Sigma Phi Omega was founded in 1949 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. It was originally founded by a group of 17 Japanese women in response to growing anti-Asian-American sentiment that followed as a result of World War II and Pearl Harbor.
In its early beginnings, the founding mothers of Sigma Phi Omega were invited by Chi Alpha Delta to become one of their chapters. However, the founding mothers decided to start their own organization. The Greek letters were chosen at random and were not used by any other existing fraternities or sororities at that time. Although Sigmas did not originate as a sorority, one could speculate that the choosing of Greek letters was a public way of voicing an unsatisfactory opinion about the treatment of Asian Americans, specifically Japanese Americans, by the campus and Greek organizations.
Today, we are the oldest continuing Asian American sorority in the nation, as well as the third oldest Asian American sorority ever founded. Since 1949, Sigma Phi Omega has expanded across the United States, holding multiple chapters in California and Texas consisting of a multitude of women from various cultures and backgrounds.