National Organization Celebrates Power of 79 years of Friendship Building in Hollywood

Hollywood – The 71st National Conclave of The Girl Friends®, Incorporated convenes at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa from Thursday, May 25 – Sunday, May 28.
Over six hundred fifty guests representing 44 chapters in 26 states will meet to reaffirm the power of affiliation and mutual support in enhancing personal and community development.

Members of The Girl Friends®, Inc., an organization of African-American professional women, have been in the forefront of community involvement and leadership since the inception of the organization in 1927. The organization began with two women newly enrolled in college and was incorporated in 1938 by future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the spouse of Past National President Vivian Marshall of the Baltimore Chapter. The founding premise is that ‘friendship’ is the bedrock of personal achievement and productivity. The spouses and significant others of the members are referred to as “Boy Friends”.

Mayor Mara Giulianti of Hollywood and US Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek (Retired) will greet the attendees at the Friday morning business session under the helm of National President M. Jean Clarkson Butler of the Orlando Chapter. During the business session, the annual national project will be selected, and new officers will be elected. Butler says of the organization – “There are no limitations placed on an organization based on friendship. Friendship is a powerful entity that dissolves apathy, and closes the time gap between the inception of a dream and its reality.’’

This year’s theme, “It’s a Tropical Cruise”, embraces the cultural diversity of South Florida, transforming the hotel convention center into a ‘ship’ cruising the tropics. “Ports of Call” are:

• Thursday, May 25 – The Islands of the Bahamas ‘Junkanoo’ national reception’

• Friday, May 26 – A Puerto Rican ‘Rainforest Evening’

• Saturday, May 27 – ‘Trinidad Fete’ luncheon; “Historic” Cuba for a ‘Havana Night’s’ cocktail reception, and ‘Club Copa Cabana’ dinner dance.

• Sunday, May 28 – ‘Return’ to South Florida for a ‘Sand in Your Shoes’ breakfast
The ‘Jamaica Lime’ Hospitality Suite will be open each evening for informal camaraderie. Featured entertainment includes a Junkanoo Band, Salsa dancing lessons, Ras D & Friends, and, The Melton Mustafa Orchestra. Dr. Sheila Lewis Long is president of the host Miami Chapter, and, Ann E. Pope is the Conclave Chair.

In addition to the connections and support enjoyed from the friendship circles, each chapter returns support to their individual communities through numerous volunteer civic projects. During the current program year, the 44 chapters have impacted thousands of citizens with scholarships, housing assistance, tutoring, and other meaningful initiatives. The activities are often unique and fill otherwise overlooked community needs, such as providing Black hair care products to African American homeless shelter residents, educating the community on identity theft prevention, and establishing charm school for inner city girls.

The chapters gave special attention to assisting Hurricane Katrina victims (often relocated to their area), including the Girl Friend Chapter in New Orleans to which they donated $35,000. The Girl Friends Fund, the non-profit philanthropic arm of the organization, will meet on Wednesday, May 24 to select the 2007 scholarship recipients.

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