President Obama has invited the president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority to the White House for a Tuesday afternoon meeting, ending months of hope and speculation by leaders of the nation’s largest African American sorority who have been gathered in Washington this past week for their 100th anniversary celebration.
White House spokesman Kevin Lewis confirmed that Obama will meet with Cynthia Butler-McIntyre. The conversation will come about two hours before an appearance at the convention by former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will speak during the second-to-last day of the convention, which has brought more than 40,000 members to the District.
(Marvin Joseph/TE WASHINGTON POST) - Members of Delta Sigma Theta participate in a church service for the stained glass reception at Howard University's Rankin Chapel in Washington on July 11.
Although sorority leaders said they are pleased that Obama will meet with Butler-McIntyre, many members had hoped that Obama would visit one of the largest conventions in D.C.’s history. Many members of the sorority expressed disappointment that neither the president nor first lady Michelle Obama would be making an official appearance.
On Monday, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. spoke to the Deltas. In addition to talking about the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down parts of the Voting Rights Act, Holder spoke about the shooting of Trayvon Martin and subsequent trial and acquittal of the shooter, George Zimmerman.
“They suffered a pain that no parent should endure,” Holder said of Martin’s parents. Holder said the Justice Department has already launched an investigation as to whether or not Martin’s civil rights were violated.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and group of pastors from across the country held a news conference outside the Justice Department on Monday to announce that Florida will be the “battleground,” for a new civil rights movement.
The Deltas’ conference began last week and will continue through Wednesday. Events have included a step show, an ecumenical service, a social-action luncheon, a gospel concert and the dedication of a stained-glass window — depicting African American women — at Howard University’s Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel.