To create an awareness of Black Greek-Letter Organizations’ chapters’ and national organizations’ contributions to communities, I created a list of my top 10 news stories from Black Greek chapters from the first quarter of 2014. I am pleased to see that the Black Greek news cycle was very active from April to June. Here are my top 10 stories of the second quarter of 2014:
According to Sigma Gamma Rho’s international president, Bonita Herring, 70 percent of black children do not know how to swim. In response, the sorority entered a partnership with USA Swimming to encourage black families to reduce that statistic. The announcement of the partnership included an appearance by Maritza Correia McClendon, an Olympic silver medalist and member of the sorority.
Phi Beta Sigma has taken advantage of a great opportunity to promote outdoor living among urban youth. The fraternity entered an agreement with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for “Let’s Move Outside!”. The partnership encourages hands-on science activities to attract youth to the biological sciences in the spirit of scientist George Washington Carver, a member of Phi Beta Sigma.
Alpha Kappa Alpha’s southern region gave Alabama A&M’s endowment a boost with a $100,000 donation in addition to a $5,000 donation to support the Legacy Lake Project which is spearheaded by Abbiegail Hugine, the wife Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr., the university’s president. The gifts were made as a tribute to Harriet Terry, an AKA founder and late long-time faculty member at Alabama A&M.
As if it were not impressive enough for an undergraduate chapter of any BGLO to make a donation to its institution, Omega Psi Phi’s Nu Eta chapter at the University of Southern Mississippi broke the mold. With the help of their graduate chapter, the collegians made the five-figure gift to establish an endowment that will assist deserving students who lack the means to pay for their USM education.
With stories swirling about racial unrest in the University of Alabama Greek system, it is ironic that history would be made by a member of a BGLO who also happens to be an alumna of an HBCU. Sharifa Love-Rutledge, who was initiated into Sigma Gamma Rho at her alma mater Tougaloo College, made history as the first black woman to earn her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Alabama.
To give exposure to black college bound males, many have called for national signing days for those who are not athletes. The Kappa Alpha Psi chapter in Macon, Ga. created the opportunity by holding a national signing day for members of their mentoring group, the Kappa League.
In June, the topic of my Black Greek Success Chat on Twitter was growing the next generation of policy makers in the Black Greek system. Ever engaged in policy, Delta Sigma Theta continues to address the topic. The sorority’s Ann Arbor alumnae chapter held a “Running for Public Office 101” forum which included the Washtenaw county clerk, the Ann Arbor school board president, the county commissioner, and a campaign strategist.
How quickly we have forgotten that the intellectual center of a community is its library. Apparently, Delta Sigma Theta’s Columbus (GA) Alumnae Chapter has not forgotten. The chapter presented a $3,500 check to the Mildred Terry Library for the Delta Study Room as part of a $20,000 pledge to the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.
You don’t see much about autism awareness in the Black Greek community so it is pleasing to see an undergraduate chapter join the campaign. Iota Phi Theta’s Gamma Rho chapter held their third Autism Walk on campus at Eastern Michigan University, providing information and encouraging donations among their fellow students.
To create awareness about gun violence and to support victims’ families, Alpha Phi Alpha’s Kappa Tau chapter teamed up with Kansas State’s Student Governing Association to have Sybrina Fulton on campus. Fulton is the mother of Trayvon Martin and co-founder of the Trayvon Martin Foundation.