in the French Quarter. Grab yourself a beignet and head on down for some swingin and swaying in at the Balcony Music Club. Perfectly located between Bourbon Street and Frenchman, BCM showcases new and established musicians of jazz, blues, and funk music. You’ll be sure to walk on it once you hear the tunes booming down the block. Whether you are an art critic, music lover, or a serial shopper, you’ll find it in the French Quarters. There are dozens of shops and boutiques filled with trinkets showcasing New Orleans pride. The spirit of New Orleans runs as deep as the Mississippi River. Natives pride fuels their love and their love fuels their relentless efforts to revive their home after the devastating Hurricane Katrina. There have been dozens of relief efforts put toward rejuvenation. The 4th and 9th ward continue to suffer the damage of that gloomy 24th day of August 2005; however, they stand as reminders of that which was lost and that which has been gained. With an NFL championship under its belt and a bushel of hope under its wings New Orleans keeps rising. Rising with the people are that amazingly loyal and obviously determined. They strive each day holding their crescent moon in the most valuable, indestructible place, their hearts. America the land of opportunity, New Orleans the land of hope. Now, aren't you glad Jefferson made that Louisiana Purchase?

UAPB and Tom Joyner Party for a Purpose

RauLanda Watley Public Relations Latonya Richardson March 6, 2010 TOM JOYNER AND UAPB PARTY for a PURPOSE It’s a party! But wait, it’s not just any old party...it’s a party with a purpose! Since 1998, the Tom Joyner Foundation has been “partying” to help keep students enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Each month the foundation selects a school to receive its support. The foundation has raised more than 55 million dollars to help students who are single parents, high achievers, and distinguished male students. The foundation’s largest fundraiser is the “Fantastic Voyage” cruise, which raises over one million dollars every year. This money, along with donations and other fundraisers, is split between the 11 HBCUs selected as the “Tom Joyner School of the Month.” The 2010 list includes Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL (January), Philander Smith College, Little Rock, AR (June), and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR (November). The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff kicked off its very own “Party with a Purpose,” last Friday, October, 29. The university hosted a carnival like initiative that included food, games, and other entertainment for the students and community. This event marked the beginning of the month long fundraising campaign. Funds will go to support the UAPB Lifeline Fund, which provides support to students in dire need. Other universities have come up with their own “purpose parties” to help raise money. After all, if you are going to party...it may as well be for a purpose.
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