1. Image 01
  2. Image 02
  3. Image 03
  4. Image 04
  5. Image 05
  6. Image 06

"...we realized that we had much in common, mainly our desire to empower ourselves and other women..."

In the fall of 1987, I entered college as many do, not knowing what to expect. My hope was that the next few years would bring me knowledge, networks, friendships and a true sense of purpose. I knew that I didn’t just want to exist at Montclair State College, but rather I wanted to truly experience and relish my time there to the fullest. Most importantly, I was certain that I wanted to leave an imprint somehow.


As fate would have it, I quickly began meeting some very interesting young women during that first year. As we were getting to know one another, we realized that we had much in common, mainly our desire to empower ourselves and other women and to encourage collegiate success and beyond. Two upperclassmen in particular had a very exciting and intriguing idea. Several of us decided to meet informally to hear about a rare opportunity that few are afforded – to be the Founders of a Greek organization.

"...we were finally ready to unveil our fluid masterpiece.

Over the course of months, our attendance withered, but our determination blossomed. Those of us who remained became unbelievably attached to each other. We bonded because of our common goal – to realize our vision of bringing something uniquely beautiful to our campus. With thoughtful planning and presenting to the powers that be, our creation took form, and after just about a year, we were finally ready to unveil our fluid masterpiece.

In the end only 16 remained. On October 2, 1988, as students went about their daily business, those same 16 stopped many of them dead in their tracks. Without warning, a line of 16 women dressed in black STOMPED their black boots through the campus yard and into the main atrium, all the while chanting as loudly and proudly as possible...

“We Came, We're Here, You Can't Deny that We are Willing, and Able, It's in Our Eyes, and We Shall Rise, and Strive to Overcome, Because We're LTO and WE'RE ALL AS ONE!”
Belinda Diaz

That moment in time forever changed the course of my life and many others then and since. I had the distinct honor of being the 16th in line, and to this day I can hear the echo of our feet hitting the concrete below us as we marched in unison. Never in my life had I experienced something of that nature, and I am grateful beyond words for having had it.

Belinda Diaz, Founding Mother, A A 16

a sisterhood as deep as the ocean