Tennessee Democratic Legislator Pushes Special Recognition for Her Sorority Under Resolution; House Passes It

Barbara Cooper


The House passed a Democratic legislator’s resolution to award special recognition for her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA). The resolution sponsor, State Representative Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis), framed the official acknowledgement as a recognition honoring law enforcement prior to the House floor vote. However, the enacting clause doesn’t mention law enforcement at all. Instead, the enacting clause only recognizes a “virtual celebration” for AKA members. The resolution will now head to the Senate.

“[W]e recognize Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Day at the Capitol, May 6, 2021, a virtual celebration for the AKA members from the South Eastern Region of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee,” it states.

Nowhere in Cooper’s explanation of the bill before the House did she mention that the resolution would honor her sorority. Instead, she mentioned in the tail end of her statement that AKA brought the resolution to her.

“[It] simply recognizes, acknowledges, and respects the work and dedication of our public safety officer members who put their lives and risk every day to serve and protect the public without regard to race, color, and creed,” claimed Cooper.

The resolution received near-unanimous support in the House; only three legislators abstained their votes – State Representatives Debra Moody (R-Covington), Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro), and Chris Todd (R-Madison County).

George Floyd’s death and the January 6th breach of the U.S. Capitol building were originally a part of the resolution, too. In that version, the preamble stated that part of the reason for the resolution had to do with how those events “exposed riffs [sic] in the relationships between police and the communities they protect and serve.” The adopted amendment to the resolution deleted that statement.

Although the resolution doesn’t mention social justice, the AKA event flyer does. The virtual sorority event is scheduled for May 6 at the Tennessee Capitol. It is focused on legislative activism and engagement.

“Excellence in Engagement: Connecting AKAs to: […] Decide on the legislation, public policy and social justice issues that are most critical to our communities,” reads the AKA flyer.

Like most other sororities and fraternities, AKA has a long history with issues such as hazing. One prominent incident in 2002 concerned the alleged drowning of two women – though AKA national headquarters denied that the women involved were a part of an official AKA chapter.

Earlier this month, an AKA chapter at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, received a cease and desist order after administrators received a report that members had been hazed “for years.” This past week, it was reported that members of an AKA chapter were being investigated for undisclosed, hazing-related reasons at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded in 1908 on the campus of Howard University. It bills itself as the nation’s “oldest Greek-letter organization established by African-American college-educated women.” AKA says it has nearly 300,000 members in more than 1,000 graduate and undergraduate chapters across the United States and the world. Notable members of the sorority include actress Phylicia Rashad; rapper Wande; and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The Tennessee Star reached out to State Rep. Cooper for comment on the resolution. She didn’t respond by press time.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Barbara Cooper” by Barbara Cooper.







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7 Thoughts to “Tennessee Democratic Legislator Pushes Special Recognition for Her Sorority Under Resolution; House Passes It”

  1. Dee

    LOL: Why not honor all the sororities and frats in one resolution and be done?

    What makes AKA special?

  2. Jay

    Most if not all should be primaried and tossed out

  3. Very concerned

    This is a lie, that’s what’s wrong with this! It was suppose to honor law enforcement? And mentions nothing about law enforcement, than its a lie. This speaks volumes about Barbara Cooper and her lack of integrity. This woman has been up there way too long….time for positive change in her seat.

  4. 83ragtop50

    All of these resolutions are a waste of time and tax dollars. Of course the legislators have nothing better to do(sarcasm).

    I honestly believe that the Tennessee Assembly does it very best work when it is NOT in session.

  5. Roger

    Nothing politicians love more from both parties than a little self patting on the back and self promotion.

  6. Cannoneer2

    What makes her resolution any different from the hundreds of similar congratulatory Republican resolutions??

    1. Horatio Bunce

      None, really. One caption bill is as deceptive as the next. Kudos to Cooper for exposing that the Republican supermajority either doesn’t read the bills or doesn’t care.

      At least she didn’t make some secret deal with Facebook for a data center while they are censoring the free speech of your constituents while you have them locked down and “non-essential” losing their businesses. Who did that?