The year 2015 is shaping up to be a great one for the Divine Nine. The second quarter news cycle included a great story about a group of Kappa men defending a young lady, thousands of dollars in scholarship money awarded, and a hefty donation to an HBCU from the men of Omega in addition to other great stories.
I had so much fun compiling this quarter’s news stories, that it was hard to rank them. While numbers are assigned to these news stories, there is no particular order. Enjoy.
Here’s a story that deserved more attention than it got because it challenges a couple of stereotypes. Members of FSU’s Theta Eta chapter saved a woman from an assault by chasing her attacker away as reported by The Grio. The assailant was arrested three days later.
When I saw the tweet, I gave a huge fist pump. Admittedly, I beat my chest quite a bit when I read that Alpha Phi Alpha, my dear fraternity, had been regarded as “the most popular fraternity in America” by Time. As it turns out, the Divine Nine, as a whole, make up some of the most popular Greek-letter organizations in America according to GreekRank.com. Alpha, Kappa and Omega got the top three overall fraternity spots while AKA, Delta, Zeta and Rho swept the top four overall sorority spots.
Divine Nine chapters award over $100,000 in scholarships.
I always encourage Divine Nine chapters to assign a dollar amount to the funds they raise. These four chapters took it to another level. During the second quarter, I caught four news stories that document chapters awarding a combined $100,500 in scholarships. AKA’s Chi Tau Omega chapter (Covington, Ga.) awarded $20,000 in scholarships to students in June. Kappa’s Lawrenceville-Duluth Alumni chapter awarded $20,000 to area students in May. Delta’s Savannah Alumnae and Memphis Alumnae chapters awarded $14,500 and a whopping $46,000 in scholarships, respectively in May. And those are the stories that were reported and picked up by Google Alert from April to June.
The Divine Nine earn notoriety for social justice, political efforts.
Essence paid homage to the Divine Nine sororities with its piece “Sister Soldiers: A Look at Black Sororities in the Black Lives Matter Movement” in June. A couple of weeks later Gregory Parks, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, wrote an opinion piece called “Black Fraternities (and Sororities) as Social Justice Organizations: A Model and a Vision” for the Huffington Post. Upon the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, Theodore Johnson (Omega Psi Phi) penned “The Political Power of the Black Sorority” for The Atlantic. If we don’t tell our story, who will?
During their annual Sixth District meeting in April, Omega showed their support for an HBCU. The fraternity supported the university’s scholarship fund with a $10,000 gift. Other institutional donations have included Alpha Kappa Alpha making a gift to Alabama A&M and Phi Beta Sigma making a gift to Howard in 2014.
In May, the Zetas teamed up with Truth in Reality and the American Advertising Federation to hold nationwide #RealityTVCheck watch parties to examine the portrayal of People of Color on television. The initiative encouraged viewers to express their views about the portrayals via social media. The sorority sponsored the campaign as part of their “Get Engaged” initiative.
AKA has implemented an aggressive health initiative as one of their five program focuses. The sorority launched the partnership to “increase education, care and support resources in the African-American community.” Among the sorority’s national partnerships is also one with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
We always talk about preserving our history in the Divine Nine but too often we limit that preservation to reciting history at interest meetings and organization sponsored events. The house where Alpha started as a social studies club—421 N. Albany St.—was granted historic landmark status by Ithaca’s Common Council. Spearheaded by the Jewel Heritage Project, members of Alpha are hopeful that the house can serve as a space to run the Greater Ithaca Activities Center’s program for disadvantaged boys.
Days before Loretta Lynch’s historical confirmation, social media was abuzz with an effort known as Brothers for Loretta Lynch. The group, organized by members of Alpha Phi Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, 100 Black Men and church leaders, converged on Capitol Hill to meet with key leaders. Among the group were Roland Martin (Alpha) and Rev. Jamal Bryant (Kappa). The article poses an interesting question about whether or not the meeting with key Republicans Mitch McConnell and Thad Cochran ended the 166 confirmation delay.
Divine Nine chapters at PWIs earn respect of their peers.
As an alumnus of a predominantly white institution and as one of the first members of the first Divine Nine fraternity officially chartered on my campus, I know how good it feels to break the student leadership status quo. That is why we should give it up for Black Greeks at PWIs when they are recognized by their peers. Such was the case at the University of Missouri where Alpha Phi Alpha’s Zeta Alpha chapter was named one of the campus’s top five student organizations by The Maneater campus newspaper. At the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Delta Sigma Theta’s Iota Rho chapter was named Sorority of the Year and also earned awards for Overall Excellence in Diversity Programming, Overall Excellence in Service, Overall Excellence in Non-Greek Programming, Overall Excellence in Chapter Programming, and Overall Excellence in Alumni Relations at the annual Greek Awards Ceremony.
Other News Stories of Note
- Delta’s Lexington Alumnae chapter holds event to encourage Kentucky women to run for political office
- University of Mississippi alumnus, Alpha member wins prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship
- University of Oklahoma Phi Beta Sigma chapter teams up with historically Latina sorority to raise funds for March of Dimes
- Chicago Tribune profiles Gary, Ind. mayor, Delta chapter soror of Loretta Lynch
- Covington, Ga. Zeta, Delta chapters team up to educate high school students about hazing