The news cycle in the last quarter of 2014 was undoubtedly very active with the Black Lives Matter movement. We saw a Black Greek break a major sports record, a chapter’s building win an environmental award, and Black Greeks mentioned as a major teacher recruitment effort.
Having worked in public relations, I constantly challenge Black Greeks to establish the relevance of their news stories to the larger community. The best thing about this story has nothing to do with stepping. It has everything to do with the Mu Omicron chapter’s show being nearly a quarter of a century old and even more to do with the funds being used for the chapter’s Alpha Phi Alpha Memorial Scholarship.
In what easily qualifies as the most heart-warming news story of the quarter, the Iotas at Michigan State started a drive to help an employee. The drive began thanks to Iota member Jovan Pillow-Harmon who knew the employee’s plight all too well.
One the first black-owned Living Buildings in the U.S. received the 2014 Green Power Purchaser of the Year Award. The June Key Delta Community Center, a project of the Portland Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, became a reality after 20 years of rebuilding a former gas station from salvaged, recycled and donated materials from the region.
I cannot say that I have ever seen the term “Divine Nine” mentioned in a news story about teacher recruitment. In a story about increasing teachers of color for the Charles County schools in Maryland, school board candidates have publicly brainstormed recruiting at HBCUs and via the local National Pan-Hellenic Council. It may raise eyebrows throughout the general public but it makes perfect sense to Black Greeks.
Alia Atkinson treated herself to a well-deserved, huge, delicious-looking cookie after winning the FINA World Swimming Championship in December. The victor in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke, she is also the first Jamaican to win such a title. It’s safe to say this is quite a boost for Sigma Gamma Rho’s innovative “Swim 1922” program, highlighted in the top 10 Black Greek Success stories of the second quarter of 2014.
Promoting many African Americans’ desire to live in a more global society, AKA formed a partnership with the United Nations Association-USA to implement Model UN mini-simulations in classrooms throughout the country. Alpha Kappa Alpha’s relationship with the U.N. dates back to Norma Elizabeth Boyd, one of the sorority’s founders who served as an accredited observer of non-governmental organizations for the U.N.
The Omegas at Eastern Illinois University get an A-plus for effort and execution in creating a teachable moment. The chapter secretly asked the university police department to break up a non-alcoholic and board game party for a noise disturbance. Embedded in the prank was an opportunity the chapter created to create a conversation between law enforcement and the students about police interaction.
Months ago we grilled CNN’s iReport for mistakenly identifying the Missouri Highway Patrol’s and Kappa Alpha Psi’s Ron Johnson as a gang member. Let’s tip our hats to iReport for sharing with the public the Zetas’ call for their members to stand up as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Grand Rapids Kappa chapter took an educational approach to protecting people of color in their community from police brutality. The held a Justice Summit to gather law enforcement officials and residents to reach mutual understandings about the dynamics of the community in which they all live.
While the Phi Beta Sigma national office called for the Department of Justice to investigate the death of Michael Brown, the Sigmas from Oklahoma came up with a creative approach to advocating for the residents of Ferguson, Mo. Men in blue and white took a trip to the riot-torn city to help small black businesses rebuild.