Today we’d like to introduce you to Phyllis D. Bailey.
Phyllis, before we jump into specific questions about the organization, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story begins when I moved to Atlanta in 2004 and transferred into the Kappa Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. One day, during my attendance at a political rally in 2015, I sat in front of Dr. Icey Johnson, the President of Kappa Omega Chapter. That day, she asked if I would be interested in Co-chairing one of the Sorority’s targets. The Target was “Global Impact,” and yes, I was interested. One of the major components of the target was the development of a program for learning about the United Nations. Because I was a History/International Relations teacher for 43 years, this was of special interest to me.
During the initial phase of this work, I was introduced to Ms. Tiffany Irene, Southeast Regional Representative to the United Nations Association of the USA and members from the Atlanta division. This proved to be one of the most fortuitous events in my life. We worked for about three years in developing the program with a group of students that had been recruited by the Kappa Omega Chapter. At the very first meeting, we discussed the fact that the United Nations was here in our area. An Alpha Kappa Alpha chapter on the west coast had presented a feature extolling the beginnings of the organization in San Francisco. My dream developed at that point. I promised the young people that we would travel to New York to visit this very important world organization through an initiative we coined called Window Seat to the world. Many of the young people had never been out of Georgia, so for them, this was an opportunity of a lifetime. We worked to develop the knowledge base and applied for funding in many areas. However, the funding never materialized in a way that would assist all of the students. By 2019 we still had obtained enough funds. Then, one spring morning, I awoke with the answer — I would fund the trip myself.
On June 19th, we gathered at Hartsfield-Jackson airport and boarded Southwest Airlines for our trip to New York. We took ten students and the experience was a resounding success. Today the United Nations of Atlanta has become our greatest patron. After the awards and special recognitions, the UN endowed a scholarship for us. We plan toward the scholarship in the autumn of 2020 and prepare for our second trip to New York in 2021.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road. The task of obtaining the funds to support the dream was the biggest challenge. My donation of $10K was not to receive any notoriety or praise. It was done because I made a promise to the children that we would go, a promise I had intended to keep. I have worked many years in the education field and I know what the power of education can bring to a child. I am retired and have been blessed in my life and I felt it was only right to return the blessing. After my donation momentum picked up and we were able to secure a few more funds from some private donors within the Kappa Omega Chapter as well as the United Nations Association of Atlanta. Do not let money be the challenge; fight for what you believe in. I can recall Tiffany taking time in between her working hours to make special contacts for the project. She and I wrote letters, called companies, and generally tried every avenue that we knew. Yes, I made the decision to contribute to the cause, but that outreach did not go in vein. More donations came in because of that persistency.
Please tell us about your organization.
The United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) is a movement of Americans dedicated to supporting the United Nations. With over 20,000 members (60% under the age of 26) and more than 200 chapters across the country, UNA-USA members are united in their commitment to global engagement and their belief that each of us can play a part in advancing the UN’s mission and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We are dedicated to educating, inspiring, and mobilizing Americans to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations and its agencies. Our nationwide network is committed to strengthening the United Nations system, promoting constructive United States leadership in that system, and achieving the goals outlined in the UN Charter. UNA-USA is a program of the United Nations Foundation. UNA-USA and its partner organization, the Better World Campaign, comprise the largest network of UN advocates in the world.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® was founded on a mission comprised of five basic tenets that have remained unchanged since the Sorority’s inception more than a century ago. Alpha Kappa Alpha’s mission is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women to improve their social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of “Service to All Mankind.”
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Consistency and persistence equals success.
- Website: www.una-atl.org
- Phone: 404-981-1977
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @unaatlanta
- Facebook: United Nations Association of Atlanta
- Twitter: @UNAofAtlanta