Dr. Boyce: Delta Sigma Theta’s Treatment of AIDS Activist Hardly Reflects Sisterhood
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
This week, AIDS activist Rae Lewis-Thornton was inexplicably booted out of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense to me. In a passionate and revealing video that she released to the world, Lewis-Thornton says that the Executive Director of the sorority, Rose McKinney, took issue with some “inappropriate pictures” on Lewis-Thornton’s website.
The word “inappropriate” got my attention, but from the way Lewis-Thornton describes it, the pictures were of her and other honorary members dressed in ceremonial clothing. She says she was scolded like a child for not removing the pictures fast enough. Lewis-Thornton also says that, without warning, she received a phone call from the national president stating that she was no longer a member of the sorority.
Since the release of her statement about the incident, Ms. Lewis-Thornton’s video has gotten over 40,000 views. I’ve received scores of emails and phone calls from members of the sorority, who are outraged over what happened to her. Some of the Deltas seemed to feel, as Ms. Lewis-Thornton claims, that her dismissal may be the result of discrimination and disrespect for her work as an AIDS activist. Lewis-Thornton is correct in her assertion that it’s hard to imagine other honorary members, such as Ruby Dee, being treated in the same way.
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