I love what the July to September news cycle yielded for my fellow Divine Nine brothers and sisters! Not only did we learn about over a quarter of a million dollars being given away in scholarships and donations but we also got a history lesson about an unsung hero of civil rights. Enjoy.
Divine Nine chapters give away over $350K in donations
Delta Sigma Theta is responsible for more than half of the funds awarded during the quarter. At their national convention in August, the sorority made a $200,000 gift to North Carolina Central to support the university’s efforts to conduct uterine fibroid tumor research. Only one month prior, Delta’s Chattanooga Alumnae Chapter awarded students $10,000 in scholarships.
The second largest donation of the quarter came as a result of a project spearheaded by Phi Beta Sigma. The fraternity announced at their annual conclave in July that they raised nearly $100,000 for Camp New Joy, a retreat for at-risk boys and teens. The fraternity did so with the assistance of Zeta Phi Beta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Iota Phi Theta, Omega Psi Phi, and Sigma Gamma Rho.
Dillard benefited from alumni members of their Kappa Alpha Psi chapter, Beta Gamma, when they donated $29,000 to the university for scholarships. Alpha Kappa Alpha was responsible for $20,000 in scholarships when the Eta Delta Omega chapter in Lubbock donated $10,000 to local students and the sorority donated $10,000 in scholarships to students from North Carolina Central.
The American Bar Association recently named a new president and Paulette Brown was the woman of the hour. A member of Delta Sigma Theta, Brown is the first woman of color to take the prestigious post. Brown is a partner at Locke Lord in Morristown, N.J. One of the new president’s main initiatives is to build on the ABA’s efforts to make a law a more diverse and inclusive profession.
Members of Phi Beta Sigma had already provided some assistance to businesses in Ferguson, Mo. following the unrest in the wake of the Michael Brown tragedy. The fraternity followed up the efforts by donating $20,000 to a business that had been burned to the ground. Juanita’s Fashions R Boutique, a well-established business in the area, was the beneficiary of the rebuilding seed money.
While in New Orleans for their conclave, the Kappas made a generous donation to three local high schools. St. Augustine, Edna Karr, and Morris F.X. Jeff Community School all received computer labs from the fraternity. All three schools’ populations consist primarily of African American students but St. Augustine is a Catholic all-boys school that was founded for African Americans. It is worth noting that “St. Aug’s” top three 2015 graduates attend Howard; and Alpha Phi Alpha’s outgoing president, Mark Tillman, is an alumnus of the school as am I (in the interest of disclosure).
In what has to be one of the most interesting moves ever by a predominantly white fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon decided to appoint a woman of color to oversee their diversity and inclusion efforts. Ashlee Canty, a member of Zeta Phi Beta, a doctoral student and previous Greek life campus leader, was named the fraternity’s director of Diversity and Inclusion on the heels of a public relations nightmare thanks to their now-defunct chapter at the University of Oklahoma.
One of the coolest stories I caught was about Dorothy Ferebee. If you don’t know the name, it seems a lot of folks have missed out on this precious piece of history. Ferebee, whose life is chronicled in the biography “She Can Bring Us Home”, was a civil rights leader, an obstetrician who provided poor sharecroppers with health care during the Depression, a supreme basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and the second president of the National Council of Negro Women. The article and book are by Diane Kiesel.
Remember the summer video of the police officer doing the “Wobble” that went viral? We can thank the young men of the Hickory, N.C. Kappa League. The group teamed up with the local police department to host a block party and that video helped calm some national tension about law enforcement if even for a few minutes. Let’s tip our hats to the local members of Kappa Alpha Psi for setting an example of engaging youth with law enforcement in a healthy, fun manner.
The sorority has already taken on water safety with USA Swimming for their groundbreaking Swim 1922 program. Teaming up with USA Track & Field is another great partnership to address what has become a serious problem, especially in urban areas. The Rhos have formed the partnership to help combat childhood obesity.
In September, Delta Sigma Theta’s Paducah Alumnae chapter began an interesting series of town hall meetings as a part of the sorority’s Teacher Efficacy Campaign. The community meetings are designed to discuss student achievement, specifically among students of color.
Over the past few years, Americans and visitors to the U.S. have been able to enjoy the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memroial in Washington, D.C. Alpha was honored at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual Phoenix Awards Dinner for spearheading that effort, which had been years in the making, in addition to the fraternity’s record of global service.