VOLUME 90 | NO. 41 | SPRING 2021
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF OMEGA PSI FRATERNITY, INC.
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PLEASE EMAIL ALL EDITORIAL CONCERNS, COMMENTS AND INFORMATION TO:
BROTHER NORM SENIOR EDITOR OF THE ORACLE EDITORTOTHEORACLE@OPPF.ORG
ORACLE LAYOUT DESIGN AND COVER BY BROTHER QUINEST BISHOP, SR. BRAND AND MEDIA DIRECTOR - IHQ QBISHOP@OPPF.ORG
BROTHER MATTHEW WILLIAMS GRAPHIC DESIGNER MATTSOLO799@GMAIL.COM
ON THE COVER
HON. JAMES E. CLYBURN
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LAUREN BURKE/WDCPIX
*DEADLINES FOR THE ORACLE*
WINTER ISSUE (JAN) - DEC. 1ST
SPRING ISSUE (APR) - MAR. 1ST
SUMMER ISSUE (AUG) - JUL. 1ST
FALL ISSUE (NOV) - OCT. 1ST
THE ORACLE EDITORIAL BOARD
International Editor to the Oracle (Interim)
Brother Norm Senior
3951 Snapfinger Parkway
Decatur, GA 30035
Brother Lynwood Adams
International Director of Photography
Brother James Witherspoon
District Directors of Public Relations
1st Brother Alexander Jones
2nd Brother Zanes E. Cypress, Jr.
3rd Brother Norm Senior
4th Brother Marcus Bethay
5th Brother Irwin Todd
6th Brother Dr. Tim Hunter
7th Brother Sean Bland
8th Brother Jayson Jones
9th Brother Frank Watson
10th Brother Fred J. Saffold
12th Brother Jason Jones
13th Brother Dr. Carl Bampoe
Assistant International Photographers
Brother Galvin Crisp
Brother C. Delray Brown
Brother Wayne Pollard
Emeritus Photographer - the late Brother John H. Williams
Copy Editors and Contributing Writers
Brother Reginald Whitaker, Jr.
Brother Ivory Gene Cooper
Brother Dr. George Taylor
Brother Joe Briggs
Brother Fred Cooke
Brother Jonathan Matthews
System Program Engineer
Brother Cornelius Beidleman
Brother Nicholas Jenkins
Brother Dr. Luis Hines
Brother Orlando Ceaser
Brother Damario Solomon-Simmons
Brother Andrew Mitchell
International Executive Director
Brother John F. Howard
Brother James E. Clyburn
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United States House of Representatives South Carolina Sixth Congressional District
CONTENTS COVER STORY Interview with Brother James E. Clyburn, an iconic political, social, and educational figure in our country as well as the world. 12 FEATURES 04 06 08 Grand Basileus Message Brother Dr. David E. Marion 10 First Vice Grand Basileus Message Brother Ricky L. Lewis 11 Executive Director Message Brother John F. Howard 30 60 134 EDITORIALS 54 Justice for Greenwood 22 Keeping Black History Alive 28 Omega Wherefore Art Thou 20 Taking Scholarship to New Heights 44 International Talent Hunt 57 What Should I Do? Police Officers Interaction tips 124 The Truth About High Tech That They Don't Tell Us 127 PeloQues: Fraternal Fellowship Through Fitness 132 A Profile In Leadership Dennis Gates Head Basketball Coach at Cleveland State University 128 Dealing With Grief During COVID-19 Pandemic Undergraduate News District News Omega Chapter Grand Basilei Supreme Council Roster
FOUNDERS OF OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY, INC.
MEMBERS OF THE SUPREME COUNCIL
Dr. Ernest E. Just 1883-1941
Dr. Oscar J. Cooper 1888-1972
FOUNDER Professor Frank Coleman 1890-1967
FOUNDER Bishop Edgar A. Love 1891-1974
Dr. David Marion 41st Grand Basileus
Ricky Lewis 1ST VICE Grand Basileus
CALEB LOVE 2ND VICE Grand Basileus
MARK EVERICK JACKSON GRAND KEEPER OF RECORDS AND SEAL
JOHNNIE B. SMITH GRAND KEEPER OF FINANCE
REV. DR. WALTER T. RICHARDSON GRAND CHAPLAIN
BENJAMIN L. CRUMP GRAND COUNSELOR
WILLIAM COUNCIL GRAND MARSHAL
ANTONIO F. KNOX, SR. IMMEDIATE PAST (40TH) GRAND BASILEUS
Eleualio Abraham UNDERGRADUATE REPRESENTATIVE
KENTON KELLEY UNDERGRADUATE REPRESENTATIVE
ELLIOTT KELLY, JR. UNDERGRADUATE REPRESENTATIVE
1ST DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
KELVIN K. AMPOFO
2nd DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE
Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania
CONRADO B. MORGAN
3rd DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE Virginia and Washington, D.C.
4TH DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE Ohio and West Virginia
5TH DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE KENTUCKY AND TENNESSEE
6TH DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE North Carolina and South Carolina
REGINALD M. HARRIS
7TH DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE
Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi
OSUMAN O. ISSAKA
8TH DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota.
9TH DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE
Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas
10TH DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin
12TH DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE
Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming
DR. TREVOR V. HODGE
13TH DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE
Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, China, Germany, Ghana, Hawaii, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, St. Croix VI, St. Thomas VI, St. Maarten, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR GRAND OFFICERS
DR. DAVID E. MARION GRAND BASILEUS GRANDBASILEUS@OPPF.ORG
RICKY L. LEWIS
1ST VICE GRAND BASILEUS 1ST VICEGRANDBASILEUS@OPPF.ORG
2ND VICE GRAND BASILEUS 2ND VICEGRANDBASILEUS@OPPF.ORG
MARK E. JACKSON
GRAND KEEPER OF RECORDS & SEAL GRANDKRS@OPPF.ORG
JOHNNIE B. SMITH
GRAND KEEPER OF FINANCE GRANDKF@OPPF.ORG
BENJAMIN L. CRUMP, ESQ. GRAND COUNSELOR GRANDCOUNSELOR@OPPF.ORG
REV. DR. WALTER T. RICHARDSON GRAND CHAPLAIN GRANDCHAPLAIN@OPPF.ORG
WILLIAM COUNCIL GRAND MARSHAL GRANDMARSHAL@OPPF.ORG
ANTONIO F. KNOX, SR. IMMEDIATE PAST (40TH) GRAND BASILEUS TONYKNOX93@YAHOO.COM
ELEUALIO ABRAHAM LILOABRAHAM14@GMAIL.COM
KENTON KELLEY KENTON_KELLEY@YAHOO.COM
ELLIOTT KELLY, JR. ELLIOTT.KELLYJR@GMAIL.COM
DR. EDWARD J. BRAYNON, JR. 30TH GRAND BASILEUS NOT AVAILABLE
DR. DORSEY C. MILLER 35TH GRAND BASILEUS DCMA@BELLSOUTH.NET
LLOYD J. JORDAN, ESQ. 36TH GRAND BASILEUS LAWQUE@MSN.COM
DR. GEORGE H. GRACE 37TH GRAND BASILEUS OMEGAGRACE@AOL.COM
WARREN G. LEE, JR. 38TH GRAND BASILEUS OMEGAWARRENLEE@OPPF.ORG
DR. ANDREW A. RAY 39TH GRAND BASILEUS DOCRAY20@FRONTIERNET.NET
FORMER GRAND BASILEI
DR. EDWARD J. BRAYNON, JR. 30th Grand Basileus
DR. DORSEY C. MILLER 35th Grand Basileus LLOYD J. JORDAN, ESQ 36th Grand Basileus
DR. GEORGE H. GRACE 37th Grand Basileus
WARREN G. LEE, JR. 38th Grand Basileus
DR. ANDREW A. RAY 39th Grand Basileus
In the BeginningThere was Alpha Chapter
Source: Clarence F. Holmes, Sixth Grand Basileus. 1977
GRAND FROM THE
Afew months ago, I told the Grand Chaplain, Dr. Walter T. Richardson, and the twelve district chaplains from across the United States and around the world that I thought Omega needed a spiritual revival. I believed the isolation, depression, and anxiety we all experienced during this pandemic called for spiritual renewal and revival. Many have not been able to visit family and friends. Many have lost jobs or experienced a reduction in income. Many have been sick or fought Covid-19 and survived, only to experience long-term effects. Further, we have grieved the deaths of many friends, brothers, and family members, in succession. Among many others, four of our good friends died in the last two months. Past Third District Representative Marion Barnwell gave me a handwritten letter after I was elected Grand Basileus in 2018. In the letter, he congratulated me on becoming Grand Basileus and then gave me his recommendations on how to improve memorial services at the Conclave. In other words, congratulations, but now it’s time to go to work. Don Lee, an employee of IHQ for thirteen years and a long-time member of the International Membership/ MSP Committee, reminded me days before he died that one of our Founders said politics would be the death of this Fraternity. Days before Past International Prostate Committee Chairman Michael Jackson died, I told him and his wife that they should not hesitate to call me if they needed anything at all. Brother Jackson made one request. He asked me to pray for him and his wife. And we did, in that moment, on the phone. Chico Arenas, who has served the Fraternity in innumerable ways, and I were talking days before he died. After talking longer than we both initially agreed because of how weak he seemed, he strongly interrupted me and said, “Doc, I
@DRMARIONOMEGA Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. International Headquarters 3951 Snapfinger Parkway Decatur, GA 30035 Telephone: (404) 284-5533 Fax: (404) 284-0333 8
GRAND BASILEUS THE DESK OF THE
have always been your friend.” Imagine that. Even on his death bed, he wanted me to know that “Friendship is essential to the Soul.” Brothers, our collective losses beckoned for a spiritual revival, which the chaplains planned and scheduled on April 2, 2021, Good Friday.
This past February 2021, many, but not all, across this country celebrated Black History Month. I encourage the year-round acknowledgement and celebration of Black history. Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who became a member of our Fraternity in 1917, announced the celebration of Negro History Week in February 1926, which was the precursor to Black History Month. He was the son of emancipated slaves and the second African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Dr. Woodson believed that African American children were not being taught in school, but rather indoctrinated with the fabricated evil of white superiority and black inferiority. He further believed that the conditioning that would inevitably result would lead to African Americans becoming dependent and seeking inferior places in our society. Read The Miseducation of the Negro, if you haven’t, and again, if you have. Because of a speech he gave to us in 1920, and because of the respect and love we have for him, the Fraternity established Achievement Week, which honors individuals who have contributed to improving the quality of life of African Americans. We continue to celebrate Achievement Week every year.
Lastly, we grace the cover of this edition of the Oracle with our brother, Congressman James E. Clyburn. He is a two-time House Majority Whip, a position in which he has served since 2019. He is currently in his 15th term as U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 6th congressional district; he has served in this capacity since 1993.
Clyburn played a pivotal role in the 2020 presidential election by endorsing Joe Biden three days before the South Carolina Democratic primary. Clyburn’s endorsement came at a time when Biden’s campaign was suffering from three disappointing finishes in the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. The South Carolina win for Biden days before Super Tuesday instantly transformed his campaign. The momentum led him to capture the Democratic nomination and later the presidency. I am proud to announce that the Omega Network for Action is establishing the James E. Clyburn Leadership Institute. This institute will serve as the training arm for cultivating the next generation of African American political leaders with the ethical and practical skills to achieve their political goals. The plan is for the program to employ a hybrid model that includes both virtual meetings and in-person meetings on the campus of his alma mater, South Carolina State University. We love you, Brother Clyburn, and want to give you your flowers, while you live.
May we all feel summoned to give each other our due flowers.
David Marion, Ph.D. 41st Grand Basileus
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
3951 Snapfinger Parkway
Decatur, GA 30035
Telephone: (404) 284-5533
Fax: (404) 284-0333
The Spring time has always been a busy time; we’re making ready for new beginnings. This Oracle is significant: it focuses on our commitment to showcase our young talent, gives context to why we celebrate our elders, and pays tribute to our Omega Chapter brothers of kindred minds. Through many stories, it tells why we continue to be involved in the welfare of our communities – and why we support families who need us and who depend on us to speak for them when they feel they have no voice!
Our Talent Hunt Program is one of several international mandated programs designed to identify and support the youth of our nation and the world. The idea of showcasing and promoting the talent and creativity of our youth was proposed by Brothers J. Alston Atkins of Winston Salem, North Carolina and Dewey Duckett of Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1945. The need for such a program was born out of the need to correct the unequal opportunity afforded to some of America’s youth and provide them an opportunity to fully express their talents. Our fraternity leadership at the time embraced the notion that: Creative and outstanding capacities in any honorable activity should be eligible for consideration.” And, that young Black youth should be able to demonstrate their musical talent. Since that time, the Talent Hunt program has been expanded to include other forms of the creative and expressive arts. Since those early and provocative years led by our Brother Atkins, our talent hunt program has launched many talented youth into careers as world-class artists, representing practically all forms of the performing arts.
Our Memorial Service: And so, it is with us – it is why we remember! Our founders taught us the value and goodness of the fellowship of kindred minds. We remember those who walked among and with us, who toiled in the communities from where we hailed, from where our parents, grandparents, friends, and relatives lived. Despite the complexities of their lives, they didn’t just survive, they thrived against the strange, and at times, the unexplainable, and incomprehensible.
Finally, brothers, our Public Policy now, how do we do that Brothers? We Are Omega Men. We are advocates in our communities; we work with our public policy makers to keep and hold those who make the laws accountable – to take care that the will of the people be done. And done in such a way as to assure all that our will be done!!
Our Brother Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History, told us what to do. To paraphrase his words: A mind that remains in the present atmosphere never undergoes sufficient development to experience the value of critical thinking. And as it is today brothers, we must be strategic in the discharge of our duty to keep our charge – to Serve Our Communities – strategically!
Thank you again for this opportunity to serve as your First Vice Grand Basileus. I am honored! God bless the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Yours in Friendship,
Ricky L. Lewis
Ricky L. Lewis, 35th First Vice Grand Basileus
FROM THE DESK OF THE
1st VICE GRAND BASILEUS
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. International Headquarters
3951 Snapfinger Parkway Decatur, GA 30035
Telephone: (404) 284-5533
Fax: (404) 284-0333
Greetings, my Brothers!
Ihope you are safe and healthy as we migrate this current stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. I stand with the millions of Americas who have been fully vaccinated. I encourage you to consider going through the process if you have not done so already.
It is an honor and privilege to work at the International Headquarters and even more so as your executive director. I am supported by a staff that is committed to the success of Omega and her endeavors. Just recently, we onboarded two men of Omega with particularly important roles and responsibilities: Brother Kenneth Foster (Xi Delta 1987) is now our Assistant Executive Director, and Brother Quinest Bishop (Xi Zeta 1995) is now our Brand & Media Director.
As we put together our plan to reopen the IHQ office, we are also putting together a plan for restructure. We are a leadership-enriched culture with the attributes of professionalism, accountability, consistency, collaboration, and structure at the core of what we do.
My immediate goals are to strengthen old as well as develop new processes that support our business objectives, to encourage and facilitate creativity in everything we do, and to support opportunities that build partnership for us all to better serve our community, preserve our history, and achieve the outcomes we desire. It is my strong belief that Omega Psi Phi will change the world to ensure it is a better place for generations to come.
If you have not done so already, I encourage you to sign up through your District Keeper of Records and Seal to join our constant contact email distribution. In addition, please follow our fraternity’s official social media platforms listed below. I am on twitter @jhoward_ed. Let’s connect there.
• YouTube.com/ officialomegapsiphi
Continue to stay safe.
FROM THE DESK OF THE
MAJORITY JAMES E. CLYBURN
It brings me great pleasure to present an interview of Brother James E. Clyburn, U.S. House of Representative, Majority Whip from South Carolina’s 6th District. Brother Clyburn’s sphere of influence and impact include politics, education, and social justice. The 2020 Election leaves little doubt that Brother Clyburn’s influence is felt throughout the world. Given his wide influence, it seemed fitting to share the honor of interviewing such an iconic figure with the DDPRs from every District in our Fraternity. It makes us all proud to call Representative Clyburn, our fraternity brother.
Brother Dr. Timothy B. Hunter, Sixth District Director
of Public Relations
1. What influenced you to get involved in politics? (Alexander Jones, 1DDPR)
No one thing or event thrusted me into politics. I grew up in a household where reading was not just fundamental but required. My father was an activist minister and my mother a civic-minded beautician. We were required to recite a Bible verse at breakfast every morning and share a current event with my parents before retiring to bed every evening. Neither of these could be accomplished effectively without reading the Bible and the newspaper daily. We were not allowed to recite the same Bible verse twice, and the current events I enjoyed most were those involving politics and government.
One of my mother’s customers once asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up.” When I responded that I wanted to hold elective office, she responded to the effect that I should not let anyone else hear me say that. She was not throwing cold water on my dreams, she feared for my safety growing up in South Carolina expressing such aspirations. But later that evening my mother told me to ignore her customer’s warning. As you know, I did.
I was elected president of my NAACP youth chapter at the age of 12. I became an organizer in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during my student days at South Carolina State. Throughout my life, I have been in public service in one capacity or another. But I ran three times for elective office before winning my congressional seat in 1992, becoming the first African American to represent South Carolina in Congress in 95 years.
2. What’s been the most surprising or inspirational event you’ve witnessed in your lifetime? (Zanes E. Cypress, Jr. 2DDPR)
There have been many inspirational moments in my life. One of the earliest and most impactful was my October 1960 meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr. It lasted from 10:00 pm on the 15th to 4:00 am the next morning. It was my Saul to Paul transformation.
3. Sir, with you being the “key” endorsement in the South (which started a “chain reaction” I might add) why did you decide to endorse our current president? (Norm Senior, 3DDPR)
The timing and manner of my endorsement were influenced by two Black women; my late wife Emily and
Ms. Jannie Jones, a member and usher at St. John Baptist Church in Hopkins, near Columbia, South Carolina.
Emily was beginning to lose her 30-year battle with diabetes and did not feel up to attending our “World Famous Fish Fry” in June 2019. Over 7000 political activists and more than 20 announced candidates for the Democratic nomination attended. Later that evening, I shared with her my excitement with the event’s success but expressed some anxiety over the difficulty we were going to have trying to select a nominee. She listened quietly and broke her silence saying that irrespective of the number of candidates or our personal relationships with several of them, our best chance of winning the Presidency was with Joe Biden.
On the Friday before the South Carolina debate, and eight days before the South Carolina Democratic Primary, I attended the funeral of my longtime accountant, Jim White. I arrived at the church early and proceeded down the center aisle to pay my respects at the casket. As I turned away, my eyes met those of a woman seated at the far end of the first pew. She beckoned me over and asked, who was I voting for in the Primary; and said, “If you do not want anybody to hear your answer, lean down and whisper in my ear.”
I leaned down and whispered to her that I would be voting for Joe Biden. Her head snapped back, and with a look of great relief she said, “I needed to hear that, and this community needs to hear from you.” As I left the church, I received similar reactions from several others. When I left the funeral, I immediately began setting the wheels in motion to endorse Joe. My endorsement was made on the morning of February 26th, the morning after the Debate. I was receiving an award earlier that morning from Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network that – to my surprise – was being established in honor of Emily
Majority Whip, continued 14
who had transitioned four months earlier. It was an emotional breakfast, and my three daughters, who were in on the surprise, were there to share the moment with me.
Two of them joined me for the endorsement and took seats on the front row with an empty chair between them. As I stepped to the podium, I envisioned Emily, sitting between them as she often did. That sight, the earlier Breakfast, Emily’s prognostication, and Ms. Jones’ facial expression all converged to create the moment.
4. Sir, I know you have reached out to OSHA, investigating the COVID-19 outbreaks, what was the feedback, if any, that you received? Are they holding themselves accountable?
(Norm Senior, 3DDPR)
On January 29, OSHA issued new guidance, “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace,” to inform employers and employees of how to identify and reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus at work.
On February 1, 2021, the Select Subcommittee launched an investigation into widespread coronavirus infections and deaths in meatpacking plants, issuing letters to OSHA, Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, and JBS USA. The letters noted that under the Trump Administration, OSHA issued only eight citations and less than $80,000 in total penalties for coronavirus-related violations at meatpacking companies—a paltry amount that has
failed to curb dangerous conditions faced by many workers. After we launched our inquiry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made an initial update to its guidance to better protect meatpacking workers. We will continue to press for better protections as we continue our investigation.
5. What should we be doing in our local markets to hold our elected officials accountable for the promises made on the campaign trail? (Marcus Bethay II, 4DDPR)
Although I have not been able to determine that it is factual, Thomas Jefferson is credited with having said that, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” The election of Donald Trump and his subsequent attacks on our democratic norms demonstrate what can happen when we fail to maintain vigilance. When I taught history, I often told my students that anything that has happened before can happen again.
The 2020 Presidential Election was the most consequential of our lifetime and I am pleased that we were able to defeat the “autocrat wannabe” who had visions of turning the clock back on the progress we have had over the last several decades. To his chagrin we broke barriers by electing the first Black United States Senator from Georgia, the first woman who is an immigrant and woman of color, and the first HBCU graduate as Vice President of the United States. Our country is at an inflection point and without each of us engaging on the local level we stand to repeat the mistakes of the past if we are not vigilant. We and members of the “Divine Nine” can be the nucleus of a formidable network. Our cardinal principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift should
form the four corners of a foundation upon which we can use our talents to provide the vigilance needed to move our country forward.
6. Currently there are governors threatening to withhold funds from our school systems if students don’t physically return to the classroom. What measures is Congress putting in place to prohibit Governors from rushing our kids back to school before it’s safe to gather in large groups? How can Congress help improve the quality and delivery of virtual education? (Irwin Todd II, 5DDPR)
President Biden’s $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan provides $170 billion to aid K-12 schools and institutions of higher education. The plan also calls for $130 billion to help schools safely reopen. This funding can be used for a variety of safety measures including reducing class sizes to aid social distancing regulations, improving ventilation, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), and increasing transportation capacity to facilitate social distancing on buses. We must work together to ensure that students don’t just simply return to school but do so safely.
A recent study has revealed that 15 to 16 million public school students lack adequate access or computers to facilitate remote learning. This disparity is particularly prevalent in already underserved communities, where 30 percent of all Black students and 37 percent of rural students lack adequate connectivity. At the beginning of the 116th Congress, I formed the House Rural Broadband Task Force with over two dozen of my colleagues, to develop devices to permanently close the digital divide.
We created the “Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act,” to invest over $86 billion to facilitate highspeed internet access, affordability, and adoption. We specifically targeted funds to persistent poverty communities and require that at least one affordable option is offered along newly built networks. It was included in H.R. 2, The Moving Forward Act, which passed the House during the 116th Congress. I hope that this Congress and the new Administration will work to make broadband accessible and affordable for all.
7. What political lessons can South Carolina take away from Georgia? (Dr. Timothy B. Hunter,
Last Dec. 12 marked the 150th anniversary of Joseph
Rainey’s Swearing-in as the first African American elected to the US House of Representatives. The onceenslaved South Carolinian was elected in 1870 during the roughly 12 years of Reconstruction. He served eight years before losing his seat when President Rutherford B. Hayes terminated federal oversight of the former slave states.
Southern states responded to the ending of Reconstruction with all kinds of creative devices designed to disenfranchise Black voters, purge Black elected officials, and relegate Black people to secondclass citizenship.
Many of those devices were outlawed by the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but one of them, the “50 percent plus 1” run-off requirement, remains. Georgia had two United States Senate races last November 3rd. In one of them, the Special Election, Rev. Raphael Warnock was forced into a runoff with a candidate who finished seven points behind him. In the regular General Election, the white Republican, David Perdue got 49.63 percent, less than 1% short of the 50.1%, and was forced into a runoff. The two runoffs produced a record turnout of Black voters; and the Black Democrat, Warnock won; the white Republican Perdue lost. As is sometimes the case, “things that make you laugh can also make you cry.”
Anti-democratic forces in Georgia and several other states are doubling down on their efforts to intimidate Black voters and suppress Black votes. Republican run jurisdictions throughout the country are attempting to disenfranchise minority voters, and we must not sit idly by and let those things happen.
One of my priorities is to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act, and as we develop legislative remedies and fight judicial battles, civil and voting rights groups such as the NAACP, Fair Fight, and Black Voters Matter are working to overcome these obstacles by engaging local community groups in the cause. I encourage Omegas everywhere to join and support these efforts. I am
Majority Whip, continued
hopeful that this Congress and the new Administration will demonstrate that we have learned from our history and not repeat the mistakes of our past.
8. You are known to be an influencer by many across the country, what would you like for your lasting legacy to be? (Dr. Timothy B. Hunter, 6DDPR)
I have always said that America is a great country; it doesn’t need to be made great again. As historian Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his two-volume work, Democracy in America, America’s greatness, “lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” We must work to repair our faults so we may become a more perfect union. As for my legacy, let it be written that, “He did his best to make America’s greatness accessible and affordable for all.”
9. What are you most proud of in this past election cycle? (Sean Bland, 7DDPR)
My endorsement of Joe Biden.
10. Thinking about the past, and now the present, what similarities worry you the most that warrants the world’s attention. (Jayson “Jay” Jones, 8DDPR)
After Reconstruction ended, Jim Crow laws were established, and for nearly 100 years, blacks were relegated to second class citizenship. It lasted as long as it did because the efforts of Robert Smalls and scores of others were undermined by some who looked like them and lived among them demonstrated a preference for favor over dignity. We had some of that back in the 60s and I see those similarities today. That worries me greatly.
11. During the last presidential administration, what surprised you most? (Frank Watson, 9DDPR)
Nothing about the 45th President surprises me. Trump showed us who he was from the day he announced he was running and never wavered. What did surprise, and sadden me, were the many elected officials that were unwilling to stand up to this menace, as he sought to destroy our democracy. Many of whom coddled and conspired with him.
I warned repeatedly, and took heat for it, that Trump is a fascist in the mold of Benito Mussolini. That was a dark four years for our country but I am hopeful that we will emerge stronger as we address the many atrocities wrought by the past administration.
12. Bro. Clyburn, we all know that you were influential in helping President Biden secure the Black vote and ultimately the Presidential election. What will you do and what can we all do to hold him accountable to his words and how do we hold this administration accountable for making good on the promise to help improve the lives of Black people? (Fred Safford, 10DDPR)
President Biden has already begun to fulfill some of the promises he made on the campaign trail. On Day One he disbanded the Trump Administration’s 1776 Commission, which was created to downplay the role of slavery in American history. He also announced a plan to examine how federal agencies promote and foster inequality along racial lines. He signed executive orders directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to combat housing discrimination and instructed the Department of Justice not to renew contracts with private prisons.
Candidate Biden promised that, if given the opportunity, he would further diversify the Judiciary by appointing a Black woman to the United States Supreme Court. But diversity, to me, is more than skin color and gender. It is also about backgrounds and experiences. Currently there is not an opening on the United States Supreme Court, but when one occurs, I hope the President and his people will recognize that a lot of people feel that we are risking a thrust towards elitism in our judiciary.
13. What means should or can be used to keep Black voters engaged in the political process in nonpresidential election years? (Bro. Jason Jones, 12DDPR)
To get and keep Black voters engaged we must interact with and involve them in ways that affect their everyday lives when there is not an election taking place. I have had a scholarship foundation and political issues institute for over 30 years. Over the past two years we awarded high school graduates with 350 laptops, 350 software packages and funds totaling $1,250,000. Over the 30 years we have been doing this the awards total nearly $6 million. It is vital that we do not wait for election season to offer ways and means to help people improve their lives and livelihoods.
14. What’s needed for this nation to overcome the last 4 years? (Dr. Carl Bampoe, 13DDPR)
Congressman John Lewis and I sat together on the House floor shortly before he passed, reflecting upon our activism in the 1960s. We expressed hope in the new generation of activists that had developed after Ferguson, Missouri and in the wake of George Floyd’s death. We talked about how the slogan, “burn baby burn,” undermined our efforts and expressed hope that such sloganeering would not have similar impacts on Black Lives Matter. We also expressed hope that supporters will not allow such slogans to be an excuse for inaction. As John would say, we must “keep our eyes on the prize.” We must continue demanding systemic changes and holding our elected officials accountable. Slogans may make headlines but making headway should be our purpose. There is no substitute for substance.
I would like to thank all the DDPRs who contributed to this interview. Being a part of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated is about working together for a common cause. We will continue to strive to be One Fraternity. One Mission. One Team.
The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., thanks Representative James E. Clyburn and his staff for providing some of the photos used in this article. We appreciate being allowed an intimate glimpse into his work and his family life.
We are always seeking Brothers with an opinionated view to submit an editorial. If you have those desires, please email Bro. Norm Senior at EditorToTheOracle@oppf.org
Majority Whip, continued
James E. Clyburn Leadership Institute
A Proposal by Brother Sedrick Spencer and Brother James Walker
It has been well documented that the social progress of a community is intimately connected to their economic and political base. With the exception of African Americans/Blacks, many ethnic minority groups in this country have been able to achieve modest social gains by activating their economic base and carving niches for their community. With nearly $1 Trillion spent in 2020, African Americans/Blacks have significant buying power. Unfortunately, the vast majority of spending is towards product sale rather than items that provide a return on investments. Similarly, African Americans/Blacks have been disproportionately affected by the laws and policies of this nation. Whether it was the legalization of slavery, Jim Crow or other oppressive policies, African Americans/Blacks have reaped minimal benefits from the political wheels that drive this country.
Since the first US Congress in 1789, there have only been 162 African Americans/Blacks to serve (152 House of Representatives and 9 Senators respectively). In fact, the number of African American governors is even more abysmal, equally a total of 4. Where African Americans/Blacks have had greater political success to a degree has been at the state and local level. However, even with the moderate success on those stages, it is not enough. African Americans/ Blacks have to reach the tipping point necessary to shift the balance of power of decision makers to create policies that are more equitable for African Americans/Blacks and others. Part of the challenge is understanding what is required to be involved in politics. This information has been hidden from us for far too long.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s purpose is rooted in the ideas of occupying a progressive, helpful and constructive place in civic and political life domestically and internationally; preparing its members for greater usefulness in causes of humanity, freedom, and dignity of individuals; and aid down-trodden humanity in its efforts to achieve higher social, economic and intellectual status. In order to effectuate this charge into reality, we must demonstrate greater intentionality in our efforts to cultivate future leaders not only in Omega via Omega Network for Action, but also for men and women outside of our organizations who have interest in pursuing political leadership within the communities we serve.
Omega Network for Action proposes to create and execute the James E. Clyburn Leadership Institute (JECLI) to serve as the training arm for cultivating the next generation of African American/Black political leaders. Participants of the program will be referred to as “fellows.” JECLI will offer a 15-month cohort model that provides aspiring politicians with the ethical and practical skills to achieve their political goals.
Course content will cover the following areas: 1.) History of African Americans/Blacks in American politics, 2.) Developing successful campaigns, 3.) Understanding campaign financing, 4.) Reviewing organizing principles, 5.) Ethics, morale and legal responsibilities, 6.) Coalition building, and 7.) Media training
The program will employ a hybrid model that includes both in-person (2) and virtual (3) meetings. Fellows will meet on a quarterly basis, having both the first and last meeting be in-person. In-person meetings will occur over a duration of 1-2 days, while virtual meetings will be no more than 2-hours per meeting. Another aspect of the program will be the “Sirius Spotlight.” Through the Sirius Spotlights, fellows will be introduced to African Americans/Blacks in politics that have shined by making significant contributions to the field.
We believe that by offering this program, Omega Network for Action will be able to contribute to the development of 20 fellows per program cycle. As a result, the following can be achieved: 1.) Adequately prepare African Americans/Blacks who are interested in political careers at the local, state and national level. 2.) Build a broader network of African American/Black political leaders. 3.) Increase the election of African American/Black candidates running for office.
TAKING SCHOLARSHIP TO NEW HEIGHTS
Scholarship, as we all know, is our Second Cardinal Principle and for a good reason. Our founders emphasized the importance of scholarship and exemplified it throughout their careers. Further, scholarship is also one of our internationally mandated programs and there are countless scholarship award opportunities throughout the fraternity. Brother Dr. Benjamin E. Mays once said, “strive to live up to your capacity, to live down below our capacity is a Cardinal sin.” For me, scholarship embodies being a lifelong learner and never growing too old to discover something new; versatility in skillset positively sets one apart from a crowd. Also, no matter what avenue one might pursue, having an eagerness to learn new skills will prepare you to succeed in any endeavor.
The Georgia State Tag Scholarship is a scholarship opportunity for college students in Georgia. This scholarship is funded through the process of brothers purchasing license plates that display the Omega shield. Recently legislation was passed for that funding to expand to motorcycle tags as well. After receiving the Georgia State Tag Scholarship, I had an opportunity to speak at the Georgia State Capitol regarding the impact and importance of the Georgia State Tag Scholarship. I was happy to have the privilege to
represent Psi Chapter and the fraternity. I was pleased to join other Omega men in advocating for the passage of the Tag legislation, but I would be remiss if I did not publicly recognize Brother Marvin Broadwater, Sr. who currently presides over the Georgia State Tag Scholarship Committee. The following is a statement from Brother Marvin Broadwater, Sr.
The idea of a State of GA Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., vehicle tag was first born in the mind of Brother Win Roshell while a member of Lambda Phi Chapter in 2003; currently he is with Chi Gamma Gamma Chapter. Unfortunately, not enough Brothers purchased the tag in 2003 to sustain the tag and the Department of Motor Vehicles recalled the tag. In 2008, Brother Marvin Broadwater, Sr., a young energetic Brother from Lambda Iota Chapter, asked the 8th GA State Representative Brother Joseph Gosha “if he thought the State of GA was ready for a vehicle tag”? Brother Gosha’s response surprised Brother Broadwater as the senior and wise Brother stated, “it would take a miracle to get a tag for the State young Bruh.” Brother Broadwater has always had a flair and uncanny ability for doing what to some is seemingly impossible. He first had lunch with Brother Roshell to determine why he thought the endeavor had failed in 2003. Once Brother Broadwater had gathered enough
Brother Nicholas Jenkins
data, he then started driving to Chapter meetings around the State and planting the seed of a State tag. These visits would also serve to find Brothers who believed in the possibility of tag, Broadwater knew when the time was ready these Brothers would serve on the tag committee. He announced his candidacy for 1st Vice State Representative in 2014 -he still carries a campaign business card in his wallet which has one of his campaign promises, "deliver a GA State Omega Psi Phi Fraternity tag. On Brother Broadwater's first day as GA, 1st Vice State Representative he asked then 16th GA State Representative Dr. Craig B. Jackson to allow him to work on the State Tag. Brother Jackson realized the potential of this Brother and told him "go for it." In less than one year, Brother Broadwater had planned, organized, and executed the strategy to deliver the tag. Those providing advice for the tag were Brothers Ronald J. Taylor (12th GA State Representative), Elijah K. Hill (9th GA State Representative), James Gallman, Abdur Hassan, Dr.Ben Williams, James "Slim" Melvin, Thaddeus Hodges, Eddie Sanders, and Will Jones.
In 2017, Brother Broadwater drove 91 miles from Columbus to Atlanta approximately 30 times to lobby the entire GA General Assembly- talk about tenacity - and the 2017 General Assembly passed the tag legislation. Brother Charles Patrick would make the trek with him and they would constantly talk about the tag during these trips. Three members of the GA General Assembly were instrumental in getting the tag legislation passed: Brothers State Representatives Calvin Symre, Winfred Dukes, and State Representative Carolyn Hugley. Brother Broadwater encouraged the legislatures to insert a profit- sharing clause in the bill. Several other organizations in the State with vehicle tags benefited from this measure and not one was a member of the Divine 9 (National Pan-Hellenic Council). Omega Psi Phi became the first.
In January 2018, not satisfied with just the vehicle tag, Brother Broadwater, now the 17th GA State Representative, solicited Brothers from across the State to appear with him before the State House Motor Vehicle committee to solicit for an Omega Psi Phi motorcycle tag. Again, Brother Broadwater approached other state legislators to pass the legislation to include the profit- sharing measure and in August of 2020 Omega Psi Phi Fraternity became the first member of the Divine 9 to have a GA State motorcycle tag.
To date there are over 3,000 vehicle tags in the State and growing every day and the tag has garnered over $90,000 for the State of GA Organization Scholarship fund.
Whenever Brother Broadwater is given credit for being the catalyst for the tag he says, "I have had great mentors and all I did was listen to their advice and put their words into action…..that's what a TEAM MEMBER does."
Congratulations to Brother Broadwater and the rest of the critical team that played a pivotal role in making the Georgia Tag Initiative a reality.
To date there are over 3,000 vehicle tags in the State and growing every day and the tag has garnered over $90,000 for the State of GA Organization Scholarship fund. Whenever Brother Broadwater is given credit for being the catalyst for the tag he says, “I have had great mentors and all I did was listen to their advice and put their words into action . . . that’s what a TEAM MEMBER does.”
Congratulations to Brother Broadwater and the rest of the critical team that played a pivotal role in making the Georgia Tag Initiative a reality.
The Oracle Features 21 TheOracle-Spring2021
KEEPING BLACK HISTORY ALIVE
CHANGING THE WORLD WITH A TRAVELING BLACK HISTORY MUSEUM
Brother Fred Saffold is the Founder of The True Black History Museum, an acclaimed traveling Black History exhibit founded in 2010. The breathtaking array of artifacts spans from the 1600s to the 21st Century. Brother Saffold founded the Museum to preserve the history of African-American people and educate others to the many significant contributions that African-Americans have made to humanity. “Having lived with white supremacy and endured countless acts of racism, this work is both vital and therapeutic to me personally,” says Saffold. The mission of this unique traveling museum is to instill self-esteem and pride and increase knowledge, awareness, cultural sensitivity, and understanding for the historical experience of AfricanAmericans. Brother Saffold’s parents, the late Fred and Annice Saffold, who grew up in the Jim Crow South, have been an inspiration for him in this work.
Saffold is both intentional and consistent in promoting African history to pre-date and eclipse the period of enslavement. Saffold says too many Americans of all races know little of Black history outside of slavery or much about what has happened since. The True Black History Museum fills those educational gaps and voids. “I do the work to bring about change, ultimately. I want the world to know that Black people have value. We have made significant, incalculable contributions to humanity the world over,” he stressed.
The True Black History Museum has presented exhibitions in 40 states to date, and has been seen by more than 100,000 people across the country. The remarkable collection comprises original African artifacts, African material culture, signed historical documents, and photographs from historical figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Booker T. Washington, Mary McLeod Bethune, Malcolm X,
President Barack Obama, and many more. The extensive collection also houses artifacts from the slavery era, Reconstruction, Jim Crow era, and the Civil Rights/Black Power era. In addition, the collection celebrates and highlights the contributions of African Americans in the arts, sciences, sports, entertainment, education, and political arenas.
“We collect items from rare artifact dealers, other museums, used books stores, antique shops, and we also receive donations,” Saffold says. It is not uncommon for visitors to be so moved during a visit to the exhibit that they donate items to the collection. For example, during an exhibit at a college in the Midwest, a student of African descent was so stirred emotionally by what she saw that she took off the necklace she was given as a youth in Ghana and donated it to the Museum on the spot. “When I see a person of African descent filled with pride after they’ve seen or learned something from the exhibit, it gives me great joy and
The Oracle Black History Features
gratification,” said Saffold. “When we can reach a non-person of color, and they truly begin to understand their role and responsibility in eradicating white supremacy, I know that my work is effective.”
Before founding the True Black History Museum, Brother Saffold retired as a decorated retired Lieutenant from the Detroit Police Department, where he was awarded the Police Medal of Valor and Purple Heart. He is dedicated to his community and is a member of numerous local and national civic organizations, including the NAACP and the Urban League. He is a board member of the Michigan Chapter of Negro League Players, the Michigan Hip Hop Archives, and an Advisory Board member of the ACLU of Michigan. He currently serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Wayne County Community College in Detroit, MI. Brother Saffold lectures nationally on issues of Black History and Racial Justice.
As a member of the fraternity, Brother Saffold has shown the same dedication to service as in other areas of his life. Initiated through Phi Zeta Chapter, Ferris State University on 3-25-89, he still finds time to work for Omega. Brother
Saffold currently serves as the Tenth District Director of Public Relations, an elected position he’s held since 2019. Also, he has served on the International Community and Civic Affairs Committee since 2017. He is a charter member of Tau Kappa Kappa Chapter in Southfield, Michigan, and remains very active with the chapter.
Brother Saffold’s work with the True Black History Museum is making a difference. Although his 2021 tour has been entirely virtual due to the current pandemic, the Museum has not missed a beat in culturally educating the masses. The schedule is as busy as it’s ever been with virtual Black History events nearly every day in February, and much of March, as he honors Black Women during Women’s History Month. The museum celebrates black history 365 days a year.
Prized novelist James Baldwin once said, “People are trapped in history, and history is trapped in them.” Brother Saffold is elevating the history of a people who elevated themselves and sharing that glory with the world. We salute Brother Saffold and the True Black History Museum. For more information about the True Black History Museum, please visit www.trueblackhistory.com.
“BROTHERS, THE OMEGA TRAIN CONTINUES TO MOVE TO THE NEXT LEVEL, ARE YOU ON BOARD?”
The International Reclamation and Retention committee of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., plays a vital role in the lifecycle of our chapters, districts and international membership. We are responsible for creating and providing programs and initiatives that focus on reclamation and retention and actively support the continued growth and development of our dynamic brotherhood.
Understanding that every member is an integral part of the foundation of Omega, we do not take financial membership for granted. Members are the most important component of our brotherhood and your level of commitment and active involvement directly impacts our overall success.
Our Reclamation and Retention theme “Each One Bring One“ is a call to action for every member to make it a personal commitment to Stay Omega Strong (SOS) - financial, actively involved and committed.
There is nothing wrong with asking a brother: Are you financial? Are you actively involved in the business of Omega? Are you committed to making sure that the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., continues to enjoy the rich legacy that our founders (Love, Cooper Coleman and Just) created and envisioned back in 1911? Brothers, starting the first black fraternity at a historically black university wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. Reclamation and Retention isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.
Remember, the stronger our numbers, the bigger our voice.
Brothers, the Omega train continues to move to the next level, are you on board? If so, make Reclamation and Retention, one of our nationally mandated programs, a major priority and your personal commitment to “Each One Bring One.”
ALPHA OMEGA BLACK HISTORY MONTH SERIES
This was the impetus behind the chapter’s decision to have a conversation with three trailblazers that were history makers in the lives of people within the African American community. We began the inaugural event with opening prayer delivered by our esteemed host and facilitator Rev. Courtney L. Miller followed by opening remarks from Chapter Basileus, Dr. Lucius Dalton. He explained that the genesis of this series was sparked by William E. Baugh who was the 15th Grand Basileus of our beloved Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated in 1935, it was during his tenure he established the Omega Psi Phi lecture series. Thus, this spawned the Alpha Omega chapter's Black History Month lectures. Let's meet our speakers...
Brother Dr. Alfred Taylor Jr.
• Married 67 years and 15 days to his beloved wife Delores until her passing. They were blessed to have two children, three grandsons and two-great granddaughters. He has been driven by his life-long mantra: "If I can help somebody as I travel along, then my living would not be in vain."
• Administrator, Printer, Scholar, Teacher, Author, Speaker, and Lecturer
• Dr. Taylor served as the Associate Dean of the College of Physical Science, Engineering and Technology; Coordinator of Admissions and Records, Assistant Provost for Students Services, Assistant Dean of the College of Professional Studies (and was later named Acting Dean). He retired from the University of the District of Columbia after thirty-one years of service.
• Initiated in Alpha Omega Chapter in 1974
• Basileus of Alpha Omega Chapter from 1987-1988
On February 13, 2021 at 4PM, the discussion centered around the contributions of individuals that lived and worked within the area of Arlington, Virginia known as Green Valley. This area was predominately black and produced many men and women who made significant contributions to Black and American history. Dr. Taylor highlighted many folks featured in his books, Bridge Builders of Nauck/Green Valley and "What an Amazing Journey", an autobiography. The following are some significant contributors that came out of the community known as Green Valley:
• Gerald Bullock Designed the Naval Ship Gallies on the Nimitz Class Aircraft Carriers.
• Major General Robert C. Gaskill was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry after completing Reserve Officer Training as a Distinguished Military Graduate at Howard University. First African American to become Quartermaster General to be deputy commander at the Army War College.
The Oracle Black History
“TO KNOW YOUR PAST IS TO UNDERSTAND YOUR FUTURE...”
Brother C. Delray Brown
• Roberta Flack, famous singer, song writer and scholar.
• Milton Rowe, who served as the Whitehouse Butler during the Kennedy Administration.
Dr. Taylor shared stories about people in every walk of life from the Green Valley area that made significant contributions. It was an enlightening and amazing afternoon of history being shared. The lecture can be viewed and listen to in its entirety via the Zoom recording link.
Brother Peter Parham
• Married 52 years (Jacqueline) and one daughter (Tuere Butler, former District Director for Congressman John Lewis)
• Educator, Administrator, Special Assistant to Sen. Edward Kennedy, Chief of Staff for DC Public Schools, Consultant, and retired as of 2013.
• Delaware State University graduate, Initiated in Psi Epsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., in 1965, Solo aka "Lone Dog"
• Alpha Omega Chapter member since 2015
On February 20, 2021 at 4PM, The discussion with Bro. Peter Parham centered on the creation and passing of the Martin Luther King, Holiday Bill. The interviewer and discussion leader for the day was Bro. Nijel Redrick. As always following protocol we had opening remarks from Alpha Omega Chapter Basileus, Dr. Lucius Dalton and he explained the genesis of the program. Bro. Redrick began by asking Bro. Parham to talk about his interesting lineage dating back to the founding of this country. On his maternal side he is a descendant of the indigenous people known as the Wampanoag Tribe. The translation of the name Wampanoag is "people of the first light". They were the first native people in the beginning of the 17th century to encounter English colonists in Mashpee, Massachusetts.
Bro. Redrick asked, when was your first remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King?
Bro. Parham responded that he became aware of Dr. King at an early age because Dr. King would frequent his neighborhood. Bro. Parham shared that, Dr. King was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., at Attorney Baron H. Martin’s home, which was a few houses down from his. Bro. Parham stated that his life encapsulated what he called a multitude of intersections which was important to his growth as a man. For example, his mentor Rev. Michael Haynes (Omega Man) was the youth minister at the historic 12th Baptist Church in Boston; this church was formerly an anti-slavery meeting house for freed black slaves. Dr. Martin Luther King would preach as an assistant minister at 12th Baptist Church while attending Boston University. Rev Haynes and Dr. King became the best of friends and the church was also instrumental in Dr. King meeting his wife Coretta. In addition, Rev. Haynes was instrumental in brother Parham meeting Sen. Kennedy through a youth club called the Exquisites in 1963.
The story continues...In 1974 during court ordered desegregation, Brother Parham was interviewed and made special assistant to the superintendent of schools in Boston when all the turbulence regarding school busing exploded. A couple of years later in 1976 he was asked to interview and became the Special Assistance to Sen. Kennedy. He arrived in Washington in January 1977 and hit the ground running. In 1979, Ms. King requested a meeting with Sen. Kennedy for a hearing to make MLK's birthday a National Holiday. He worked with Sen. Kennedy and the Congressional Black Caucus on bill S25 to partner with HR15. During the Senate hearings, Bro. Parham was
Alpha Omega Black History Monthly Program, continued
responsible for shepherding the legislation through the Senate process.. On November 2, 1983, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday legislation was signed into law. What a story and rich legacy that was shared on that afternoon. To listen and view the lecture in its entirety please use the following Zoom recording link.
Brother Dr. Bruce Bradford
• Married 50 years to Patricia his college sweetheart, 4 children and 6 grandchildren
• Educator, Coach (Swimming, Tennis and Baseball) and teacher at DC Public Schools retired after 45 years of public service
• Created first class to help at risk youth with mitigating issues called, “Alternative to Violence" class at H.D. Woodson
• Tennessee State University graduate, Initiated in Mighty Rho Psi chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., in 1967
• 4-year Scholarship athlete on the Tennessee State Tiger Shark Swim Team
• Former President of DC Coaches Association for DC Public Schools
• Inducted into the Hall of Fame for the National Association of Black Scuba Divers
• Former President of American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)
On 27 February 2021 at 4PM, The discussion with Bro. Bruce Bradford a native Washingtonian whose life has centered around Teaching and Aquatics in the Washington DC area. The interviewer and discussion leader for the day was Dr. E. Newton Jackson Jr., who was a former head swimming and diving coach (1993-1998) at Howard University. The majority of Brother Bradford's coaching tenure was with the H.D. Woodson swim team where for 33 years, he was able to send numerous students to HBCUs such as Tennessee State, South Carolina State, John C. Smith, Hampton, & Alabama State. Brother Bradford's passion for swimming led him to other aquatic endeavors such as scuba diving. This new love drove him to become a certified scuba diving instructor. As always, he sought to share his new skill with others. Thus, he has been able to train 27 students into becoming certified scuba divers in various certifications.
Dr. Jackson offered for historical reference several coaches that didn’t get notoriety that sent students to school via swimming scholarships. Here are just a few coaches and swimmers out of Washington DC; Stanley Gainor, Roy Fagen, Fred Evans- first American to go under a minute in the Breast Stroke, Dr. Bobby Murray -swam at Wilson High School and the University of Michigan where he became the 3rd person to go under 30 seconds in the 50 meter freestyle and Alpha Omega's own, Courtney L. Miller who is the current assistant swimming and diving coach at Howard University. In addition, Jim Ellis was one black swim coach that received some attention with the 2007 release of the movie (Pride) based on his life of coaching in the Philadelphia Department of Recreation in Pennsylvania. The day was spent discussing the great achievements of African Americans in swimming and the men of Omega. We will always remember, "Omega Men are everywhere, making history and making firsts!" To listen and view the lecture in its entirety please use the following Zoom recording link.
OMEGA WHEREFORE ART THOU
As societal forces battle for the souls of the Negro male, wherefore is Omega Psi Phi in this apocalyptic battle. Are we a dignified organization with relevance in our respective communities, exercising decorum and proper restraint in public, or are we a caricature of decades old stereotypes? Having your tongue out with one leg up while wearing a suit does not exude professionalism or command respect. In a book that many may have read, 1 Corinthians 13:11 says “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Walking around being “owt/out” while wearing cut off camouflage pants, purple and gold helmets, and unlaced gold boots as a quadragenarian is a tad cartoonish. Continuing to condone actions by men that are tricenarians, and more sadly, even sexagenarians, unfortunately speaks to a collective mindset that will perdure as long as we shrug our collective shoulders at behavior that would normally be considered youthful indiscretions. If you didn’t join Omega while in college, then face it, certain things you just missed.
Please expect to get ignored and possibly even get the “Heisman pose” if you deign to bark at a Bro. (that’s the term we used when I was a member of the Mother Pearl) while he is out with a client or engaging in any other work-related function. There is a way to discreetly get an Omega man’s attention. If you don’t know how to, then have a tête-à-tête with your sponsor or responsible chapter member so that they may inculcate you in the proper manner. A Bro. once told me that because of attitude and beliefs at the time, he was “blocking his blessings” due to his less than brotherly interactions with certain “bruhs.” Although he was using it in a slightly different context, it is apropos here because you may be costing yourself a potential friend so don’t let your actions block your blessings.
Set an example that others within and outside the Fraternity may follow. Furthermore, let us elevate the level of discourse beyond the “set out” and bogus
“knowledge bruh” challenges. One may deem himself a doyen of the most sacrosanct mysteries of Omega, but yet is oblivious to the history and notable achievements of the Negro in the diaspora, many of whom are/were his Fraternity brothers. If not a subject matter expert in his chosen field of endeavor or respected in his profession, it is disingenuous to say that he exhibits our second cardinal principle.
I learn more from dialoguing with a bro about his vocation and life experiences than about philosophical balderdash and esoterica stirred up “Betty Crocker style.” If by chance there is a time and a place for the nonsense, it will never determine the measure of a good Omega man. There is a culture that perpetuates the narrative and many gullible novices (since the other “n” word in the fraternity is now verboten) seek validation by indulging in these asinine exchanges but that’s akin to looking for love in all the wrong places. The mental gymnastics that ensue reminds me of giving a blind monkey a loaded AK-47 . . . nothing good will come from it.
While I am not the behavior or protocol police, also I am not one to discourage any bro from exhibiting his enthusiasm for the Fraternity. However, if you want to truly be “out,” then be outstanding and not outrageous because in December 1911 C.E., the three undergraduate Founders would not have chosen the latter. If we are consistent with our high ideals, then living our creed will neither be a challenge nor a crux.
Ivory Gene Cooper
Life Member #2924
Alpha Omega Chapter
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"OLD SCHOOL" I.G. COOPER - ALPHA CHAPTER CIRCA 1979 WWW.OPPF.ORG/CALLINGALLQUES TO SUBMIT PHOTOS TheOracle-Spring2021 29
DUKE UNIVERSITY, DURHAM, NC
Durham, NC - Duke University Senior safety Brother Michael Carter II (Omega Zeta 2020) was announced as one of 20 semifinalists for the Fourth Annual Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award.
Compiled by a subset of the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Selection Committee, the semifinalists have all demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field.
Brother Carter has been instrumental in Duke's secondary throughout his four years. In 43 career games (33 starts), he has compiled 125 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three interceptions, one caused fumble, one fumble recovery and 22 pass breakups.
As a preseason All-ACC selection at safety and a team captain for the Blue Devils, Carter is a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy which recognizes the nation's best football scholar-athlete. While on course to graduate this May, the Douglasville, GA native maintains a 3.37 GPA as a public policy major while working towards a markets and management certificate.
Brother Carter is a two-time Academic All-ACC selection and has garnered ACC Academic Honor Roll nods in each of his three seasons in Durham. In the community, he has volunteered numerous hours whether it's been with Habitat for Humanity, the Ronald McDonald House, or the Urban Ministries of Durham. Carter is also highly involved in the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, which focuses on uplifting people and communities through service.
Seventeen seniors and three juniors make up the list. Among conferences,
Photo: Duke Football
the SEC led the way with six selections, while the Pac 12 and ACC had three each. The Big Ten and Big 12 each had two semifinalists, while the American Athletic Conference, MAC and Mountain West each had one selection. There is also one semifinalist from an FBS Independent program. Three finalists will be named for the award on Wednesday, December 16. The winner will be announced at the award ceremony on February 16, 2021.
Last year, Tennessee's Trey Smith won the award. The first two Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year awards were presented to Shaquem Griffin of UCF in 2017 and D'Cota Dixon of Wisconsin in 2018. The award, presented by Albertsons and Tom Thumb, is the first college football honor to focus primarily on
a player's leadership, both on and off the field. Leadership is a term synonymous with Jason Witten, who, in addition to becoming one of the best tight ends in the history of the sport, has served as one of football's most prominent role models during his 16-year professional football career. In addition to winning the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2012, Witten also received the Bart Starr Award, Pro Football Weekly's Humanitarian of the Year Award, Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP and the Bob Lilly Award, among many others. All of those honors have recognized his work in the community, achievements on the field and dedication to his teammates and family.
“It's my honor to announce this impressive group of student-athletes as semifinalists for the fourth annual Collegiate Man of the Year,” said
Witten. “With all of the challenges this year has given us, these young men are shining examples of what makes college football great. They have demonstrated exceptional character and leadership, often while facing large challenges. They are great representatives for the game of football, and I commend all nominees for getting to this point.” The winner of the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year will also receive a $10,000 contribution in his name to his school's athletic scholarship fund. The contribution will be made by Jason Witten's SCORE Foundation, the official charity of Jason and his wife Michelle. The SCORE Foundation, founded in 2007, has positively impacted tens of thousands of children and families in Texas and Tennessee over the last 13 years. The foundation operates its nationally-recognized SCORE keepers program, which places trained male mentors on staff to work with children at family violence shelters, at nine shelters in the two states.
SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, SYRACUSE, NY
KAPPA CHAPTER, EMBARKING ON YEARS AT SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY
Syracuse, New York – February 28, 2021, Kappa Chapter was chartered at Syracuse University on February 18, 1922. COVID-19 has created a new reality within our brotherhood and a challenging time for Undergraduate chapters. With Perseverance being one of our Cardinal Principles, Kappa Chapter has maintained a consistent and robust presence within Syracuse University and the 2nd District during this international pandemic.
In 2021, the Kappa Chapter brothers will continue upholding the Fraternity's nationally mandated programs, which symbolizes a cornerstone of the chapter's rich tradition.
During Fall 2021, Kappa Chapter Brothers aspire to have a successful Bookbag Drive for Van Duyn Elementary School students by providing book bags and school supplies. During the past seven (7) years, our chapter's presence has impacted and uplifted countless young minds as they pursue their dreams.
During the 2021 Holiday Season, Kappa Chapter will contribute non-perishable food items to the Southwest Community Center during Thanksgiving. We have fed numerous families and maintained our annual Canned Food Drive for over thirty-five (35) years.
Lastly, through our partnership with Chi Pi Chapter, Kappa Chapter will contribute toys/money for Christmas for their Annual Toy Drive at Van Duyn Elementary School. Many times, these are the only gifts that these students receive for Christmas.
These endeavors represent a sample size of various Kappa Chapter programs and their impact on those we serve, embarking toward our one hundredth-year celebration at Syracuse University.
Through our consistent efforts, Kappa Chapter received the 2nd District Undergraduate Chapter of the Year in two consecutive years (2019 & 2020).
As we continue implementing our nationally mandated programs, we will follow strict Safety Guidelines and Protocols for all we serve.
COLLEGE LIFE AT MOREHOUSE DURING COVID
Morehouse College’s Psi Chapter Brother Miles Brown shares a few thoughts on student life during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“The brothers were only able to see each other during Psi Chapter’s virtual prayer calls; however, one day last fall semester we drove up to our quiet empty campus to help feed the homeless. It was both the 1st time the brotherhood had seen each other in person for quite a while and the 1st time we had conducted a social service activity since the coronavirus outbreak,” said Brother Miles Brown who helped on this day with Psi Chapter’s “Sandwich Run” program at Morehouse College. Morehouse made the decision to reopen for a hybrid Spring 2021 Semester on February 1st after hearing from students and parents and collaborating with partnering institutions at the Atlanta University Center (AUC) who also planned to reopen. Morehouse partially reopened its campus to accommodate up to 1,200 freshmen and upperclassmen and a limited number of faculty and staff members. The AUC Center is monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and the development of a vaccine. Morehouse closed its campus on March 12, 2020, due to the global pandemic. [BY D. AILEEN DODD, NOV. 16, 2020, INSIDE THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF MOREHOUSE COLLEGE]
Prior to COVID-19, the annual Sandwich Run was done in the most uplifting spirit on the bustling campuses of Morehouse, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University. “However, due to the community’s needs because of the coronavirus outbreak, we adjusted our Psi Chapter mission to operate on a weekly basis. So, the Brothers decided to pull up on campus, operate with social distancing and protocol, make sandwiches, and then distribute sandwiches every weekend to the homeless,” said Brother Brown who’s studying ‘only’ online and is on schedule to graduate this spring with a Business Administration degree with a concentration in Accounting. “The key to learning and studying online is ‘to keep track of things as closely as possible’… thereby,
MOREHOUSE COLLEGE, ATLANTA GA
I am able to avoid rare moments when it appears that the days seem to run into each other, and one feels like he’s just sitting at home, not in a learning environment. So, I take a quick check to see what day of the week it is, in order to realign myself at that slight moment,” stated Brother Brown regarding how he manages time in his off-campus apartment for the second straight semester of learning ‘only’ online.
Brother Brown is accustomed to having a busy schedule as he is a student athlete. He played tight end for 4 years with the Morehouse Maroon Tigers football program, which has a rich storied history since 1913. In addition, he has earned membership in two scholastic honor societies, the National Society of Leadership and Success, the nation's largest leadership honor society with 700+ chapters, and Alpha Lambda Delta, a certified national honor society that recognizes academic excellence in one’s first year at a college or university.
Brother Brown believes he has transitioned and adjusted to studying and learning online as smoothly as possible. He does believe that there could be better lines of communication since at times it is “hard to best portray a comment, question, or answer in a virtual setting, especially when the topic is a little complex. Some topics are more challenging when you are not in the classroom and the teacher isn’t present in front of you. There are questions you ask in class and receive an immediate answer.” Furthermore, he explains that online learning also experiences small lapses in communication that is hindered by a lack of body language and eye contact, not seen in a virtual setting. At the same time, he says communication is boosted by the teachers who answer emails immediately or at the earliest convenience. “A professor who replies to an email with clarity is so helpful with the understanding of the topic and overall communications.” “Overall, I have had continuous and successful communications when taking online classes. My daily routines and responsibilities have been similar wherever I am. I was at home in Bowie, Maryland when COVID first broke out. And I took out the trash, prepared my own food, and helped my mom with whatever
The Oracle Undergraduates 33 TheOracle-Spring2021
responsibilities. So, to me, there isn’t a difference when I take classes at home or when I’m in my apartment near the Morehouse campus because my routines and responsibilities are similar,” stated Brother Brown, who is blessed with both Howard University alumni grandparents and Hampton University alumni parents. In addition to this unique global pandemic, Brother Brown also recalled the significant movement in communities who marched with calls to re-examine the intensity of racial inequities, police brutality, and social injustices across the nation in 2020. “I think the recent examination of inequalities across the nation has shined a colossal light on what African Americans have faced and managed for the longest of times. And, as one knows, due to the media being a very powerful outlet, the marches are more quickly seen and widely covered than in the past. Also, I do think that our past civil rights legends have helped today’s African American leaders write the narrative for our protests and civil unrest. Now, I feel it is ‘my generation’s turn to take the lead.’ Therefore, today’s narrative, I believe, is being written and told by my darker skin color generation of writers more than those of other colors.”
Brother Brown confidently expressed that his immediate plan after graduation is to attend graduate school in the sports management and industry studies arena while his long-term goal is to be a general manager for a professional football team or an athletic director at the collegiate level. These plans are very promising as illustrated by his achievements which also include memberships in the Morehouse Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA) an association dedicated to providing leadership and technical training, as well as networking and career opportunities, the Morehouse Business Association, and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), an organization that provides student-athletes with the education and experiences needed to assist them in bridging the gap from college to the professional world. “I am here to get an education, to productively use the time that my coaches invested in me, to wisely use the time and money my parents invested in me… I am here to graduate,” strongly stated Brother Brown, who is now known as a ‘Man of Morehouse’ like all students. And “I feel my future is bright! I will continue to go after the goals which I have set out to get, regardless of what I have been through over the last two semesters.” With that said, Brother Brown is soon destined to be called -like all students who graduate -- a ‘Morehouse Man.’
PSI CHAPTER SERVES
Since the pandemic began, our events have been limited to being held virtually. However, one event has grown exponentially over the past few months: Sandwich Run. So far, this initiative has distributed 27,000 meals across six major cities. Below is a statement from Bro. Noah McQueen, the coordinator of Sandwich Run:
Sandwich Run is an event that originated in the Atlanta University Consortium (AUC) as an annual service. With the pandemic having had such a negative impact on the Atlanta community, students at the AUC felt the need to take action. Sandwich Run then became a weekly event under the Lifting Our Voices organization. Volunteers have been able to feed hundreds of people per week, even extending its reach to communities in California, Chicago, Chattanooga, Orlando, and Miami. Over time, Lifting Our Voices has grown to forge relationships with other universities, including the FAMU Law School, and intends on continued expansion. Through the growth of Sandwich Run, Lifting Our Voices has been able to charter chapters in both the AUC and Georgia State University. With a vision for change and philanthropy, Lifting Our Voices will continue to impact its local communities through its Sandwich Run initiative. Additionally, we’ve collected and dispersed over 3,000 clothing and toiletries items to those in need. For December, we collected more than 1,500 toys for children in families suffering from financial instability. We stand in solidarity with all members of our community; we recognize that no person deserves to go without food and love. Furthermore, we began a voter registration initiative signing up over 250 people to vote. We look forward to continuing to spread love throughout the community. Additionally, Lifting Our Voices has taken an active role in educating and guiding Atlanta youth through its mentorship program in collaboration with Utopian Academy. This program focuses on the social, mental, and scholastic advancement of young Black men. Lifting Our Voices has been featured for its work on several projects, including articles on The Barack Obama Foundation’s website, My Brother’s Keeper, and The Atlanta Voice’s documentary which highlights the issues faced by people experiencing homelessness. Lifting Our Voices has been fortunate enough to make meaningful change in the community while reaching a wide audience, and we can only hope that the organization continues to grow.
College Life At Morehouse, continued
Brother Nicholas Jenkins
Delta Eta Chapter began at Southern State College, now Southern Arkansas University, as Omega Kappa Alpha, an interest group. In September 1972, Wilber “Zero” King and Terry “Prexy” Calahan organized Southern State College’s first African American Greek letter organization. In 1983 Wilber King, James Phillips, and Lawrence McKinney, charter members of Omega Kappa Alpha, became affiliated with the local Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., graduate chapter, Kappa Chi Chapter. Subsequently, Delta Eta Chapter received its charter on February 18, 1975 at Southern State thus becoming the first nationally recognized African American fraternity at the college.
Members pledge to live by Omega Psi Phi’s cardinal principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift. Members of Delta Eta Chapter are making a positive impact in their respective communities, states, and the nation as leaders in arts, academics, athletics, businesses, civil rights, armed forces, law enforcement, education, government, agriculture, and science.
Delta Eta Chapter’s origins can be traced to Omega Kappa Alpha, an interest group organized at Southern State College, now Southern Arkansas University, in September 1972 by Wilber “Zero” King and Terry “Prexy” Calahan. (The interest group became Southern State’s first African American Greek letter organization.) In 1973 Wilber King, James Phillips, and Lawrence McKinney, charter members of Omega Kappa Alpha, joined the local Omega Psi Phi Fraternity graduate chapter, Kappa Chi Chapter.
Subsequently, Delta Eta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., received its charter on February 18, 1975 at Southern State. Thus, it became the first nationally recognized African American fraternity at the university.
Its members pledge to live by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s cardinal principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift. Members of Delta Eta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., are making a positive impact in their respective communities, states, and the nation as leaders in arts, academics, athletics, businesses, civil rights, armed forces, law enforcement, education, government, agriculture, and science.
SOUTHERN ARKANSAS UNIVERSITY, MAGNOLIA, AR 35 TheOracle-Spring2021
BENEDICT COLLEGE, COLUMBIA, SC
BROTHER CIN'QUE K. WILSON MY MOTHER'S SON
Who am I? I am the son of Lee Vern Wilson and Carroll D. Sutton. I was born August 13, 1997. I am the youngest of eight siblings. I have five sisters and three brothers. I am my mother’s son that graduated from college with Honors and a Cord.
I attended elementary school at North Vista Elementary School in Florence, SC. It went okay for those two years. It began to become more difficult as the years progressed. As my mom described my life to me, it became evident that I was having problems grasping information and applying it. My teachers indicated I had a learning block.
This is where my first experience of feeling defeated began. My mom said they kept her in Individual Plan (IP) meetings for me. She said I was enrolled in a resource class. I felt separated but I didn’t know how to relay the feeling to my mom. This was a feeling I couldn’t explain, I kept it to myself, too ashamed, maybe even afraid to talk about it. The failure seemed to keep trailing me; it wouldn’t go away. I wanted it to leave me alone, but it was a shadow, a bad shadow, that only I could feel.
Then I failed the 3rd grade, which
caused me to feel as if I’d never achieve my goals. My friends made fun of me because they moved on and left me behind. I felt I would never catch up. I felt I would never be good enough, even though I tried my hardest. Oh how I wanted to tell my mom what I was feeling, but I didn’t know how. It hurt so bad. Mom said the school officials gave up on me. They told her to put me in special education, because they felt I could not learn. Mom asked questions, trying to understand. I was her last, yet first child, her last son that showed a learning disability. I can only imagine what she went through, for at that time, she was a single parent. She scrambled for help, talking to everyone for solutions to keep me from failing. Mom continued trying to find help to keep me from failing again. Finally my hearing was tested and I learned that I was deaf in my left ear. Finally, an explanation to my learning problem. The School Principal, Assistant Principal, and a few teachers seemed to feel I was doomed to special education. So they thought! My mom said she told them she didn’t have any special needs kids and she didn’t know who they were referring to. She decided that she wasn’t signing any paperwork that would allow them to place me in special education. She
spoke with a few of her friends and church members and was advised to try Christian Education. This is where life began to change again. I wasn’t sure what to think about any of it, but as a child, you follow what your parents say. I was enrolled in the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church school. I attended the school for two years. The school closed, and I was transferred to another SDA church school. The principal/teacher there told my mom not to worry about paying, just bring me to school and they would work the rest out, and that’s what my mom did. My mom volunteered at the school making lunches, etc. to offset the cost. The teacher/principal did her part. She taught me and didn’t give up on me. Niether did my other teachers. They ALL refused to let me fail again!!! I stayed after school to do extra projects, extra reading, etc. Now my family wasn’t one that had plenty of money but my mom knew I needed a change.
I attended Christian Education from 4th-7th grade. When time came for me to enter 8th grade I was more than ready. My mom continued to push me forward and was informed of a program that could catch me up to my correct grade. Mom entered me into the program and I completed
8th and 9th grade in one year, I did it! I was back on track. This was a challenge I did not think I could rise too but I did. With time I grew more confident, met new friends, teachers and a new Principal who believed in me. When my 9th grade year ended I was officially in my correct grade. For my 10th grade year I was back to my zoned school, Wilson High. Was I nervous? YES! Thanks to my mom who had the faith I could do it.
Fast forward, I played sports for three years in high school., I sustained lots of injuries, recuperated, and continued playing sports until I graduated. Then it was time to consider college. I did what I thought then was good for me. I completed my college application with the help of my guidance counselor. I got accepted to Benedict College, did four years, ran track, got scholarships, and my mom and I filled out financial aid paperwork, I struggled some, but I didn’t quit. Guess what? I graduated in 4.5 years with my bachelor’s degree, majoring in Sports Management with a minor in Recreation. I finished with honors with a 4.0 GPA. I also received the President’s Award. Yes! I’m more than proud of myself and my accomplishments, it’s not over yet.
OH, BY THE WAY, DID I SAY, I PLEDGED AS AN OMEGA….WENT THROUGH THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS, CROSSED AND I AM PROUD TO SAY, I AM A MEMBER OF THE OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY, INC!
I know nothing but to keep pushing, strive to be my best; one day I will be at the top!!! See you there!!!
MY MOTTO: GET ON THIS TRAIN WITH ME AND LET’S GET MOVING OR MOVE OUT MY WAY, BECAUSE THIS TRAIN AIN’T STOPPING FOR NO FOOLISHNESS, YA HEAR!!!
Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC
LAMBDA GAMMA CHAPTER SETS UP VOTING BOOTHS FOR 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
The 2020 Election was one of the most important elections in the history of the United States. It was key to changing the trajectory of our country and moving in a more positive direction. Having a game-changing election during a pandemic was definitely a challenge. Though many voters participated in early voting and mailing in their ballots, there were still voters who opted to come on Election Day to cast their vote. Iit was important to strategize and organize a system that would keep voters, as well as the poll workers, safe. The brothers of Lambda Gamma Chapter of Elizabeth City State University set up voting booths, 6 feet apart, to ensure social distancing. The brothers also assisted by guiding voters as they entered and exited the voting area. The brothers of Lambda Gamma definitely made an impact; their contribution to their poll location definitely put people at ease making them feel safe.
The Oracle Undergraduates
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COLUMBIA, SC
ZETA ZETA ESTABLISHES ENDOWMENT
Columbia, SC. - In April 2013, the brothers and alumni brothers of Zeta Zeta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. undertook the formidable task of establishing The Zeta Zeta College Endowment Foundation, Inc. (ZZCEF) at the University of South Carolina (USC) main campus, Columbia, SC. This endowment represents the first of its kind ever established by a National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organization at USC.
In 2016, after meeting the university’s initial requirement of raising $25,000, the Zeta Zeta brothers through ZZCEF began awarding scholarships to students of underrepresented groups attending the University of South Carolina. On January 23, 2021, ZZCEF sponsored a Virtual Day Party during which the men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., along with their family, friends, and fellow University of South Carolina alumni and undergraduate students raised $20,000 for the endowment.
The ZZCEF Board of Directors are Chairman, Brother Russell Brown, Esquire; Vice Chairman, Brother Charlie Stephenson; Treasurer, Brother Dylan Bess, Esquire; Secretary, Brother Jerome Dawson; Brother Cliff Burns, Brother Carl Dean, Brother Marshall Ellerbe, III (undergraduate), Brother Nakia McCloud (undergraduate), Brother Leonard Pendergrass, Brother Damion Robbs, Brother Rick Robinson, Brother Ernest Saylor, and Brother Marquise Wideman. Feel free to donate via ZZCEF, PO Box 8482, Columbia, SC 29202; firstname.lastname@example.org
ALPHA DELTA DELTA
LOUISIANA TECH UNIVERSITY, RUSTON, LA
DELTA DELTA SNOW CLEAN UP
BLACK HISTORY FACTS
Brother Ivan Dixon, Spring 54 Tau Psi Chapter at North Carolina Central University is a legend in the television and film industry. He most famously played the role of Staff Sergeant James “Kinch” Kinckloe on the series, “Hogan’s Heroes."
He was a director on television and movie productions such as The Waltons, The Rockford Files, The Bionic Woman, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, Magnum, P.I., and The A-Team. Dixon's first feature film as director was the blaxploitation thriller Trouble Man. He also directed the controversial 1973 feature film “The Spook Who Sat by the Door.”
During Dixon’s “Hogan’s Heroes” days, he was one of only a few African American men on television. While he reportedly left the show because he felt he was underutilized, and he considered other acting roles more definitive of his career, he didn’t mind being recognized for the role of Kincheloe, his daughter, Nomathande Dixon, told The Associated Press after his death. “It was a pivotal role as well, because there were not as many Black people in TV series at that time,” she said. “He did have some personal issues with that role, but it also launched him into directing.”
As a director, like he was as an actor, Dixon was a pioneer. After receiving positive press while directing Maya Angelou and Cicely Tyson in a Los Angeles production of “The Blacks,” Bill Cosby told Dixon to try his hand at TV, and Dixon did just that.
“In the ’70s and ’80s, when it was still very rare to see Black people behind the camera in movies, Dixon was quietly racking up dozens of directing credits on TV productions, including series such as ‘The Waltons,’ ‘The Rockford Files,’ ‘The Greatest American Hero,’ and ‘Magnum, P.I.,'” Entertainment Weekly noted.
Dixon was born April 6, 1931 and grew up in Harlem. In 1954 he graduated with a degree in drama from North Carolina Central University where the drama group is still called the Ivan Dixon Players. Dixon made his Broadway debut in 1957 in “The Cave Dwellers.” A few years later, he played Nigerian student Joseph Asagai in the original 1959 Broadway production of “A Raisin in the Sun,” then reprised the role in the 1961 film. His co-star in both, Sidney Poitier, became a lifelong friend.
Bro. Dixon was a legendary pioneer that paved the way for Black actors and directors today.
TheOracle-Spring2021 39 TheOracle-Spring2021 39
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, East Lansing, Michigan
Sigma Chapter Holds Charles Drew Blood Drive
The Brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Chapter, hosted their annual Charles Drew Blood Drive on the campus of Michigan State University on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The Brothers of Sigma Chapter partnered with the American Red Cross to collect over 25 pints of blood throughout the day. Brother Ryan Thomas, Basileus of Sigma Chapter stated, “this was a great event, as it was one of the first events on campus since the pandemic. We were able to get a lot of participation from campus partners and the community.” Sigma chapter holds this mandated event annually, and this year was special, as the event marked the 60th anniversary of the chapter being on the campus of
Michigan State University. “This was a special day for us, and we were excited to provide this much-needed service to our campus community,” said Brother Thomas. Brother Anthony Hines Jr., shared “it feels good to see people come out and participate in a worthy cause.” During the blood drive, the brothers of Sigma Chapter made sure that people were following CDC guidelines while on campus. They handled check-ins and even donated blood themselves. Brother Hines went on to say, “while the country is getting itself back together due to the pandemic, I feel like it is also our responsibility as Omega Men to provide assistance wherever it is needed.”
The Oracle Undergraduates 40
florida state university, Tallahassee, fl
REPRINT - WINTER 2021
On Saturday, October 17, 2020 from 12pm - 3pm brothers of the Mighty Mighty Chi Theta Chapter, attended the unveiling of a newly reconstructed basketball court at Alexander Park in Hernando, FL. The reconstruction project was spearheaded by Bro. Devonte White, 10-14 Chi Theta Chapter with the support of Bro. Shane Lawal, Solo-08 Omicron Alpha Alpha Chapter.
The renovated court serves as a place for kids who love basketball and helps them stay off of the streets. Brothers in attendance were Nicholas McFadden, Kai Tillman, Jahone Green, Damien Lindor, and Tyrik Seymour for a total of 15-man hours.
On Monday, October 26th, 2020, brothers of the Mighty Mighty Chi Theta Chapter, debuted Chi Theta TV with our monthly Manhood Monday video from 7pm-8pm. In this first installment of Manhood Monday, brothers had an open dialogue about the media’s perception of men in America compared to the actual reality.
Brothers in attendance were Nicholas McFadden, Jahone Green, Khalil Younge, Damien Lindor, and Tyrik Seymour for a total of 5-man hours.
The Oracle Undergraduates
THE TALENT HUNT PROGRAM 2021
Atlanta, Ga. - Celebrating its 75th year, the Talent Hunt is one of the Fraternity’s oldest mandated programs. The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Talent Hunt originated in the Fraternity's Sixth District (North and South Carolina) in 1945 under the leadership of former Grand Basileus, Brother J. Alston Atkins. The first Talent Hunt Program was not officially held until April 19, 1946, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The need for the Talent Hunt program was the result of the unequal opportunity afforded to African American youth to develop and display their talents. As a matter of convenience, in presenting a public program, the displays of talent were limited to the field of music.
In 1953, the Talent Hunt became one of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity's international projects, with all graduate chapters mandated to conduct an Annual Talent Hunt Program. On the local and district levels, the project is competitive. At the international level, the program is a demonstration. The international program (Talent Hunt Demonstration) showcases district winners, who by their
talent, diligence, ability, and potential appear as guests of the Fraternity. Initially the district winners only performed at the Grand Conclave. In 2015, the district winners performed at the Fraternity’s International Leadership Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. This change was made due to the inequity to students who won during a non-conclave year not being able to display their talents to the international body of the Fraternity. Parity was achieved and the Talent Hunt saw tremendous growth. During the Grand Conclave in New Orleans the district Talent Hunt winners performed before one of the largest audiences ever assembled for a Talent Hunt Demonstration.
Riding on a high, the International Talent Hunt Committee prepared for the 2019 inaugural “Brother Dr. Moses C. Norman, Sr. Leadership Conference.” Brother Grand Dr. Moses C. Norman, Sr. was a strong supporter of the International Talent Hunt Program and the Committee wanted to make sure this was the event to surpass all past Talent Hunts. As plans developed, it was
determined that adequate space for the Talent Hunt Demonstration was not considered when the original contract was signed. It was the predominant opinion that the most practical thing to do was cancel the 2019 Talent Hunt Demonstration. With their heads up, eyes forward, the International Talent Hunt Committee began the planning process for the 2020 Talent Hunt Demonstration to be held in Tampa, FL. Twelve months out, it was determined that the attendance at this conclave would surpass all previous international fraternity events. As news of the pandemic virus, COVID-19, and the need for social distancing grew, the International Talent Hunt Committee made a very tough decision on March 17, 2020. The following statement was issued by the Committee: “Due to the status of the health climate in our country and the world, the International Talent Hunt Committee, in consultation with its advisors, voted to suspend ALL Talent Hunt activities, at all levels, for the remainder of the 2020 Talent Hunt
Brother Larry Pough & Brother Carlton Lampkins
season. Although this was a difficult call to make, this decision was made for several reasons:
• The CDC strongly recommended no more than 50 people at an event.
• We did not want to jeopardize the safety of our young people, their parents/guardians, brothers of the fraternity, and other patrons. Several districts of the fraternity have cancelled/ postponed their Annual District Meetings for many reasons. Therefore, no opportunity to have a district Talent Hunt Competition.
• It is inequitable for some districts to be represented at our International Talent Hunt Demonstration and others not.
• Several schools and other performance venues have closed their doors. Thus, scheduled Talent Hunts in those sites have been cancelled.
The committee regrets that some of our students would not have the opportunity to share their amazing talents with a larger audience. We wish all of our students the best in their future endeavors and hope
The Oracle International Talent Hunt
that eligible students will consider entering their local Talent Hunts during the 2021 Talent Hunt season.”
After two consecutive years of enduring the cancellation of the International Talent Hunt Demonstration, with their heads up and eyes forward, the Committee began working on the 2021 International Talent Hunt Demonstration. There was an excitement surrounding the 2021 Talent Hunt Demonstration, in that some of our students would experience international travel for the first time. There were new challenges to be addressed. However, the Committee started its work and looked forward to a successful Talent Hunt Demonstration in Nassau, Bahamas.
In January of 2021, the pandemic continued to have a negative impact on the world and our ability to host an in person Talent Hunt Programs. As Omega men, we always rise to address whatever issue may come before us. The International Talent Hunt Committee vowed not to cancel the Talent Hunt programs for a third year. As a result, they formed
an ad-hoc committee to formulate procedures for conducting Virtual Talent Hunt programs at all levels. The procedures were reviewed and adopted by the members of the International Talent Hunt Committee. Before implementation, the procedures were shared with the Supreme Council so we were all on board.
For consistency, all information pertaining to the Talent Hunt program can be found on the Fraternity’s website under programs. Please visit the Talent Hunt webpage at www.oppf.org/talent-hunt/. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your district Talent Hunt Chairman.
As we move forward, we are seeking your support as we get ready to “Reboot” and celebrate our 75th year. Let’s continue to prove that the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s Talent Hunt Program is truly here to stay.
THE ORIGIN OF ACHIEVEMENT WEEK
46 The Oracle History & Archives
Brother Jonathan Matthews
The delegates and attendees for the 9th Grand Conclave (1920) at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN were at a unique crossroads in Black and fraternal history. The dynamics for African Americans were changing rapidly as the narrative of the “Lost Cause” from white southerners manifested in scores of Confederate monuments being erected. Lynchings were rising. The disenfranchisement of African Americans in all aspects of life was increasing. The resurrection of the Ku Klux Klan was in full swing, inspired by the popular film, “Birth of A Nation”; Booker T. Washington described the film as “the most dangerous thing (to have) ever happened to the advance and improvement of the colored people,” More broadly, two philosophically opposite Amendments to the Constitution occurred in 1920: progressively, the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified in August 1920, while the ultraconservative 18th Amendment prohibiting the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of liquor went
into effect in January 1920. Postwar prosperity was beginning, which would usher in a decade-long surge of economic, social, and cultural growth in the U.S. known as the Roaring 20s.
African Americans were beginning to galvanize behind a newfound sense of racial and cultural pride spurred, in part, by the racism they faced and the significant achievements made. Over 370,000 African American menfought for the U.S. in WWI against Germany and its allies, with over 200,000 Black soldiers returning from victory in France. Unlike the reception and conditions these soldiers faced when they returned home from the war, the French gave these soldiers a warm welcome with little overt racism. Spurred by the war, better job opportunities, and racial conditions, the Great Migration began among African Americans. From 1916 to 1930, during, the Great Migration over 10% of Black people relocated from the south to the north and west. Jack Johnson was the boxing champ for half the preceding decade, a feat never accomplished by a Black man. Marcus Garvey gained over 1 million members to his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) by 1921. His organization advocated for Black unity, pride, and complete autonomy from whites, a philosophy that began to resonate with African Americans. At the same time, the NAACP, which was established in 1909 “to promote equal rights and eradicate caste or racial prejudice” in the U.S was growing in influence. The NAACP and UNIA promoted an aggressive advocacy approach to civil rights versus the accommodationist approach taken previously by leaders such as Booker T. Washington. This launched the New Negro Movement, which captured a new sense of racial pride, cultural self-expression,
and economic independence. One of the first manifestations in this movement was the release of the landmark film “Within Our Gates” by famed African American director/ producer Oscar Micheaux. The film highlighted the injustices faced by African Americans in a racist society and served as a rebuttal to D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of A Nation.”
Fraternally, change was happening at a staggering pace. Omega struggled to develop a strategy for growth, organizational structure, procedures, and policy in its first six years. Efforts on a variety of measures started, stopped, changed, and never implemented during this period. Actions were primarily reactionary. This resulted in only three Chapters in six years being established and approximately 184 members in the Fraternity at the start of 1917 (versus Kappa Alpha Psi, founded ten months before Omega that boasted eight Chapters). That all changed in 1917. The establishment of the temporary War Chapter at Ft. Des Moines during the 17th Provisional Officer Training Camp in June 1917 and the Camp Howard Chapter at the Instructor Training for the Student Army Training Corp
conducted at Howard University in August 1918 allowed for the initiation of 38 stalwart men into Omega. The men initiated at the Camp Howard Chapter came from nine colleges and universities from different areas of the country but primarily from the south. An explosion of Chapters were chartered under 7th Grand Basileus Raymond George Robinson, with the tireless efforts from the War Chapter initiates. In just two years, the Fraternity quadrupled the number of Chapters from 3 to 12 and increased its membership roster from approximately 184 at the start of 1917 to an estimated 524 at the beginning of the 9th Grand Conclave.
The 9th Grand Conclave
This was the backdrop for the Conclave that delegates entered when they arrived in Nashville during the day on Monday, December 27th, 1920. In his annual message in the August 1921 Oracle, 8th Grand Basileus Harold Hilyer Thomas, who was elected Grand Basileus at the 9th Grand Conclave, observed that “a religious atmosphere pervaded the meeting because the delegates realized that in their hands lay the future of the Fraternity.” The Opening Session, held on a cold Monday evening at the Meharry Auditorium, launched what Oracle Editor William Stuart Nelson called “the most significant convention held in the history of the National Chapter.” That evening, the featured speaker was one of the Fraternity's elected members, Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Woodson, who was elected (i.e., honorary) to the Fraternity on February 10th, 1917, was Dean at West Virginia Collegiate Institute, assuming that position a few months before the 1920 Conclave. He was also a noted historian writing The Education of the Negro before 1861 in 1915 and publishing that along with the periodical, the Journal of Negro History, through his organization, the Association for the Study for Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The second African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard, Woodson was well respected among the Omega men in the Auditorium for his educational and professional achievements. The theme of his message for the evening was “Democracy and the Man Far Down.” In a summary of Woodson address to the delegates at the 9th Grand Conclave in Alpha Chapter’s 1946 Achievement Week book, it notes that:
“[I]n his address, Dr. Woodson mentioned the Negro’s neglect of his history and urged the college man to give less attention to social affairs and devote more of his time to the study
and dissemination of the facts of Negro life and history. Such knowledge, he maintained, would produce an increase in the number of competent Negro leaders and would inspire race pride in the masses as a whole.”
The Atlanta Independent newspaper observed that Woodson’s speech “was adjudged by unprejudiced critics as the most constructive and scholarly of his career.” Nelson writes in the August 1921 Oracle that the attendees from Nashville noted: “that the address was one of the most eloquent, forceful, and brilliant ever delivered in this city.” Woodson’s words at the Conclave struck a chord with the delegates to act. Black history was virtually a non-existent concept at the time. Besides several autobiographies, few if any books captured the African diaspora before Woodson’s book in 1915. Like DuBois and Kelly Miller’s work, most narratives focused on the sociological position and challenges facing African Americans at the time. This was an entirely new area, and the delegates were inspired to meet Woodson’s challenge.
The work of the delegates was long and tireless. Plans were made for strengthening existing Chapters and organizing new Chapters. Recommendations were approved to increase the establishment of Black businesses and corporations, study the burgeoning stock market, and increase members' financial literacy. The delegates affirmed that the Fraternity should support Black Colleges and universities with black dollars. For his efforts, outgoing Grand Basileus Raymond G. Robinson received a unanimous vote to be a life member of the Supreme Council; the first Grand Basileus
Origin Of Achievement Week, continued
bestowed this honor (it would take more than 50 years before past Grand Basilei were made part of the Supreme Council). Inspired by Dr. Woodson’s speech during the Opening Session, the topic of racial unity was addressed. The delegates served as a committee of one working throughout the night on a solution. It was determined that according to the January 13th, 1921 edition of the Atlanta Independent:
“In the early spring, the Fraternity will conduct a campaign to encourage the study of Negro literature and history in the various High Schools, Colleges, and homes across the land, or, in other words, to introduce the world to the Negro and, at the same time, introducing the Negro to himself.”
This would become Omega’s first national program. A new position was created on the Supreme Council at the 9th Conclave called Director of Publicity, which also assumed the Oracle magazine's responsibilities. This position was charged with constructing the inaugural Campaign for Chapters to implement. The person delegates elected to this position was William Stuart Nelson.
The Campaign for the Study of Negro Literature and History
Nelson, a Paducah, KY native, was a 1916 initiate into Omega through Alpha Chapter, former Basileus of the Chapter, and recent cum laude graduate from Howard University. His studies were interrupted in 1917 when he was accepted to the 17th Provisional Officer Training Camp at Ft. Des Moines, joining 13 other Omega Men. He received a commission of 1st Lieutenant and was Platoon Commander in the 367th Infantry fighting in France during WWI. At the time of the Conclave, he was studying at Union Theological Seminary in New York and was a member of Epsilon Chapter. Nelson would go on to receive his divinity degree from Yale in 1924. Further, he became the first Black president of Shaw University, the first president of Dillard University, and succeeded his friend and Fraternity Brother, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, as Dean of Howard’s School of Religion when Mays left to become president of Morehouse College. He marched with Gandhi in India and studied his approach to nonviolent resistance, which led to establishing a friendship and bond with Martin Luther King, Jr. during the battle for civil rights. Clearly, the delegates picked the right man for the job.
Armed with the delegates' enthusiasm and confidence,
Nelson spent the next few months constructing a program that Chapters could use and tailor to their area, which would best achieve the Campaign's goals. The inaugural Campaign was set to run from April 24-30, 1921. Nelson developed a pamphlet that was printed and distributed to the Chapters for use during its programs on Black history. He guided Chapters on activities that can be done during the week to achieve their goals. Nelson also produced a press kit which was sent to a variety of Black newspapers that presented facts on Black history.
The results of the Campaign were a rousing success. In a segment reviewing the Campaign results in the August 1921 Oracle, George Brouche, Basileus of Gamma Chapter, stated, “the whole of Boston seems awakened to a new realization of what racial achievement and solidarity mean.” Beta Chapter opened with a Sunday evening exercise, held morning programs each day during the week, and ended with a public mass meeting to close out the Campaign on April 30th. Zeta Chapter held meetings in the University Chapel and posted in the April 30th edition of the Richmond Planet, a challenge ad on Black history. The newly chartered Nu Chapter, which was established just two months before the Campaign's launch, held an open meeting on April 27th, where historical, literary, and philosophical phases of African American life were discussed. Alpha Chapter held an event at the University Chapel where Nahum Daniel Brascher, Editor-in-Chief of the Associated Negro Press, discussed black literature's value at the opening session of the Chapter’s Campaign. Black newspapers such as the Richmond Planet, Iowa Bystander, Baltimore Afro American, Philadelphia Tribune, The Black
Dispatch (OK), The Negro Star (KS), and Dallas Express promoted the Campaign, publishing black history facts sent by Nelson, and covered Chapters’ activities. Arguably, the greatest success occurred in Atlanta, home of the Grand Basileus, Harold Hilyer Thomas. Eta Chapter held a mass meeting where over 2,000 individuals attended. Additionally, Omega men from Eta spoke at various colleges, public and private schools during the week.
The Campaign: 1922-24
The Campaign was renewed for 1922 at the 10th Grand Conclave in Atlanta in December 1921. As Director of Publicity's position was eliminated at this Conclave, responsibility for the 1922 Campaign was assigned to the newly elected Editor-to-the-Oracle, William Gilbert. Gilbert, a charter member of Alpha Chapter and current member of Delta Chapter, was an instructor at Tennessee A&I State Normal School (now Tennessee State University) in math, printing, and languages. However, weeks after assuming the position, one of the Fraternity’s iconic members, Col. Charles Young, passed away. The Fraternity made plans to memorialize its fallen hero. It was decided that a memorial service would be done, Fraternity-wide, on Young’s birthday, Sunday, March 12th, 1922, among all Chapters. This would eventually become Memorial Day for the Fraternity (Omega’s second national program). The 1922 Campaign was scheduled for April 2-8, 1922, just a few weeks after the Young Memorial Service. With these two national programs being so close together, Chapters waned from the Campaign in 1922, devoting more time and resources for the Young memorial. Despite this, some Chapters did manage to implement both programs. Rho Chapter, founded right before the 10th Conclave in December 1921, made its initial public appearance during its Young Memorial Service on March 12th. It then held several activities during its Campaign just a few weeks later, with a capstone mass meeting at the historic Grace AME Church in Charlotte on Sunday evening of April 9th, 1922. The event was promoted in the local Charlotte Observer by an article written by Rho charter member Professor James Seabrook.
Several months later, at the 11th Grand Conclave (1922) in Philadelphia, Associate Field Secretary for the NAACP and elected (honorary) member William Pickens was the featured speaker on Tuesday, December 27th. Like Woodson just two years earlier, Pickens encouraged the Fraternity to focus on the urgent need to study Negro history. A five-star committee was formed consisting of Pickens, who chaired, Woodson, Gilbert, former 4th Grand Basileus George Hall, physician and Meharry professor Dr. Charles V. Roman, assistant superintendent of D.C. schools Garnet Wilkerson, future judge Charles W. White, Professor John Purnell, and dentist Dr. Stephen J. Lewis. Their charge was to return to the Conclave in a year with a definitive plan for fostering the study of Negro history in schools and colleges across the country. In the recap to the 12th Grand Conclave (1923) from the May 1924 Oracle, the committee recommended that the Campaign's scope be broadened and renamed Negro Achievement Week. According to Herman Dreer, author of The History of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, this included “a more intensive study of Negro history, Negro life, and Negro Achievement” and a division “to publish a shelf of Negro books, the same to contain the choicest literature written by Negroes.” Delegates endorsed the plan as the “best means of fostering racial pride, an essential thing to race progress.”
Despite this, Dreer notes that the effort “waxed and waned according to the degree of interest stimulated by those immediately charged with the direction of the project.” Responsibility for the initiative rested with the recently created position of Vice Grand Basileus. In January 1924, Sterling Brown, a 1922 initiate through Gamma Chapter, was selected for this position when the 9th Grand Basileus J. Alston Atkins resigned and John W. Love, the Vice Grand Basileus at the time, moved into the Grand Basileus position. Unfortunately, according to Dreer, Brown “devoted most of his time aiding Campbell C. Johnson, Grand Keeper of Records and Seal.”
Nevertheless, Chapters such as Xi, who employed the slogan “Buy a Book, Read a Book” for its 1923 program, and Lambda, who held a special achievement program at the Wesley M.E. Church on May 28th, 1924, for USC students wishing to learn more about the history and future of Black people, continued with the initiative. It appears efforts were made to revive the program as the May 1924 Oracle list a Commission on Negro Achievement, chaired by Purnell, and a Commission on Negro Literature, chaired by future 11th Grand Basileus George Vaughn. While no record has been discovered on their impact, ultimately, what happened just months later at the 13th Grand Conclave in Washington, D.C., speaks volumes to these Commissions' effectiveness.
Origin Of Achievement Week, continued
The 13th Grand Conclave held from December 27-31, 1924, in Washington, D.C. was, as the March 1925 Oracle describes, “the greatest in our history.” The Fraternity boasted 54 Chapters, a fourfold-plus increase since the 9th Grand Conclave just four years earlier. With this exponential expansion of the Fraternity, growth exceeded organizational capabilities. The delegates directed the Supreme Council to focus its primary efforts on the internal organization, operations, policy, and procedures. Given that, the delegates adopted a resolution from the Recommendations Committee to suspend Negro Achievement Week. An op-ed written by Walter Mazyck, the newly elected Grand Keeper of Records and Seal, in the February 1925 edition of the Omega Bulletin, cites his beliefs on why the initiative was “doomed to utter, dismal failure.” First, the concept wasn’t the Fraternity’s but Woodson’s; hence the movement was never ours. Consequently, “we never could put our spirit, the true virile Omega spirit, into it.” Second, Mazyck viewed the Fraternity’s effort more as a public relations effort to enhance the Fraternity in the public's eye as opposed to a genuine initiative to disseminate knowledge on Negro history and literature. He denounces the effort noting:
“In five years of such “weeks,” we have accomplished nothing permanent, nothing of value to which we can point as the fruit of our labors. It was a waste of effort and a mighty poor effort, not worthy at all of Omega. Better far, be rid of it.”
However, upon a closer look, there exists an alternate reason for the suspension and even Mazyck’s position. At the time of the 13th Conclave, Woodson, through ASNLH, which by this time he ran full time, was looking to implement his own Negro History Week. As he was on the committee to reboot the Campaign in 1922, he was intimately familiar with the initiative's details and the challenges with execution. Additionally, the genesis of this concept was his. In 1920, Woodson was not in a position to implement a Negro History Week. Entering 1925, he was. Consequently, Dreer states, “in deference to Dr. Woodson, the 13th Grand Conclave…. decided not to celebrate Negro History and Literature Week.” Regarding Mazyck’s comments, it appears he developed a strong friendship with Woodson. Woodson was Dean at Howard while Mazyck was a student. In fact, Mazyck participated in the vote electing Woodson as an honorary member in 1917. The manifestation of this relationship is Woodson’s (ASNLH) publishing arm, Associated Publishers, published Mazyck’s book, George Washington and the Negro, in 1932 and was slated to publish Mazyck's book on Col. Charles Young before his untimely death in 1933.
Regardless of the reason, in 1925, no Campaign was implemented by the Fraternity.
By the 14th Grand Conclave at Tuskegee in December 1925, significant progress was made in perfecting the Fraternity’s operations by the Supreme Council, specifically Vice Grand Basileus, Julius McClain, and Grand Keeper of Records and Seal, Walter Mazyck,. Opperations improved enough for the delegates to reconsider implementing Negro Achievement Week. However, a significant event occurs within the twelve months between the 13th and 14th Conclaves.
In February 1926, Woodson’s organization, ASNLH, launched its Negro History Week (which became Black History Month) with great fanfare and success. February was chosen as it’s the month of Abraham Lincoln’s and Fredrick Douglas’s birthdays. The purpose of Woodson’s Negro History Week was “to popularize and promote among Negroes the study of their national history.” Delegates to the 14th Grand Conclave were aware of Woodson’s forthcoming Negro History Week. They voted to reinstate Negro Achievement Week, however, with two amendments. First, the event's timing will change from April to the first or second week of November to not interfere with Woodson’s Negro History Week. Second, the Fraternity’s Negro Achievement Week must distinguish itself from Woodson’s effort to avoid conflict or duplicate efforts. The task of implementing this reboot was given to John Prescott Murchison, then current and 4th Editor-to-the-Oracle.
At the time of his selection to this post, Murchison, a 1917 initiate in Omega through Alpha Chapter, was Professor of Economics, History, and Political Science at Clark University
(now Clark Atlanta University) in Atlanta. Before his position at Clark University, Murchison received his undergraduate degree from Howard University in 1920 and his master’s from Columbia University in 1922, where, while in N.Y., he served as the second Basileus of Epsilon Chapter in 1920. Murchison also served as Professor at Biddle University (now Johnson C. Smith University) in Charlotte, NC, in 1922, serving as Rho Chapter’s first Basileus before moving to Atlanta in 1923.
Murchison decided, rather than focus on history, to exalt current African American achievements across a wide variety of fields, using this as a mechanism for racial uplift. His target audience was the same as the Campaign and Woodson’s: African American secondary and collegiate students. With that, Murchison crafted the objective of Negro Achievement Week as to “inject racial pride and to stimulate, enrich, and direct the innate powers of Negro youth.”
Realizing the magnitude of the task, Murchison, unlike his predecessors, sought help. He tapped two members he was familiar with to aid in constructing the first Negro Achievement Week project. Henry Hudson Phillips, an initiate through Rho Chapter in 1922, constructed, publicized, and implemented the National Examination in Negro Life and History. Murchison knew Phillips from his days as a Professor at Biddle University, where he led and mentored Rho Chapter shortly after its founding. Phillips, who graduated from Biddle in 1923, was teaching at the State Normal School in Cheyney, PA (now Cheyney State University). Murchison was also active in mentoring Beta Psi Chapter, which was established at Clark University during Murchison’s first semester at the school in 1923 (so involved was Bro. Murchison that he was included in the Chapter picture for the 1926 Yearbook). Through that association, he selected James Ambrose Miller (Beta Psi Chapter, approx. 1925) to assist on the inaugural Achievement Week Project. Miller was on the staff of the Yearbook and University magazine at Clark University. He was charged with constructing a booklet on African Americans' achievement for distribution to Black youth through the Chapters. Entitled “The Achievement Project,” Dreer described the booklet as “an attractive 28-page booklet, 7 ½” x 5 ¼”, covered in purple and gold.” Sections of the booklet include achievements in Economics, Science, Education, the Arts, Politics, Inventors, and a 5-page section on the history of Omega Psi Phi, including the purpose of the Achievement Week Project. According to the 1926 Grand Conclave Report, over 5,000 booklets were printed, with 3,000 distributed to the public through Chapters.
The first Negro Achievement Week was held from November 15-21, 1926. Murchison and his team developed a dayby-day construct to help guide the implementation by Chapters and tools that they could use to supplement their week of activities. Targeting Black youth, Chapters were encouraged to canvas the local schools daily to present a different aspect of the Black achievement by distributing literature, donating books and pictures to libraries, engaging the Black church, and conducting literary contests and essays dealing with African Americans in history and art.
With the team in place, Bro. Murchison outline the template of activities for the Week in the October 1926 Omega Bulletin:
Monday, November 15th, 1926:
Tuesday, November 16th, 1926:
Wednesday AM, November 17th, 1926:
Achievement of African Americans in Education
Achievement of African Americans in Literature and Art
Achievement of African Americans in Business
Wednesday PM, November 17th, 1926: Celebration of Omega’s 15th anniversary
Thursday, November 18th, 1926:
Friday, November 19th, 1926:
Achievements of African Americans in Science and Medicine
Achievements of African Americans in Law and Government
Saturday AM, November 20th, 1926: National Examination in Negro Life and History
Saturday PM, November 20th, 1926: Public Meeting featuring a prominent speaker
The Week's capstone was the inaugural National Examination in Negro Life and History, administered on Saturday, November 20th, 1926. The 10-question exam was extremely challenging. For example, one of the questions asked was “Comment fully on any five of the following: Gag Rule, Missouri Compromise, Fourteenth Amendment,
Origin Of Achievement Week, continued
Northwest Ordinance, Scott vs. Sandford (the Dred Scott case), the Curtis Case, Nat Turner’s Insurrection, Somerset Case.” Examiners of the exam were Phillips, Dr. Robert Thomas Kerlin, noted lecturer and author of The Voice of the Negro and, famed intellectual Dr. Alain Leroy Locke, a Rhodes Scholar, Howard University Professor, and originator of the New Negro movement of the 1920s. Three students from the University of Cincinnati swept the top three prizes with scores ranging from 90 to 94. The University of Cincinnati offered a course on Negro Life and History, rare for any academic institution, Black or white. The three top prize winners all were students in this course. The first-place prize was $20 ($295 in 2021), with second and third place receiving $10 each ($148 in 2021).
The results from this reboot were outstanding. Murchison reported in the December 1926 Oracle that:
“In precis vernacular, we are shouting from the temple top that the Negro Achievement Project was a screaming success, despite the fact that there were several Chapters so located that it was impossible for them to participate. From everywhere and from non-Omega men, too, comes the report that the project has done much, even in our beginning, to inspire Negro youth to greater achievement and to create a feeling of self-respect in the Negro.”
Murchison highlighted numerous Chapters, including Nu Phi, Kappa Phi, the Baltimore and Nashville Chapters, Beta Psi, Phi, Theta Omega, Beta Phi, Theta Psi, and Xi Omega for their efforts and results. The Achievement Project team sent report templates to the Chapters to submit upon completing their Achievement Week activities. From these reports, Murchison and the team ascertained that the exam prize should be increased and that local prizes should support the national award.
Murchison’s reboot cemented the foundation for the building of Achievement Week in years to come, including our efforts today. However, the root of today’s Achievement Week rests with the work performed by Omega men exactly a century ago. The quest continues to build upon the vision of these members in 1921.
100years ago, most African Americans, particularly in the south, lived very difficult lives due to Jim Crow segregation, hostile courts, and lack of opportunities for economic advancement. However, by May 30, 1921, over 11,000 Black Tulsans had built their own “Wall Street''—a vibrant, peaceful, and extraordinarily prosperous community known as Greenwood. For example, multi-millionaire Attorney J.B. Stradford built the Stradford Hotel, which was the largest and finest African Americanowned hotel in the United States. Attorney A.J. Smitherman published The Tulsa Star which is widely considered the first Blackowned newspaper to have weekly national circulation. John and Lula Williams (pictured above) built and operated the nationally known luxurious Williams Dreamland Theatre, which many considered the finest Black-owned theatre in America at the time.
JUSTICE FOR GREENWOOD
RESPECT, RESTORATION, AND REPAIR FOR THE 1921 TULSA RACE MASSACRE
Brother Damario Solomon-Simmons
The great Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois reportedly once said of Greenwood, “I have never seen a colored community so highly organized as that of Tulsa.” Greenwood residents had everything they needed within the geographic boundaries of their community. Indeed, “Black Wall Street” was so economically self-sufficient that purportedly every dollar that came through it circulated through the community fifty times, and it sometimes took a full year for currency to leave the community. All of that changed on May 31, 1921, when a mob of approximately 2,000 White Tulsans, at the direction and assistance of the City of Tulsa, among others, pillaged and destroyed the entire Greenwood Community despite the best efforts of the men of Greenwood who organized to defend their community from this brutal attack. While the courageous men of Greenwood fulfilled their duty (Manhood) to protect their women and children, hey were substantially outnumbered and outgunned.
By sunrise on June 1, 1921, the once prosperous 40-block business district in north Tulsa lay destroyed. In what is now known as the Tulsa Race Massacre (“Massacre”), hundreds of successful businesses were lost. Estimates of the total property damage have amounted to $50 to $100 million. Worse, hundreds died. Thousands more were injured. Still, more were left homeless—many forced to flee their hometown as refuges and never look back. Some were simply never heard from again.
In the Massacre’s immediate aftermath, the White power structure blamed Greenwood survivors for the destruction of their community. Approximately 6,000 of them were forcefully detained in internment camps guarded by armed White men and forced to work as slaves for the City. Internees were forced to wear dehumanizing green cards and could only leave if a White person signed them out and agreed to be personally responsible for them.
While some residents of Greenwood were eventually able to rebuild,owever, Greenwood nor its residents ever achieved the levels of success and prosperity they once enjoyed. The Massacre had robbed them not only of their homes, businesses, and leaders, but also of their capital, and, in turn, their power.
As a result, today what once was a thriving, prosperous, and independent community of Black business people and families has transformed into a gentrified, primarily white-owned and occupied area. A highway now splits the City of Tulsa in two, separating the Black, poor North side from the White, wealthy South side. For example, today unemployment among Tulsa’s Black community is more than twice that of unemployment among Whites in Tulsa, 35% of Black Tulsans live at or below poverty level, and only 34.8% of Black Tulsans own their home.
Further, the lasting impact of the Massacre is not just
about the history and statics on paper (Scholarship), but its effect on the lives of real people. Consider the story of my client 106-year-old Lessie Benningfield Randle, the last known survivor of the massacre still living in Tulsa. Every day she lives with emotional trauma as she recalls “seeing bodies in the streets” and having to flee from her grandmother’s house as the white people were “trying to kill all the black men.”
She also has lived in poverty since the Massacre. When Mother Randle turned 105 last year, she said there was one thing she wanted for her birthday: the restoration of her dilapidated home. Several prominent Black residents of Tulsa raised funds to make it happen. The City of Tulsa did nothing to help.
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55 TheOracle-Spring2021 The Oracle Editorial
I visited Mother Randle in her home before the volunteers renovated it. I found a disintegrating structure, the perfect metaphor for Tulsa’s refusal to accept responsibility for the Massacre and to deliver justice to its victims.
Instead of inheriting Black Wall Street’s wealth, survivors like Mother Randle and their descendants inherited neglect, indifference, and decades of oppression from the city of Tulsa.
This is why I am proud to lead the legal team that filed an historic lawsuit to get justice for the people of Greenwood and their descendants. Not simply acknowledgement. Not simply acceptance of responsibility. Not worthless speeches about “reconciliation” and “unity.” Tangible action that makes a difference in the lives of the people still afflicted by the Massacre: financial compensation, educational opportunity, the restoration of property and hope. Mother Randle and my community deserve nothing less, and in the interest of justice you, my good brothers of Omega, should accept nothing less.
As we know so well any action for justice is costly. There will be discomfort and pain we must see through (Perseverance). There always is when action is meaningful. With that in mind, you may be wondering “what action can I take” to Uplift the cause.
Act today by visiting www.JusticeforGreenwood.org and (a) make a donation to our work, (b) signup for our regular email updates, and (c) add your name to the list of supporters telling Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum “Tulsa Owes” Greenwood and to restore what they destroyed.
Bro. Damario Solomon-Simmons is a national civil rights attorney, an active member of Xi Omega Graduate Chapter, and a proud life member of Omega. He is the founder of Justice For Greenwood Foundation, Inc. a 501(c)(3) organization focused on justice and reparations for the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre through innovative legal strategies, public education, and advocacy.
We are always seeking Brothers with an opinionated view to submit an editorial. If you have those desires, please email Bro. Norm Senior at EditorToTheOracle@oppf.org
Justice For Greenwood, continued
Most of us have watched, with sadness and anger, the videos of the recurrent killings and abuse of Black men and women during encounters with police officers. The images can be hard to watch, and the questions raised are difficult to answer. Among the more frequently asked of these difficult questions is how can I avoid that kind of result for me or a loved one?
Encounters with police officers when we are out driving our cars, out in public spaces, and the like can become problematic. While many police officers—some of our brothers and sisters among them—do their best to make those encounters as uneventful as possible, some police officers are not so inclined. In far too many instances—as a result of inadequate training or unchecked racial biases—those encounters devolve into dangerous and sometimes tragic situations.
So, just how do you give yourself and those you care about the best chance to prevent a potentially tragic situation during a traffic stop, or when approached in a public space by a police officer? In the next few paragraphs, I will offer some general suggestions to answer that question. Please note that the information below is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice about any specific legal matter. The specific applicable law varies from state to state. You should seek specific advice from an attorney or an organization like your local chapter of the National Bar Association, the local chapter of the ACLU, or your county or state Bar Association.
Being stopped by a police officer can be a stressful experience that has the potential to devolve into a bad situation. First, I want to acknowledge that the burden of being properly trained to deescalate or at least not escalate encounters between police officers and civilians should be on the officer. Not on civilians. Nonetheless, this is where we are. You should not assume that police officers will behave in a way that protects your safety or that they will respect your rights even after you assert them. It is an unfortunate fact that there are situations where you can do everything that you can to put an officer at ease, yet still end up injured or killed. Your goal should be to reduce the risk of an unfavorable outcome to yourself by staying calm and not exhibiting hostility toward the officers so that you are more likely to leave the encounter without a bad result. A roadway or other public space is not the place to adjudicate your legal rights vis-à-vis a police officer even when you are right.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
BROTHER FRED COOKE
Know Your Rights
The First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments are most relevant to your interactions with police officers. The First Amendment grants you the freedom of speech and the right to protest peacefully. It also allows you to record interactions with police officers, as long as you do not interfere with what the police officers are doing, or by standing close enough to obstruct their movements. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizure by police officers. You do not have to consent to a search of your person or your belongings, but a police officer may conduct a pat-down of your clothing if they suspect a weapon. Advising a police officer that you do not consent to a search may not stop the officer from conducting a search, but a verbalized objection to a search can help in preserving your rights in any later legal proceeding. If you are being detained the Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent, i.e., not answer any questions about where you are going, where you are traveling from, what you are doing, or where you live. If you wish to exercise your right to remain silent, you have to determine whether you are being detained by asking “am I free to leave?” If the officer indicates that you are not free to leave, you should
The Oracle Editorial
state your intent to remain silent out loud to the police officers.
If a police car is following you with its lights and siren on, pull over to the right quickly but safely, and come to a stop in a safe place. Depending upon the law in your state, you may lawfully proceed a short distance (driving slowly) to a lighted or public place to pull over. Stop your car to the right of the roadway so that the officer will not have to walk in a traffic lane when approaching your vehicle.
Once you have pulled over, turn off your engine and roll down your window all the way. Extinguish any cigarette or cigar that you may be smoking or remove any chewing gum. Place your hands on the steering wheel, and, if it is dark, turn on your interior light. If you are technologically adept, you should use your cellphone camera to record the encounter, use a cellphone app that will record and transmit your encounter with the police officer.
You should keep in mind that for police officers the officer’s approach to the vehicle raises the potential of danger for the officer. Stay in your car until and unless the police officer directs you to get out. Do not move around in your vehicle to look for your wallet, license, or registration until the police officer asks you for them. Such movements could be interpreted by the police officer that you are reaching for a weapon.
In general, a police officer who stops you for a traffic violation is not allowed to search your vehicle. There are, however, several exceptions and sometimes pretexts, to this general rule. After pulling you over, an officer will watch for any sort of "furtive movement." A sudden lowering of one or both shoulders, for example, may indicate to the officer that you are attempting to hide something under the seat. An officer conducting a traffic stop not only looking for furtive movements. Officers will look for anything incriminating that may be in plain view (like an open container of alcohol, drug paraphernalia, a weapon, etc.). Discovery of one such item in plain view will almost certainly lead to a thorough search of your vehicle that could discover additional incriminating or illegal items.
A police officer who stops you for an alleged traffic violation has the right to insist that you and your passengers get out of your car. You should comply with such a request. You also should also be aware that the
police officer is on alert, ready to interpret any failure to follow instructions as a threat of danger or an attempt to flee.
A police officer who has any reason to suspect that you might be dangerous has a right to conduct a quick patdown search (also called a frisk) of your outer clothing. If the police officer feels any weapon-like object during the pat-down, the police officer may reach in and retrieve it. The police officer can also seize anything during a proper frisk for weapons that the police officer believes feels like contraband.
If the police officer reasonably believes you are dangerous and might gain control of a weapon, the police officer may search areas within the passenger compartment of your vehicle in which a weapon could be placed or hidden.
If the officer asks to search the cellphone that you or a passenger may be using to record the encounter, the general rule is that police officers generally may not
DISTRICT MEETINGS 2021
84th First District Conference April 29 - May 2, 2021
73RD SECOND DISTRICT “VIRTUAL” CONFERENCE MAY 12-15, 2021
88th Third District “Virtual” Meeting May 21-23, 2021
80th FOURTH District “Virtual” Meeting April 23-24, 2021
73rd FIFTH District “Virtual” Meeting April 9-10, 2021
76th SIXTH District “Virtual” Meeting April 21-25, 2021
84th Seventh District Meeting March 26-27, 2021
72nd Eighth District Meeting April 29 - May 3, 2021
84th Ninth District Meeting April 16-17, 2021
84th Tenth District MeetinG April 30-May 1, 2021
76th TWELFTH District Meeting May 13-16, 2021
28th THIRTEENTH District Meeting JulY 13-14, 2021
What Should I Do?, continued
search cellphones without warrants or your consent. Being hostile often leads to problems with police officers. So too has saying more than necessary. You should generally let the officer do the talking, responding where appropriate. For example, when asked to hand over your license, registration, and proof of insurance, you should simply say something like, “Okay,” or, “Sure,” and produce the documents.
Even if a police officer who pulls you over for a traffic violation has decided to give you a warning, you can convince an officer who was going to give you a warning to give you a ticket through rude behavior. So, be polite. Police officers might also act as though they might change their minds if you cooperate so that they can get information or an admission out of you. While difficult, you should not engage in such conversations.
Stopped By Police In Public
A police officer may stop and question you because you are believed to be a witness or because you are a suspect. When you are stopped in public, a police officer can generally ask you to provide your name, your address, your age, and to produce some form of identification. If you are a suspect, it may be because you fit the general description of someone who is believed to be involved in a crime. A police officer must have a reasonable suspicion, i.e. a clear, specific and unbiased reason for suspecting that you have committed, are currently committing, or are about to commit a crime. Looking suspicious is not sufficient. You should ask if you are under arrest or free to leave. If you are not under arrest, you should leave. In some states, you are not required to carry identification, and you do not have to show identification to a police officer. If you are issued a citation or are arrested, however, and you refuse to produce identification or tell officers who you are, the police may detain you until you can be positively identified. In some states, if a police officer is investigating criminal activity, the officer(s) must provide identification and let you know the reason for the interaction. Regardless of the circumstances, unless a police officer is responding to an emergency situation, most state law requires any police officer to provide their identification and a business card upon request.
Innocent individuals are often offended or angered, or both as a result of an encounter with police officers. Hopefully, the encounter will only be inconvenient for you. The foregoing is intended to provide some basic advice when interacting with police officers. When knowing your rights, you can better protect yourself and those you care for.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (“OPP”) has formed its own insurance company. Pan Global Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of OPP, a licensed captive insurance company. Owning a captive means that part of OPP ‘s premium and interest thereon that covers part of OPP’s insurance will remain within OPP’s control and not with third-party insurers. At the same time, OPP’s liability will be covered as if a third-party insurance company covered the liability.
The decision to create its own insurance company underwent years of analysis. Most recently, OPP hired Artex Risk Solutions, a subsidiary of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., one of the world’s largest Insurance brokerages, to extensively review OPP’s risk and insurance coverages. The study validated OPP’s analysis concluding coverage of OPP’s liabilities is profitable for third-party carriers. It also concluded that OPP could cover its own risk and, at the same time, maintain the profitability of coverage.
Although many did not believe that OPP could meet the prerequisites to establish its own captive insurance company, OPP did meet the stringent requirements. After intense and detailed review by the District of Columbia insurance regulators, Pan Global LTD was issued its certificate of authority on October 22, 2020.
Initially, Pan Global is providing only OPP’s excess insurance coverage. It provides excess liability coverage over OPP’s two primary commercial insurance policies while mitigating loss expense and providing stability in loss cost financing. While covering OPP’s excess liability, Pan Global gives OPP the flexibility in choosing retention levels, the ability to fund future losses, and lessen the impact of insurance market fluctuations, which has not been kind to OPP.
PAN GLOBAL LTD 59 TheOracle-Spring2021
EVERY DROP COUNTS FOR CHI OMICRON
By Bro. Darnell Tucker - New Haven, CT
New Haven, Connecticut is populated with approximately 64.8 percent African American and Hispanic people. It is imperative that we, Chi Omicron Chapter, as a community organization make sure that we help our community in every way possible. One thing that affects the African American community more than any other demographic is Sickle Cell Disease. What is Sickle Cell Disease? Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a genetic disease of the red blood cells. The disease causes red blood cells to harden and form a C-shape (like a sickle). It is characterized by painful episodes, lower resistance to infections, organ damage, anemia, joint degeneration, strokes, and other health problems. SCD occurs when a child inherits, from both parents, a hemoglobin gene that sickles. In this case, the child is born with the disease. Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) occurs when a child inherits a normal hemoglobin gene and a sickle gene. This results in the child being a carrier of the sickle cell gene. SCT is harmless. The concern about the trait is that this abnormal gene can be passed to a child.
At Michelle's House, home of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Southern Connecticut (SCDAA. SC), they embrace prevention strategies to enhance the quality of life and well-being of the community affected by SCD, traits and related conditions and provide individuals and families with critical education and access to support services through partnerships and advocacy. Michelle’s House is located in New Haven, CT. Chi Omicron Chapter is closely involved with Michelle’s House as members of the Chapter sit on its board: Executive Director, James Rawlings, R.Ph., MPH (Theta Epsilon Spring ’68) and Board of Directors members Michael Fletcher (Chi Omicron Spring ’77) and Malcolm Welfare (Tau Iota Spring ’08). Chi Omicron has participated in multiple “Sickle Cell Lives Matter Blood Drives” with at least 20-25 members who donated each time. During each event, nurses were provided by the Red Cross to facilitate blood donation. Following donations, snacks and water were provided to each donor. Chi Omicron members helped with
walk in registration, temperature checks, and other COVID-19 screening at the following locations: Hillhouse High School, New Haven, CT; Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church, New Haven, CT; and Whitneyville Cultural Commons, Hamden, CT.
About 100,000 people in the United States have SCD and most are of African descent. The disease causes red blood cells to harden and form a C-shape (like a sickle). When hardened, the cells can get caught in blood vessels and cause serious complications for patients. These complications can include severe pain, respiratory conditions, organ failure, and even stroke. There is no cure for sickle cell disease. However, the Red Cross supports one of the most critical sickle cell treatments of all which are blood transfusions.
Now more than ever the Sickle Cell Disease community and the Red Cross need our help. Nationally, 2.5 million people carry the trait for the disease. The total is 40,000 in Connecticut, with almost 1,000 having the disease. We understand how critical this cause is for the African American and the New Haven community. Chi Omicron Chapter will continue to offer our assistance, with hopes that our efforts are promoting change and/or saving a life.
1st DISTRICT NEWS - Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachussettes, Rhode Island, and Connecticut
The brothers of Chi Omicron during their Blood Drive
LAMBDA RHO UPLIFTS WATERBURY WITH CLOTHES & MASKS
By Bro. Derrick Perry - Waterbury, CT
The past year has met the nation’s underprivileged citizens with an even greater need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Greater Waterbury area, and Waterbury itself, is the 5th largest city in Connecticut with a population of 108,093. From this population, 26% of its constituents are living below the Federal Poverty Line. Waterbury is also seated in New Haven County, which is the county with the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Connecticut.
One of the key elements to break the poverty cycle is having access to information. With many people now being more limited than they have been due to the pandemic, the chapter felt it was important to exercise our service in the form of handing out masks in our community. As community members arrived at the church to donate clothing, they were also given two masks per individual. Connecticut has been an outlier in terms of flattening the curve throughout this pandemic. It is important to impart just how important mask wearing is for the safety of our community and the role it plays in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Black and minority populations have been disproportionately affected by this disease and it is our duty to ensure the well-being of the community when and where the opportunities present themselves.
Clothing was donated to area shelters and needy families in the Zion Baptist Church community.
Brothers from Lambda Rho Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., coordinated a clothing drive and mask giveaway at Zion Baptist Church in Waterbury, CT. The event was organized by the chapter and the location used is where the chapter’s Chaplain, Bro. Antwaun Richardson, serves as Pastor.
Lambda Rho Basileus Bro. Mike Epps and Brothers prepare items to be distributed
A MEASURE OF THE PAST AND THE ASSURANCE OF OUR FUTURE
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and Negro History
Last month, marked the 95th anniversary of Negro History Week now known as Black History Month. Universities and schools across the country created programs and invited speakers to talk about the significance of African and Black history.
In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week to popularize the study of Black history to the Black community and the nation. However, what many do not know is the origins of Negro History
By Bro. Dr. David A. Canton - New Haven, CT
Week began on February 10, 1917 when he became a honorary member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
In 1912, Woodson had received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. Before he joined our beloved Fraternity, he and three other men founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) in 1915, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The organization’s purpose is to study and promote Black history. In 1916, he founded the Journal of Negro History, a journal that contained research articles and primary documents on Bblack history. By the time he joined our beloved Fraternity his life work had embodied our Fraternity’s second cardinal principle of scholarship.
In 1920, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., held its ninth conclave at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. Woodson, known for being an exceptional speaker, gave a speech titled “Democracy and the Man Far Down,” during which he discussed the importance of promoting the study of Black history and life. In April 1921, our Fraternity started a national program called Negro History and Literature Week and chapters sponsoring programs that promoted Black history. In addition to participating in Negro History and Literature Week, Woodson served as Dean at West Virginia Collegiate Institute and published The Negro in Our History,
an African American history textbook, in 1922.
In 1923 and 1924, Woodson and our Fraternity continued to sponsor Negro History and Literature Week, but in 1925, Woodson changed the name from Negro History and Literature Week to Negro History Week and then moved the program from April to February. In February 1926, Woodson founded Negro History Week. He selected the second week of February because it was the birth month of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
In the April 1926 issue of The Journal of Negro History, Woodson wrote a summary of the first celebration of Negro History Week. He stated “The observance of Negro History Week proved to be one of the most fortunate steps taken by the Association” because Black churches, social organizations, and businesspersons had participated in celebrating Negro History Week. According to one teacher “the celebration improved my children a hundred percent.” Dr. Carter G Woodson, ASNLH, and our beloved Fraternity played a central role in this history.
1st DISTRICT NEWS - Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachussettes, Rhode Island, and Connecticut
By Bro. Sharif Williams - Hartford, CT
DISCUSSION FOR THE CAPITAL AREA OF CONNECTICUT
The African American community has been adversely affected by COVID-19 resulting in a higher percentage of hospitalizations and deaths when compared to statistics of the general population. In Connecticut, African Americans make up 10% of the population but account for 16% of COVID deaths. Historical mistrust fostered by the medical community has led many to question the outreach of the medical community and governments.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread and take its toll on our country economically, socially, and mentally. The arrival of the vaccine has sparked mixed emotions of hope and uncertainty. Information and education are important to helping individuals make their determination about accepting the vaccine and addressing vaccine hesitancy. With this in mind, the Brothers of Tau Iota Chapter held a series of webinars to educate communities of color on the science behind the
development of the vaccine and the importance of the vaccine. Over 300 persons attended the two webinars we held in December 2020. The webinars, titled “The COVID-19 Vaccine, Attitudes and Perspectives for Communities of Color,” were intended to provide information to help individuals with the personal decisions regarding the vaccine.
Joe Santana, Basileus of Tau Iota Chapter, hosted the program and stated “our goal as leaders in the community is to ensure our people are educated on exactly what the vaccine is and what it is not. All the while acknowledging our community’s tragic history in the healthcare space as well as the barriers we continue to face.”
Brother Dr. Reginald Eadie, CEO of Trinity Healthcare of New England and Co-Chair of the Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, was the lead
HOSTS COVID-19 VACCINE
Tau Iota Chapter hosts Covid-19 Vaccine Discussion, continued
presenter, supported by Brother Greg Jones, member of the Communications subgroup of the Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee. The webinars included testimonials by Brother Kevin Thompson, a Connecticut registered nurse, who works with COVID-19 patients, and Brother Dr. Corey Harwell, Neurobiologist, and Assistant Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard University, who shared his perspective from being a participant in one of vaccine studies. Brother Eadie’s comprehensive presentation covered the development of the vaccine program from testing to implementation, speaking specifically to the concerns of the general public, along with providing a substantive explanation around the science of mRNA vaccines.
The success of the webinars can be measured by the results of the pre-webinar and post-webinar polling that took place. Over 70% of the participants indicated they would take the vaccine when it becomes available, more than double the percentage of individuals from the initial poll. Information Matters! Dr. Eadie has been on the forefront of sharing information regionally and nationally and has said, “you need to create ambassadors, and then that vaccine hesitancy
that communities of color are concerned about will be mitigated or disappear completely.”
The complete webinar and full interviews are available on the chapter’s website, www.tauiotaques.org/ covid-19-vaccine-updates, as well as the First District YouTube Channel.
Kappa Omicron Chapter has continued to play an active role in supporting the St. Charles Borromeo Food Pantry as part of our Social Action Programs. The pantry prepares, on average, 150-200 bags of goods every Friday for distribution on Saturday mornings in the local community. The quantity of bags increases based on need and holiday seasons. Prepared bags consist of dry/canned goods, milk, and fresh produce. Epsilon, Xi Phi, and Psi Lambda Lambda Chapters also support the initiative. In addition to preparing bags, we support unloading deliveries, organizing goods, and maintaining the storage spaces at the church.
ST. CHARLES BORROMEO FOOD PANTRY
By Bro. Terry Lewis - Harlem, NY
Our partners on-site are Ms. Yolette Green and Ms. Pearl Emmanuel. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we identified the need to continue providing regular support to our partners as we collectively target food insecurity.
The chapter plans to continue our support, efforts, and partnership with St. Charles Borromeo Food Pantry as we take strides to serve our community.
EPSILON CHAPTER BLACK HISTORY MONTH BOOK DRIVE
By Bro. Gerverus Flagg - New York, NY
Throughout Black History Month, the brothers of Epsilon Chapter hosted the chapter’s first-ever virtual book drive, collecting over 130 books for donation to Black and Brown youth from underserved communities. This program came into existence as the brothers were exploring ways to give back to their community while prioritizing the health and safety of everyone involved. Those that donated were able to purchase books online from the chapter’s wish list, alleviating any need for in-person drop offs or handto-hand collection.
Realizing the importance of education and raising consciousness among the youth, the chapter chose to do a culturally competent book drive this
Black History Month. The program and book wish list were created by Brother Matthew Thompson. Texts were selected that focus on the Black and Afro-Latinx experience, as well as activism, consent, and tolerance.
Throughout the month of March, the chapter will be distributing the assortment of literature to three local organizations. Books collected for K-5 boys will be donated to Boys Prep Elementary Charter School of Bronx, NY while those collected for K-5 girls will go to The Free Black Women’s Library. All of the books collected for students in grades 6-8 will be donated to Madiba Prep Middle School in Brooklyn, NY.
2nd DISTRICT NEWS - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland
KAPPA OMICRON MLK DAY OF SERVICE
By Bro. Terry Lewis - Bronx, NY
The Brothers of Kappa Omicron Chapter and the sisters of Kappa Epsilon Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated teamed up with the Bharati Foundation for a Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr.,'s birthday. On a pleasant day that was filled with joy, the brothers assembled tables, packed gift bags, coordinated the items for distribution, and organized the crowd control. In addition, the brothers gave out coats, blankets, essential items, grocery items, hot meals, and storybooks to the children.There was live poetry and various types of entertainment that focused on and highlighted the works of the late Dr. King.
The event was held in the Soundview area in the Bronx and proved to be a success as the lines were long and the brothers enjoyed interacting with the community while giving out bags of essential items. After the program, the community thanked the brothers of Kappa Omicron for taking the time out of their day to assist in this community service endeavor.
BRO. REGINALD MORRIS SEALEY II SELECTED FOR PROMOTION TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL
By Bro. Wyatt T. Middleton - Landover, MD
Brother Reginald Morris Sealey II (Mu RhoSpring 2005) of Iota Mu Mu Chapter was born in San Diego, California and raised in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Not only was Brother Sealey a leader in the classroom, he was also a leader on the football field. He graduated from the Naval Academy in May 2005 with a B.S. in Quantitative Economics and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps (USMC). He is currently a Major in the USMC and was recently selected for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
In June 2005, Brother Sealey reported to Echo Company at The Basic School for United States Marine Corps
Officer training. After completion, he attended the Basic Communications Officer Course and received orders to Marine Corps Base (MCB) G-6, Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan. He served as Officer-In-Charge of the Base Messaging Center and Assistant Base G-6 Operations Officer with a focus on telecommunications infrastructure and circuit management. Upon completion of his first tour, 1st Lieutenant Sealey transferred to Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18 and served as Detachment Alpha, Operations Officer and later Assistant Squadron Operations Officer while planning and executing communications support to Theater Security Cooperation exercises in mainland
2nd DISTRICT NEWS - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland
Brother Reginald Morris Sealy II, continued
Japan, Korea, Philippines, and Thailand. Brother Sealey was hand-selected to attend Weapons Tactics Instructor course in Yuma, Arizona, earning the military occupational specialty code (MOS) of Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Air-Control. He later attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) ACE and supported Ship-toShore communications as the MEU ACE phased ashore for combined flight operations in the Philippines.
In 2009 Captain Sealey attended the Advanced Communication Officer Course (ACOC). Upon completion of ACOC he attached to Marine Forces Central Command as a C4 Commercialization Planner in 2009 and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) A and I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) FWD from 2009-2010. Once he returned from Afghanistan, Brother Sealey reported to the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, where he served as Deputy Project Manager for the UHF SATCOM Integrated Waveform Project.
In June 2014, Brother Sealey graduated from Expeditionary Warfare School in Quantico, VA and reported to 7th Communication Battalion, Okinawa, Japan where he served as Assistant Operations Officer and Bravo Company Commander with deployments to Korea and Australia in support of both III MEF and 3d MEB Command Elements. In September 2015, Major Sealey reported to Joint Force Headquarters - Department of Defense Information Networks, Fort Meade, MD as a Strategic DoD Planner. While stateside Brother Sealey earned his Master’s in Military Studies from the Marine Corps Command & Staff College.
He is currently assigned to 2d Marine Regiment in Camp Lejeune, NC and is serving as the Regimental Communications Officer. He’s conducted several service level training exercises and is a recent contributor to the Marine Gazette with the article, “Tents to Trucks: Regimental Command and Control in Major Combat Operations.”
BRO. CEDRIC JEFFERSON SELECTED FOR PROMOTION TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL
By Bro. Wyatt T. Middleton - Landover, MD
Brother Cedric Jefferson (Mu Rho - Spring 2005) of Iota Mu Mu Chapter was born and raised in Antioch, California. Brother Jefferson is a Major in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and was recently selected for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He is currently serving as the first Commander of Marine Special Operations Company Iraq, responsible for all United States Special Operations Forces (USSOF) operations with Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service partners in Northern Iraq. This remarkable Brother is the first and to date only, African American Officer to graduate the Marine Corps Special Operations Command Individual Training Course.
Brother Jefferson earned his commission as a Second Lieutenant from the United States Naval Academy in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. Upon completing USMC Basic School, Brother Jefferson’s career started as an Infantry Officer with 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, where he deployed twice in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM as a rifle platoon commander. Following his assignment
Brother Cedric Johnson selected..., continued as a Platoon Commander, he assumed the duties of Executive Officer for the School of Infantry West, Advanced Infantry Training Battalion Detachment in Hawaii from October 2008 to May 2009.
In 2009, he was assigned to Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS) in Key West, Florida to serve as a Tactical Action Officer (TAO), Air Bridge Denial Officer (ABDO) and Aide-de-Camp. During his assignment as a TAO, he served as the JIATFS Liaison Officer to the USS Wasp, working closely with Drug Enforcement Administration Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Teams (FAST) and Tactical Response Teams (TRT) to counter illicit-drug trafficking from South America to Hispaniola and Central America.
Following his assignment at JIATFS, Brother Jefferson made the transition to Special Operations. He served as the Team Commander with Charlie and Bravo Companies of 1st
Marine Raider Battalion in Camp Pendleton, California from 20122016. As a Team Commander, he deployed twice to the INDOPACOM Area of Responsibility, where he was responsible for the training and mentorship of four Filipino Special Operations Units and commanded both US Marine Raiders and US Navy SEALs through joint combined exchange training exercises,
BRO. JESSE ASKEW APPOINTED VP OF MARKETING AND BRANDING FOR THE AMERICA 250 FOUNDATION
By Bro. Zanes Cypress, Jr. - New York, NY
The America 250 Foundation, the non-profit partner of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, has announced the addition of Brother Jesse L. Askew as Vice President of Marketing and Branding. Brother Askew, a 1985 initiate of Xi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., will lead brand visibility and engagement efforts nationwide for America 250, a multiyear initiative to inspire the American spirit leading up to the largest and most inclusive commemoration in our nation's history in 2026.
responsible for the training and mentorship of a company of the Republic of Korea’s elite Navy SEALs.
In July 2016, Brother Jefferson was reassigned to the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC) in Quantico, Virginia as the Special Operations Capabilities Integration Officer. He was later reassigned as the Special Operations Forces Planner to the Ellis Group of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab responsible for the fusion of collaborative technology development efforts between the United States Marine Corps, United States Special Operations Command, Naval Special Warfare Command, and United States Army Special Operations Command.
In March 2019, he reported to 1st Marine Raider Battalion in Camp Pendleton, California where he assumed Command of Marine Special Operations Company Delta.
2nd DISTRICT NEWS - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland
Brother Jesse Askew Appointed VP, continued
Brother Askew will serve as a key member of the Foundation's executive leadership team reporting to Interim President and CEO Scott Hommel. In his new role, he will be responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive marketing and branding strategy for America 250, and serve as a primary ambassador of the Foundation with marketing and branding partners (e.g. corporate sponsors, marketing partners, brand ambassadors, donors and other private non-profit partners).
America 250’s mandate is to execute the most diverse, inclusive, and comprehensive celebration in the nation’s history in commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the United States (July 4, 2026).
Enacted by the US Congress July 2016, and signed into law by President Barack Obama, the United States SemiQuin/250th Anniversary celebration development, planning, and execution will be activated under the Biden/Harris Administration.
Brother Askew’s executive career includes leading marketing and communications teams at Ketchum, Ruder Finn, and Digital Factory—managing Fortune 500 brand accounts such as Ford Motors, Mondelez, Novartis, and Kodak. Brother Askew’s leadership earned Ketchum its PRSA Multicultural Silver Anvil Award for the “So Kodak” campaign featuring Rihanna, Drake, Pitbull, and Trey Songz. He also served as pro-bono president for the nonprofit Community Uplift Through Perseverance, Inc (CUP), raising over $500,000 in scholarships for Omega Black College Tour students from the New York City area.
Brother Askew remains a sentinel for diversity, inclusion and cultural expression. A Pennsylvania State University Smeal College of Business guest lecturer, he continues to mentor junior executives, provide internships and secure employment opportunities for college graduates of color. He holds a B.S. in psychology from Saint Augustine's University and an MBA in general management & leadership from the Metropolitan College of New York.
KAPPA PSI CHAPTER'S MENTORSHIP PROGRAM, DC RHINOS
3D PRINTING AND SUBTRACTIVE MANUFACTURING
On Saturday, March 13, 2021, Brother Johnny Thompson hosted the DC Rhinos
STEM Session titled 3D Printing and Subtractive Manufacturing. Johnny started his presentation by telling of graduating University of Central Florida (UCF) and how he got involved in engineering. He explained that he had developed a passion for 3D printing while at school and wanted to learn everything he could. 3D printing is an additive process used to create solid objects from digital files. This is done by creating a 3D model using modeling software, which is sliced into a program called “GCode,” then sent to the 3D printer to process the file. Attendees also got to see a few examples of objects that have been printed by other engineers. Items such as toy figurines, bass guitars, iPhone cases and even a jawbone for a human being to name a few.
Johnny demonstrated the use of two different printers and the software needed to use the printers.
Brother Thompson explained how one printer was used to make parts for another machine he and his wife built. The demonstration continued by going through the process of how to print a fidget spinner. The interactions between the Rhinos led the Mentorship Chair and past Kappa Psi Basileus, Glen Yonkers Jr. to see a tremendous amount of interest in 3D printing among participants.
“We need to expose our young men to STEM professions, because the participation of black and brown students is surely needed. This is the fundamental reason why we try to have STEM sessions throughout the DC Rhinos year.”
Engineering, at its core, is to make products and processes to improve the lives of all people. The brothers are sure that a few of the Rhinos felt a spark to become an engineer. They will become a force within the global community.
OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY, INC., ADDS TO THE NU PSI CHAPTER OF OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY, INC. ENDOWMENT ACCOUNT AT VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY
u Psi Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., received an additional $10,000 for its Endowment, an endowed scholarship at Virginia State University (VSU) Foundation from the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The award will add to the funds already at the university that are providing scholarships annually to VSU undergraduate members of Nu Psi Chapter.
“This extraordinary gift is from the Brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. to Virginia State University, a Historically Black College or University (HBCU),” said Brother Dr. David Marion, 41st Grand Basileus, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Marion added, “We hope this check of $10,000 will inspire other Greek-letter organizations to support the VSU Foundation.”
Continued On Page 73
3rd DISTRICT NEWS - Virginia and Washington, DC
70 70 70
WORSHIP & PRAYER THIRD DISTRICT COVID-19
EVERYONE IS WELCOME!
Hosted By Third District Chaplain, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Rev. Courtenay Miller
The Third District of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated instituted the weekly Third District Worship & Prayer services on Sunday nights at 7:11 pm, starting in April 2020. Initially, the prayer services were designed as a prayer service for COVID-19 pandemic relief. The prayer service mission developed into opportunities for fellowship and celebration across the District and beyond.
Over the past year, the Third District Worship and Prayer service has combined powerful words of uplift, great music, fervent prayers, and fellowship in True Omega fashion. This event is open to Brothers of Omega, family, and friends alike. We have enjoyed special services that celebrated Omega Legacy on Father’s Day, Service Members on Veterans Day, and couples married for more than 50 years on Valentine’s Day, with two of our celebrants sharing 68 year partnerships. We have showcased the future leadership of the Fraternity, and nation, with student led services commemorating HBCU Homecoming, College Graduation, and Mother’s Day. Both local, regional, and national representatives of the National Pan-Hellenic Council have participated along with every member of our Supreme Council.
The Third District Worship & Prayer Service facilitated by Third District Chaplain Rev. Courtenay L. Miller, under the leadership of both the 29th (Brother Kevin Brown) and 30th District Representative Brother Conrado B. Morgan. This service has provided a forum for uplift in an uncertain and unsteady time. while also providings a vehicle for reconnection and connection to participants across the county and indeed around the globe. The Third District acknowledges the contributions of the many worship leaders, musicians, and the automation team for their contribution to this great worship and fellowship experience.
3rd DISTRICT NEWS - Virginia and Washington, DC
Every Sunday Time: 7:11 PM EST or 1911 Hours Zoom: • Meeting ID: 770 6700 5487 • Password: 090950 • Dial In: (301) 715-8592
Nu Psi Chapter Endowment at VSU, continued
In mid-March 2021, Brother Conrado B. Morgan, District Representative for the Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., requested the $10,000 check from Omega Psi Phi Phi Fraternity, Inc., based on a request from Brother Gary C. Clark, 20th District Representative, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
The Third District of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., is home to roughly 2,000 members and includes 43 chapters across the District of Columbia and Virginia. Nu Psi Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc was established at Virginia State College (now Virginia State University) in Petersburg, Virginia in 1927 and remains an integral piece of Greek Life at VSU.
SIGMA MU MU BROTHERHOOD “SOME HISTORY FROM THE OTHER GILL”
By Bro. Robert Myles, Jr. Ashburn, VA
The Brothers of Sigma Mu Mu Chapter (Loudoun County Ques) of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., kicked off Black History Month on Saturday, February 6, 2021 with a Brotherhood Forum: “Some Omega History from the Other Gill.” Brother Dr. Walter Gill (5-1957-Pi) honored the brothers with plentiful and necessary “Omega Oil.”
Brother Gill welcomed the brothers with an enthusiastic greeting then proceeded to educate them about the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the legacy of his father, and the impact his father had on his life and the fraternity. The younger Gill skillfully connected and interwove his father’s and his youth, his father as an athlete, scholar, and “Tuskegee Airman,” their time at Morgan State College, little known information about the writing of the second history book, testimony from Pi Chapter brothers, and the first seven decades of cooperation between Pi and Pi Omega chapters. Merged into the presentation were comments about Omega from Brothers James Forrest (1958), James Watts (1961), Lonnie Liston Smith (1958), and Oliver Jackson. Brother Smith’s time at Morgan College and in Baltimore,
Maryland, and Brother Jackson asking Malcolm X to speak at Morgan in 1962, which he did, drew the greatest interest. After the hour and a half presentation, a question and answer session was held, then photographs were taken of all who had signed-on.
Sigma Mu Mu Chapter is under the leadership of Basileus Brother Robert Myles, Jr. More than 120 brothers assembled on Zoom from six districts throughout the Fraternity to hear “The Other Gill.” Officials at the presentation were Third District Representative Brother Conrado Morgan, along with other District Officers, and
Brother Norm Senior, International Editor of the Oracle (Interim). The gathering was also honored with the presence of First Vice Grand Basileus Brother Ricky Lewis who delivered opening remarks and closed with “My Lamp is Full.”
(Much of the information in the PowerPoint presentation about Pi Omega and Pi chapters is in Brother Dr. Gill’s book, “Yesteryear.” For more information, e-mail Brother Gill at email@example.com)
YOUNG MEN OF DISTINCTION
By BroTHER Lloyd Boxley - Newport News, VA
What is Achievable Dream Middle/High School?
Achievable Dream is a unique partnership between Newport News Public Schools, the City of Newport News, and the local business community to give our students who are at risk of failure in school due to socioeconomic factors, a chance to succeed. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are offered a quality education in a nurturing environment as well as the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with caring adults.
The Kappa Iota Iota chapter (KII) and Achievable Dream YMOD partnership has been in existence for seven years and the program runs during the school year. Five to 10 young men are given the opportunity to join YMOD each year starting in the sixth grade as part of the school’s club program. Currently YMOD has
53 young men in the program. Every two weeks, Brothers in KII meet with the young men to provide character building programs, handson teaching, and an ear to listen to the young men’s concerns and issues. We monitor the young men’s progression. In the past YMOD young men have competed in the KII scholarship mandated program and won scholarship assistance from the chapter.
YMOD focuses on Academics, Integrity, Discipline, and Uplift. Attention is given to these principles through social activities, youth conferences, and community services projects.
Community speakers are invited to address each one of the program goals. Previous speakers have included the Mayor of Newport News, the Newport News Police
Department Chief of Police, the Newport News Sheriff, and other civic leaders.
KII had to operate within the boundaries of the Newport News school system during the COVID-19 pandemic and we had to be creative and in constant communication with the young men to keep them engaged.
On Saturday 27 February, YMOD/ KII entered two teams (seven young men) in the Carter G. Woodson Black History Trivia Contest sponsored by Alpha Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. To prepare for the competition, students learned Black history facts and attended training sessions via Zoom over the course of five weeks. The young men studied over 1,500 questions with the help of the KII and Achievable Dream mentors. Their dedicated effort led
3rd DISTRICT NEWS - Virginia and Washington, DC
Young Men Of Distinction, continued
to their victory (Team A: Trey Terry, Rickey Taylor, and Ty Kinney) over five other local teams.
Team A and Team B included:
• Seniors: Trey Terry, Rickey Taylor, and Ty Kinney (Team A)
• Junior: Raekown Perry (Team B)
• Eighth Grade: Jaden Alexander (Team B)
• Seventh Grade: Richard Linyear III (Team B)
• Sixth Grade: Hopeton Bailey (Team B)
The group's sponsor is Brother Lloyd McKeithan (Gamma Epsilon-78), who teaches math at the school, and says, "The young men that participated in Black History Trivia Bowl have dedicated themselves to the program's focus on academics, integrity, discipline, and uplift.
Attention is given to these principles through civic/social activities, youth conferences, and community services
projects. Through mentoring and guidance, we are preparing future leaders to serve our community."
KII Mentors include: Brother Lloyd Boxley (GE-82) Brother Bob Smith (GE-78) Brother Baron McKeithan (GE-78) Brother Chico Sullivan (GE-79).
We are proud to say four seniors are matriculating to higher learning, some are joining the military, and the others are still considering their options. KII plans to hold an end of the year celebration to recognize all of the young men for their participation. The intent is to hold the event outside for faculty and parents to join as well.
PSI ALPHA ALPHA CHAPTER 2021 BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION
During the month of February, Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter’s Black History Committee, led by Chairman Brother Clarence Demory (Pi Gamma, 1965) and Vice Chairman Brother James Williams (Psi Alpha Alpha, 2006) spearheaded an effort to provide the brothers a daily dose of Black History. In accordance with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s (ASALH) theme, “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” the committee emailed out a daily Black History Note celebrating the lives, legacies, and accomplishments of African Americans, beginning with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s own, Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Throughout the month, the committee highlighted individuals that had a huge impact on African American culture in all facets of life by highlighting individuals such as the late Henry “Hank” Aaron, the late Cicely Tyson, Dr. Charles R. Drew, and others. The committee also made a point to celebrate those individuals that may have been lesser known to some extent but still had a significant impact such as Thomas L. Jennings and Dr. Patricia Bath, who were the first African American men and women to receive patents, and William H. Carney, who was the first African American to be awarded the United States Medal of Honor.
As a capstone to Black History Month, Brother Demory and ASALH Black History Chairman Brother Nate Ards (Psi Alpha Alpha, 2017) attended the virtual ASALH marquee event on Saturday, February 20, 2021 entitled “A Conversation with Dr. Henry Louis Gates and Dr. Evelyn Higginbotham.” One of the highlights of the evening was the celebration of the latest release in the Black Heritage Stamp Series. On January 28, 2021, the August Wilson Black Heritage Stamp was unveiled. Wilson, an American playwright, was considered a literary trailblazer. His play, “Fences,” set in the 1950s, explored the evolving African American experience and examined race relations, among other themes. The play won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 1987 Tony Award for Best Play. Wilson’s play, “The Piano Lesson,” was also a Pulitzer Prize winner.
The primary focus of this virtual marquee event was Dr. Gates’ commentary. He discussed the genesis of his PBS show, “Finding Your Roots” and his views on the importance of the Black church. Gates’ curiosity about family lineage stemmed from his grandfather being exceptionally light skinned with straight hair. He could not figure out how he was the descendant of a grandfather that looked so different than he did. In later
years, with the advent of new DNA testing essentially in a tube, Gates set out to deliver to the average American the type of extensive family lineage revealed by Alex Haley in “Roots.”
Gates proclaimed the Black church was the oldest, first, and most continuous institution, since 1773, for Black American families. The 1773 date establishes the Black church 3 years prior to the Revolutionary War of 1776. He recognized the church as the birthplace of every social, educational, political, and artistic form in our community. It was a “cultural laboratory.” He alluded to the Black church being the “Wheel in the Middle of the Wheel” as stressed in the book of Ezekiel.
Psi Alpha Alpha recognizes that Black History is not just for February and incorporates a “Black History Snapshot” as part of the agenda during its monthly meetings. Our Black History Committee continues to ensure that the brothers are cognizant of the events that have shaped the tenor and tone of America as well as remain educated about the historical impacts of African Americans in all walks of life.
FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT FROM BLOODY SUNDAY IN SELMA, AL
By Bro. Dell Robinson
What experiences of life shape us as brothers, fathers, and as fraternity and community leaders? What are the foundational experiences that can educate fellow brethren on social justice, violent and nonviolent protest, and advocacy?
On March 7, 1965 a group of 600 voting rights advocates attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama as a part of their plan to march to the Governor’s home in Montgomery. The stories of those leading the march are well known, such as the late John Lewis who was then a 25-year old emerging leader who went on to serve as a United State Representative, but in that group of 600 there were a number of young people who were just beginning to find their voice in the movement and of course men of Omega were among that group.
Brother Aaron Jeter set out to learn and educate as he chronicled this historic day in the civil rights movement from Brother Kenneth Cloud. The goal of this interview was to provide additional perspective from the movement of the 1960’s, and also to draw a comparison, looking at the social issues we face today. Brother Cloud is a living testimony of the events and is uniquely qualified to provide insight on the social conditions of the time through his first-hand account.
Brother Cloud provides an account of his involvement in two protests as a student at Kentucky State University, a protest in Louisville, Kentucky, an event that opened his eyes to the world of social injustice, and then his trip to and participation with the march in Selma that became “Bloody Sunday.”
The walk down memory lane took Brother Cloud through every human emotion there is as he recounts the memories he shared with Brother Jeter.
Brother Jeter: Please state who you are my esteemed fraternity brother.
Brother Cloud: My name is Kenny Cloud and I served Omega Psi Fraternity as a 56 year member. I pledged the fraternity in 1964 at Kentucky State University, Psi Psi Chapter. I am a retired career educator.
Brother Jeter: Please tell me how you first got involved with the protest movement at Kentucky State?
Brother Cloud: I was friends with some students who wanted to take part in some of the protests in nearby Louisville. The students were protesting the actions of Mayor Schmied and the City of Louisville. Mayor Schmeid had been adverse to fair housing and there was a culture of housing discrimination. This had a great impact on minorities in the city of Louisville.
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First-Hand Account From Bloody Sunday, continued
We were arrested for participating. We were soon after trained in how to demonstrate and protest. Key points like traveling in 3’s and how to brace yourself upon attack. I then later set out to participate in the March in Selma.
Brother Jeter: Being from Cleveland, what were your parents’/family's thoughts at the time?
Brother Cloud: I didn’t tell my parents’ family much about my involvement. I was my mother’s only child and she would not have approved. I was very tuned in to activism and demonstration through the unrest and riots and protest I saw in Cleveland. My parents/family associated this with danger.
Brother Jeter: Please tell us more about the Professor from Kentucky State who asked you and others to travel to Selma.
Brother Cloud: It was a Jewish history professor who organized the trip to Selma. There was an institutional policy that if you missed 3 classes you dropped a letter grade. Dean Hunter helped us work around the policy. He was a trusted faculty member and Dean who was an advocate for students. We had a number of students who went and I was the only member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Brother Jeter: Tell me about the trip and your experiences. How did the administration feel about your participation?
Brother Cloud: They did not like and had quite a bit of concern about it. They knew it was dangerous and the issues of liability. It was a circumstance that people were against us going and may have even thought we were crazy. We returned as icons and stalwarts of the Civil Rights movement. There was strong student recognition and praise for us making the trip.
We were arrested during our time in Selma. The professor stopped the car and asked a policeman for directions to Brown Chapel, a known organizing center for the March. He then told us we made an illegal left turn. Everyone in the car was arrested under the thought that we were involved in the movement. We were later released Saturday night. On Sunday we witnessed what many have labeled as “Bloody Sunday.” The police and community turned on us as we started on our way to Edmund Pettus Bridge. I saw the whaling axe handles, the police dogs, and people being beaten. My most grimacing memory is an elderly lady who was struck by an axe handle. She was a bystander who I am not even sure was involved in the protest. The violence rose to a level that we had to retreat to Brown Chapel for cover.
Brother Jeter: Please describe how you knew Alabama was very different than Kentucky when you guys arrived at the time.
Brother Cloud: There were distinctive things that stood out. The level of intensity and the level of violence. You could feel the hate from the people in Selma. There was not only a feeling that we could be arrested there was a
4th DISTRICT NEWS - Ohio and West Virginia
thought that we could die.
Brother Jeter: How did that impact you personally? How did it impact your views of the Jim Crow South?
Brother Cloud: It was hurtful to see the amount of hate that people had towards Blacks, Jews, and the white people that were involved in the March. I went having an appreciation for non-violence and left having a greater appreciation for violence and I see why it has been necessary. My care, concern, and advocacy was forever heightened from my experiences and even until today. I have greater appreciation and empathy for the Black Power Movement and others like it.
Brother Jeter: Any closing thoughts?
Brother Cloud: Witnessing this event up close planted the seed that helped me as student leader. It deepened my level of consciousness to the cause. I feel like I was a part of history that shaped this country. A highlight of the trip was seeing John Lewis in action. I saw him from afar with his trench coat and backpack and he stood out as someone that was important. Who knew I was in the presence of an icon? I hope this interview plants a seed for many of younger brothers who are establishing themselves in the social justice movement or a cause.
XI ALPHA VIRTUAL BLACK HISTORY PROGRAM
By BroTHER Bobby Robinson
The Brothers of Xi Alpha Chapter annually host a Black History Program for the community in Charleston, WV. With Brother Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s strong roots in West Virginia, and serving as an academic dean at West Virginia State University, it is only right that the Brothers in West Virginia lead the way for the community in February. With this in mind, the chapter provides a platform for young people to demonstrate their understanding of Black History, through artistic demonstration, dramatic interpretation, speeches, quotations, singing, dancing, and various intellectual presentations of the amazing contributions African Americans have made to the world.
Xi Alpha Virtual Black History Program, continued
Because of COVID-19, this year’s event was held virtually which called on Brothers to step up and showcase new skill sets in order to execute in this new format.
Participants in this year’s event came from a number of local organizations, including: the Partnership of African American Churches; National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. – Xinos; Martin Luther King, Jr. Male Chorus; Leisha English; as well as some of the chapter’s Talent Hunt finalists. Brother Donnell Boykin provided a stellar presentation of Omega’s history and there was an outstanding, professional video of African American history put together by Brother Terry Cyrus. The undergraduate Brothers of Theta Psi and Nu Zeta Chapters even demonstrated a couple of marches for the program.
Brother Rico Bradley emceed this outstanding event and was joined by a host of fraternity dignitaries who were able to join through the new virtual format. First Vice Grand Basileus, Brother Ricky Lewis; Fourth District Representative, Brother Lamar T. Cole; First Vice 4th District Representative, Brother David Reliford; and a host of Chapter Basilei and good Brothers from around the District also attended. In total there were over 500 viewers between Zoom and Facebook.
By BroTHER Marcus Bethay II
BROTHER E. TIMOTHY MOORE SCHOLARSHIP ESTABLISHED AT KENT STATE UNIVERSITY
Brother E. Timothy Moore arrived on the campus of Kent State University in Kent Ohio in September of 1969 and never left. His service and dedication to the campus community spanned across 7 different decades. Brother Moore joined Omega through Psi Gamma chapter in May of 1970, initiated 9 days after the May 4th Shooting at Kent State, where the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of demonstrators, protesting America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The shooting left 4 students dead and 9 others wounded.
Brother Moore was a fixture at Kent State University and touched the lives of many students, staff, and administration over his 40 plus years at the university. Brother Moore served as the Associate Dean Emeritus in Kent State University’s College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pan-African Studies. Brother Moore entered Omega chapter in January and the impact on the university was felt immediately.
The university has established a scholarship to honor Brother
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Moore’s life and legacy. The E. Timothy Moore Scholarship is for majors or minors in Pan-African Studies and also for Psi Gamma chapter of Omega Psi Phi at Kent State University.
Kent State President Todd Diacon said Moore will be missed by students, faculty, and staff alike. The new scholarship honors Moore’s outstanding contributions to Kent State.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Timothy Moore,” Diacon said. “His fervor for teaching and advising Kent State students for more than 40 years was meritorious. In addition, Moore blazed paths as a diversity trailblazer at Kent State. We are forever grateful for his service, and his legacy will never be forgotten.” Brother Moore served as assistant and then associate dean of undergraduate affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences for 12 years. In that capacity, he worked with all students but he had a passion for advising underrepresented and underserved students. Moore was the go-to person for students on campus, even those not
enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.
During his time at Kent State, and in various places throughout the Pan-African world, Moore taught courses in African and African American historic, artistic, and cultural experiences.
Brother Moore served as a mentor to all students and in more recent years, with a particular focus on African American males. From 2007-2009, he was a consultant and a cultural competency teacher-facilitator with the Governor’s Initiative for Increasing the Graduation Rate with the Akron High Schools, which targeted ninth-grade African American males, toward “Closing the Achievement Gap.” In 2010-2011, he was involved with a continuation of this program in the juvenile correctional facilities throughout Ohio.
In 1993, he became the first African American at Kent State to receive the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award and was selected to Who’s Who Among American Teachers for 1996 and 1998. He received numerous recognitions for Outstanding Teaching and the 2006 Distinguished Honors Faculty Award. In 2009, he received the Service to Commission Award for the Liberal Arts Advisors Commission of the National Academic Advising Association and several awards for his contributions to the university at the time of his retirement at the end of 2010.
In 2015, Brother Moore was awarded the university’s annual Diversity Trailblazer Award, which recognizes those individuals who have displayed exemplary contributions to the area of diversity in the university. Moore was a trailblazer in diversity issues for more than 40 years of his administrative and academic service to Kent State.
Brother Moore will certainly be missed but his legacy of being a “brother’s brother” will live on as this scholarship in his honor will continue to help students just as Brother Moore dedicated his life to doing.
MU IOTA AND GRAND COUNSELOR BROTHER BENJAMIN CRUMP FIGHT FOR JUSTICE IN COLUMBUS, OH
The fight for social justice is one that Omega continues to lead. When this fight hit the Columbus, OH community in 2020 the men of Omega in Central Ohio again answered the call when Andre Hill, an unarmed 47-year-old Black man,was shot and killed December 22, 2020 by Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy. Hill was shot as he emerged from a garage holding a cell phone.
Mr. Hill was visiting a friend in Columbus when Officer Coy responded to a call for a nonviolent disturbance. “Officer Amy Detweiler was on scene when Hill, who was unarmed, was shot and killed. Detweiler said in a recorded investigative interview from December 23 that she did not observe any threats from Hill and that no verbal warnings were given to Hill by Coy.”
Grand Counselor Brother Benjamin Crump was brought on by the Hill family to represent them in this fight for justice for Andre. In this capacity Brother Crump visited Columbus and took time to connect with the Omega chapters in Central Ohio. Brothers of Mu Iota, Iota Psi (The Ohio State University), and Eta Nu Nu met with Brother Crump and his law clerk Landus Anderson. During this meeting Brother Crump shared his vision of Omega Men participating in a public march to
By BrOTHER Reginal Adams
show solidarity with the process of seeking justice for Andre Hill. A little over two weeks prior to Mr. Hill’s murder, “a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy fatally shot Casey Goodson Jr., a 23-year-old Black man who had no criminal background, and who was not the target of any investigation. Goodson’s mother says he was shot as he was entering his home after returning from the dentist and Subway to pick up sandwiches for his 5-year-old brother and 72-year-old grandmother.”
These two incidents again bring to the forefront an ongoing issue in Central Ohio. A study from the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health found Franklin County to have one of the highest rates of fatal law enforcement shootings in Ohio and in the nation based on average annual fatality rate.
Since Brother Crump's visit in January the Brothers of Central Ohio, Mu Iota, Iota Psi, and Eta Nu Nu continue to push for justice
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for Mr. Hill's family and police reform within the City of Columbus. The brothers of Mu Iota see the names of Andre Hill and Casey Goodson as two more names on a growing list of unarmed African Americans who have unnecessarily lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.
The Brothers of Mu Iota will continue to organize and push for changes that will lead to a fair and safe environment for all people when it comes to their interactions with law enforcement. Brother Crump said it well in a statement published in the Tampa Bay Times by Farnoush Amiri for the America/Associated Press, “We need to redefine a relationship between police and communities of color in which it doesn’t turn deadly for a Black person with a cell phone to encounter a law enforcement officer.”
1. Kristina Sgueglia, Talor Romine, Sonia Moghe and Amir Vera, CNN, Andre Hill’s friend told police he was just dropping off ‘Christmas money’ when he was shot, new body camera footage shows, December 31, 2020 Andre Hill case: Friend told police he was just dropping off 'Christmas money' when he was shot, new body camera footage shows – CNN, Andre Hill case: Friend told police he was just dropping off 'Christmas money' when he was shot, new body camera footage showsCNN
2. Christina Maxouris, CNN, Here’s what we know about the Casey Goodson Jr. fatal police shooting, December 12, 2020, Here's what we know about the Casey Goodson Jr. fatal police shooting – CNN, Here's what we know about the Casey Goodson Jr. fatal police shooting - CNN
3. Celli Doyle, The Columbus Dispatch
February 23, 2021, Franklin County has one of the highest rates of fatal police shootings in Ohio and the U.S. , Franklin County has a top rating for fatal police shootings in U.S. (dispatch.com)
FLAG ON THE PLAY... A BLACK HISTORY MOMENT!
Knoxville, TN - Football is arguably the national pastime for most Americans: from Friday Night Lights to college football on Saturdays and the Sunday afternoon frenzy surrounding your favorite pro football teams. The greater Knoxville area has a long history of organized football from the first organized team by Maryville College’s Japanese student and alum Kin Takahashi in 1889, to the local Knoxville area club team coached by arguably the first national football star and Knoxville native Lee McClung. In the 132 years of organized football in the greater Knoxville area, it can be said that hundreds of thousands of games have been played. That’s hundreds of thousands of hours
of football fans experiencing the addictive emotional rollercoaster of the highs and lows cheering their favorite teams and players to victory. Through these emotional highs and lows the referees are often forgotten unless they make a bad call that impacts the outcome of the games. Nevertheless, it can only be said once that an all-Black officiating crew called a high school football game in Knoxville, TN. Led by head referee, current Fifth District Representative, and State representative Brother Samuel McKenzie and back judge Adronicus Thomas, Austin-East High School homecoming 2019 became the first high football game in the city of Knoxville, Tennessee to be officiated by an all-Black officiating crew.
5th DISTRICT NEWS - Kentucky and Tennessee
KNOXVILLE'S ONLY BLACK OWNED RADIO STATION
BroTHER Smith Jean-Philippe Knoxville, TN
On May 7, 2013, Brother Joe Armstrong became the proud owner, president, and CEO of a daytime-only radio station located in Powell, Tennessee, serving the Knoxville Metropolitan Area with an urban adult contemporary format. Brother Armstrong, a native Knoxvillian, changed the call letters of the station from WWAM to the call letters of WJBE, which served the Knoxville area from 1968 to 1979 as the “Raw Soul,” another James Brown Station. WJBE was originally named for James Brown Enterprises, by the legendary “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown himself.
People who enter WJBE's studios in East Knoxville's Five Points Neighborhood will notice the many photos of legendary singer and entertainer James Brown. In the late '60s, Brown bought a radio station in Knoxville, changing its name to WJBE. “That's what the
call letters are from, is James Brown Enterprises,” current WJBE CEO Joe Armstrong said. Brother Armstrong, also a Democratic state representative from Knoxville, bought the station in 2012.” “At that time it was WWAM, and so we brought back the call letters of WJBE,” Armstrong said. As a University of Tennessee student in the late 70s, Armstrong worked as a salesman for James Brown's WJBE, before Brown sold the station.
The administrative assistant at the new WJBE, Alyce Andrews, worked as traffic director at the original James Brown station. “To bring life back into it once again, it's a pleasure,” Andrews said. “Me and Joe are the only two originals at this station that was at the real, original station.” “It's almost like the ghost of James Brown coming back and being in the community again,”
WJBE news director Gene Thomas
BRO. LOUIE RIVERS, JR. RECOGNIZED DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
LIVING A LIFE OF SERVICE
BROTHER RICO WALKER - LEXINGTON, KY
Jr. said. “It's special.” Thomas recalls a conversation he had in 2010 with Armstrong about a need in Knoxville: “he said, ‘one of the things that was missing was that this community here in Knoxville did not have an African-American radio station.” “And lo and behold, in 2012, he made it happen.” “We were missing a flavor and a culture,” Armstrong said, “so this helped bring that back and, really, it has just been a blessing, all the outpouring.” If the late, great James Brown could see the new WJBE, there's a good chance he might just feel good. But not only does WJBE play what Armstrong describes as “the Motown sound, the R&B, the music that you love,” it also airs interviews with community members, including influential African-Americans.
On June 28, 2013, WJBE returned to the air in Knoxville on the 1040 AM frequency, simulcasting on 99.7 FM. The station brands itself as “Today's R&B and Classic Soul.” The music runs from classic soul to urban contemporary with Tom Joyner in the mornings.
Today, WJBE continues to serve the greater Knoxville community. As the only Black-owned radio station, it tells the stories and plays the songs that matter most to its listers, especially in the Black community. It is a resource Black businesses use to advertise their services. It’s a platform for Black leaders to inform the community of issues that impact them. According to Program Director Gene Thomas, “WJBE provides the Black community outlets that other stations do not.”
During the month of February, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture wanted to recognize black Kentuckians and their contributions to agriculture. On February 12, 2021 the news section of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture website, Brother Louie Rivers, Jr., was recognized for the contributions he has made to the State of Kentucky. The article is written by Chris Aldridge and it talks about how Brother Rivers grew up on a farm in Bamberg, South Carolina, went to South Carolina State College, graduated with a degree in animal science, and then became the first black person to graduate from the University of Florida with a Master’s Degree in dairy science in 1972.
The article also highlights many different accomplishments throughout his career. In 2019, Brother Rivers became the first black person from an HBCU to receive the Excellence in Extension Award given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has been a man of service his whole life as evidenced in a quote from the article, “I just wanted to help the farmer,” where he said “The farm is where my heart is.” As you can see, he is very passionate about his work.
5th DISTRICT NEWS - Kentucky and Tennessee
Brother Louie Rivers Jr. was initiated into the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. through Xi Psi Chapter at South Carolina State in the fall of 1967.
OMEGA MEN: THE BATTLE IS NOT YOURS, IT'S THE LORD'S
OMEGA MEN ARE PROTECTORS OF LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PERSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Life is like a garden: It is symbolic of a garden because growth is the aim and challenges are realistic and guaranteed. An Omega Man's aim is always fulfilling the four Cardinal Principles: Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift. There are good contributions to the garden of life and there are bad contributions to the garden of life. Essentials like light, water, and nutrients are a must for growth with the necessity of a gardener for maintaining and de-weeding. But, life, like a garden, can throw you a curve like in a baseball game. Chance doesn't come straight at you, it can go around you, over you, under you, where you least expect it to occur. That's why the gardener is needed to care for and groom the garden.
Like a parent, a guardian needs to care and train the children, and a pastor, to give that direction to the sheep of God, the church. That's why like the game, the coach can give proper advice to assure the best outcome. Everybody in life needs somebody, to give guidance, to teach how to use those skills, to show you how to avoid the stumbling blocks or weeds that choke you and stop growth, for which God designed life. Omega Men abide by the gardener, and they know that gardener is the Lord. Allow me to call to your attention John 15:1 that states, “I am the true vine & my father is the husbandman.” Such is the case with our national news lately. So many stumbling blocks, so many weeds in the garden, trying to choke out life with violence and killing, so many dark days brought on by racism, hatred, bigotry, jealousy, and political chaos promoting division rather than unity. All mention causing wars, and rumors of wars, gang violence, prejudice coup provoking racial and justice assault battles daily due to selfishness and immoral values.
Our recent national catastrophe is the insurrection President Trump promoted & stoked encouraging the Trump based mob to storm the National Capitol. This planned mob movement on the Capitol to bring harm, destruction & possible murder to members of
the government such VP Pence, Speaker of the House, Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi, and newly elected VP Kamala Harris is the worst movement by domestic terrorism in American History since the Civil War. The Pandemic is another catastrophe that has challenged the lifeline of America beyond common imagination. No one would have thought that from last year at this time there were only 6 deaths from the COVID-19, the beginning of the Coronavirus entering America to over 400,000 deaths to date (1/18/21). No one would believe it, especially our last President Trump who stated “Don’t be alarmed. It will go away on its own by early April, 2020.”
Rev. Dr. Bishop Carter III - In his words
And note all the movements for justice across this land up to Black Lives Matter due to the mass murders by police of black citizens, especially males unnecessarily. And, add to the stress, the strain, the loss of jobs, the millions experiencing hunger because of the lack of concern by this administration to care for its people in the midst of a Pandemic.
We need to pray for the less fortunate, the frontline hospital workers, the frontline community workers, the first responders who must face these challenges head on daily so we can attempt to survive and sustain life daily. Here is an example of standing alone against the powers that be: a story of the big beast against the weak prey; the concept of the corporate giant against a small business owners & individual consumers; in the Biblical arena, which is the real world — a Gideon vs. Midianites, or David vs. Goliath. Battles either give you the faith needed in this walk called life, or you learn that the Battle is not your's—it's the Lord's.
Gideon (also called Jerubbaal) was one of the judges chosen by God to lead the Hebrew nation against the Midianites, who were a cult under Baal the false God. The Midianites focus was to destroy the Hebrews who overtook the promised land. You know the story, Midianites had 90,000 soldiers, and Gideon had 32,000 Hebrew soldiers. Those of the Gideon army who weren't ready for battle could return home. So, 20,000 and 2,000 returned. But, God said, there were still too many. God wanted Gideon to depend on his strength of faith in God Jehovah. So he told Gideon there were too many, that every soldier when he drank from the stream who got down on his knees instead of lapping like a dog from his hands looking down instead of ahead weren't worthy to serve in his army. So the numbers went from 10,000 down to 300. In spite of minimum soldiers for this battle, Gideon prevails.
David was a red or rued, Hebrew shepherd boy, approximately 12-14 years old, the youngest son of Jesse. Goliath was a nine-foot giant and the greatest soldier in the Philistine army, the ultimate enemy of King Saul and the Hebrew nation. Yet, David kills Goliath with five stones and a slingshot. In each case, God fought their battle. Today, Giants come from all sides, corporate related to our jobs; diseases related to
health; political related to government vs. citizen; Bible vs. Social.
There is the freedom from fear. There is no condemnation because we share the righteousness of God and the law cannot condemn us. There is no obligation because we have the spirit of God who enables us to overcome the flesh and live for God. There is no frustration because we share the glory of God, the blessed hope of Christ's return. There is no separation because we experience the love of God: “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35).
The emphasis in this final section is security of the believer. Omega men know if God be for you, he’s more than the world against you. We do not need to fear the past, present, or future because we are secure in the love of Christ. Paul presented five arguments to prove that there can be no separation between the believer and the Lord.
1. We must remember that God is for us. The father is for us and proved it by giving His only begotten son, John 3:16; Romans 8:32.
2. The Son is for us, Rom. 8:34 and so is the spirit Rom. 8:26.
3. God is making all things work for us Rom. 8:28.
4. In his person and his providence, God is for us. Sometimes, like Jacob, we lament, "All these things are against us (cry with fear), Gen. 42:36, when actually everything is working for us.
5. The conclusion is obvious: "if God be for us, who can be against us?"
The believer needs to enter into each new day realizing that God is for him. There is no need to fear, for his loving Father desires the best from his children, even if they must go through trials to receive his best: "For I know the plans that a I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare, and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope" Jeremiah 29:11. NASB.
Christ died for us, Calvary was his plan. v. 32 God has justified us. He declared us righteous through Christ. V. 33.
5th DISTRICT NEWS - Kentucky and Tennessee
Omega Men-The Battle Is Not Yours, continued
Christ intercedes for us. V.34. He died for us and now intercedes for us in heaven, he represents us from the throne of God in heaven (before God's throne).
Our representation we have here on earth might be questionable, but there is no question, that if God be for us, who can be against us? Who washed away our stains? Nothing but the blood of Jesus, who can make us whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus. And Christ loves us. (V. 35-39.) Trials in our lives are to be used to grow us in faith and give God the glory that He is worthy of. Oh Yes. The Battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s. Those who have faith in Jesus know the Lord said, “I am the way the truth, and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.... For I am persuaded, the neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
That’s why I thank God everyday for sending down Jesus thru 42 generations (assuming 50 years per generation), born of a virgin named Mary, who fed the hungry, gave sight to the blind, walking to the lane; He who told the 6000 devils to come out of Legion; He who called Lazarus from the grave after being dead four days; He who told the man at the pool of Bethesda who had been lame for 38 years, “rise, take up thy bed and walk.”; He who went to the hill called Golgotha were they dropped him low, stretched him wide, hung him high, and said among his last words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”; He died, was buried in a borrowed tomb, but on that third and appointed morning rose from the grave with all power in heaven and earth in His hands!
His Resurrection gives us eternal Life. For He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Revelations 22:13.
Omega Men are guardians of Life. For we know that the battle is not yours, it’s the Lords.
In Jesus name, Amen.
USHERING IN SOCIAL CHANGE, VIRTUALLY HONORING SERVICE
TAU OMEGA CHAPTER, ACHIEVEMENT WEEK
On November 22, 2020, the Tau Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., honored men of the Chapter, local professionals, and leaders for their willingness to extend a helping hand and serve the Greensboro community during unprecedented times, through a virtual presentation of the Chapter’s Annual Achievement Week Awards Program.
The year 2020, will undoubtedly be remembered as a year encompassed by events which brought numerous trials, tremendous triumphs, and unequivocal change. Global infections of COVID-19 brought on many challenges including learning to live in a virtual reality, mourning the lives lost due to social injustice and displacing many senses of comfort. In the same year we witnessed the first African American woman and HBCU graduate be voted into office as Vice President of the United States of America, knowing our daughters' futures represented new opportunities. The year 2020, evoked a world wind of emotions. Yet, through all the difficulties and hardships, the call to serve was answered.
The keynote speaker of the evening was Brother First Vice Grand Basileus, Ricky Lewis. With poise and candor, Bro. 1st Grand Vice Basileus urged viewers and listeners
to, “study our history, understanding that we are not an inferior people but simply a people who have been set back.” In addition, he was adamant in assuring his audience that, “that same history will inspire us to greater achievements.” Through examples of African Americans whose bravery and courage ushered in change when it was most needed, Bro. Lewis encouraged all under his voice to leave their mark and be a light for others.
The Tau Omega Chapter awarded “Citizen of the Year” to Dr. Sharon Contreras, Guilford County Schools superintendent and finalist for the United States Secretary of Education
in the Biden Administration. The Chapter’s “Founders” award was presented to Bro. Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, President of the North Carolina NAACP. Bro. Antonio Blackley was honored by the Chapter as “Omega Man of the Year.” Other awards presented included but are not limited to, the “Young Leaders Award” “Community Trailblazer Award,” and “The Superior Service Award.”
Special greetings and proclamations were presented by Mayor Nancy Vaughn and the City of Greensboro to culminate a week.
6th DISTRICT NEWS - North Carolina and South Carolina
Omegas of Raleigh
Making A Difference in the Community
The Omega Multipurpose Center (OMC) serves as a new business center and community facility in the Raleigh, North Carolina. The Multipurpose Center is equipped to host meetings, social events, and conferences. A special ribbon-cutting celebration to mark the grand opening of the new Omega Multipurpose Center located at 1004 Vandora Springs Road, Garner NC was held on June 26, 2021.
The OMC was opened for business and public use on June 5, 2021. The OMC contains approximately 4,800 square feet of space. The center can accommodate up to 300+ people and has extensive audiovisual capabilities, TVs, business offices, multiple conference rooms, meeting rooms, and social areas. The OMC is the perfect place to host your next event.
The Omegas of Raleigh, L.L.C., the corporate entity, was formed in March 2002. It aims to function as an entity comprised of Omega Shareholders that support community development. The vision of the OMC is to provide an outstanding, friendly, and safe place offering sustainable approved enrichment programs, activities, and services for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity area chapters, other organizations, local businesses, individuals, and the Wake County community.
Epsilon Gamma Gamma Chapter and Sigma Pi Chapter Donate to the Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Site in Greenwood, South Carolina
On July 16, 2021, the brothers of Epsilon Gamma Gamma and Sigma Pi Chapters gathered at The Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site in Greenwood, South Carolina to pay homage and to donate funds to further support the site’s mission to share, educate, inspire, and ensure the legacy of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays lives in perpetuity. Each chapter donated a total of $4000.
The Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site is located on the campus of GLEAMNS Human Resources Commission, which is in the old African American Brewer Hospital. This site was selected due to its historical significance in the community. In 2004, the SC Palmetto Conservation Foundation bought the
home from the owners and moved it to its current location. Due to the dilapidated condition of the home, extensive repairs were made to restore it. For those who seek assistance from GLEAMNS, the Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site serves as a reflection of Dr. Mays im-
poverish, humbled beginnings from which he rose to become one of the greatest international leaders of his generation. GLEAMNS promotes education, determination, and hard work as essential tools for breaking down the walls of poverty and building the ladder to self-sufficiency.
KAPPA GAMMA GAMMA
Brothers of Kappa Gamma Gamma Chapter Congratulate Former Beautillion Esquire, Brother Thomas Thompson, on being Elected as the 2nd Vice District Representative.
Anderson, South Carolina – The Brothers of Kappa Gamma Gamma Chapter congratulate Brother Thomas Thompson on his selection as the 2nd Vice District Representative for the Sixth District. An Anderson native, he was a former participant in our Beautillion Program while a student at T.L. Hanna High School. We affectionately know Brother Thompson as “Jo.”
The Beautillion recognized the achievements of several young African-American males from 16 to 19 years old, who aspire to continue their education. These 'Esquires' represented a select few and participated in several workshops culminating in an elegant black-tie affair with dinner. The Esquires were awarded scholarships based on their commitment to the program.
Brother Thompson shared some sentiments to describe his experience. “Kappa Gamma Gamma Chapter and the Annual Beautillion presented many opportunities for me to fine-tune my skills and better understand the Fraternity through proper teaching and mentorship. The Beautillion was not only an experience for me but my family as well. Nothing filled their hearts with joy more than watching me gain positive attributes and qualities while simultaneously earning a scholarship for my academic future.”
“It also provided my family with a sense of joy to witness me, on an elegant evening, gaining exposure and performing in front of a large supportive audience. We are a Divine Nine family. My mother, Tara S. Miles, is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and my older brother, 1st Lt. Tyler O. Thompson, is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (Xi Psi Chapter). This experience served as a great moment to see the potential greatness that eventually would manifest into a reality.”
Kappa Gamma Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s primary initiative is to provide programs and activities to guide and inspire youth as they journey to become successful men of character.
6th DISTRICT NEWS - North Carolina and South Carolina 92
DRIVE-THRU WATER DISTRIBUTION
By BroTHER K.O. Martin
February 2021 saw the State of Mississippi receive one of the most brutal wintertime blows Mother Nature has ever delivered to the region. Beginning on the fourteenth day of the month, sleet and freezing rain fell from the sky as temperatures plummeted well below normal turning the streets and roadway into sheets of ice. In addition to the hazardous road conditions, widespread power outages occurred due to tree limbs snapping and falling trees bringing down power lines further exacerbating the strain on the overworked power grid. Central Mississippi recorded temperatures below freezing for a little over one-hundred continuous hours which had not happened since 1983.
The freezing temperatures caused countless pipes and water mains to rupture and water treatment plants lost pressure in the service lines from the breaks and power outages. As a result, the Jackson Metro area was placed on a boil-water alert, mass panic shopping left store shelves empty of water, and delivery trucks were not able to navigate the roads to replenish out of stock items. Local news stations began reporting that citizens were without drinking water in many areas, while others did not even have water to flush toilets in their homes.
Seeing the need for action in the community, Bro. Curtis “Auggie Doggie” Augustine approached Epsilon Kappa Kappa (EKK) Chapter leadership with the idea of each Brother donating two cases of water to distribute to the public from the Uplift Incorporated Center which is our home base for community service. Once the driving surfaces were no longer impassable, EKK collected over 150 cases of bottled water. A plan was put together and a drive-thru
distribution was set up on February 20th to assist the citizens of Canton and relieve some of their water woes.
Starting at 10:00 a.m. until the supplies were exhausted, EKK passed out cases of water and were overjoyed at the reaction and gratitude displayed by citizens who received the water. After word of the water distribution spread and more people were in need, we saw the need to continue our efforts. Bro. Gene Sherriff networked and secured nearly 400 cases of water for a second water distribution on February 27th providing additional drinking water for citizens still without running water or under a boil water alert.
It is most definitely the pleasure of Epsilon Kappa Kappa to continue uplifting the community and providing services to our brothers and sisters in need.
7th DISTRICT NEWS - Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi
FRIENDSHIP IS ESSENTIAL TO THE SOUL
By Bro. Dr. Kenneth Brown
On August 31, 1990, Zillie Rudolph, Sr., crossed the burning sands and became an Omega Man. Though he pledged later in life, he always wanted to be an Omega. In fact, he was accepted into a pledge class as an undergraduate at Alabama State University, but circumstances beyond his control prevented him from completing the process. However, his perseverance was rewarded as he and three others became members on the third line for Kappa Beta Beta in 1990.
Brother Rudolph has honorably served the Chapter for over thirty years. He has held multiple offices on the executive council and has served on multiple committees, ensuring that the Chapter fulfilled all its required duties and participated in all mandated programs. He has served as a delegate multiple times at all levels of the fraternity including at state meetings, district meetings, and grand conclaves.
Brother Rudolph and his close friend, Brother Tellis Copeland, NE ’61, maintained the chapter throughout lean years when active membership was low. Despite his declining physical health in recent years, Brother Rudolph has continued to be mentally sharp and has continued to provide valuable insight and input to the chapter.
Several years ago, Brother Rudolph and his family made the difficult decision to admit him to a nursing home due to his physical condition. Even though he is no longer physically attending chapter meetings and activities, Brother Rudolph has remained financial. At the past 2020 virtual conclave, he was awarded his thirty-year service award. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic prevented chapter brothers from being able to physically present Brother Rudolph his award. However, chapter brothers made arrangements with the nursing home to have his nurses present the award, and two brothers made the trip and were able to talk with him through his room window.
Brother Rudolph is currently ninety-seven years old. He has served his community as a high school science teacher, his country in the U. S. Navy, and his fraternity as a mentor and friend. Congratulations Brother Rudolph!
7th DISTRICT NEWS - Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi
IN TRYING TIMES KBB EXTENDING HANDS OF LOVE IN WIREGRASS
The scourge of the COVID-19 virus has upended daily lives in ways, previously, unimaginable. Fear, uncertainty, and restlessness abound as people try to maintain a sense of normalcy in abnormal times. As each day breaks, ‘Hope’ is renewed and the light at the end of the tunnel seems a little closer than it did the day before. Following their hearts, the Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., have been working diligently in their respective communities to be that light and foster hope.
In the Wiregrass, members of the Kappa Beta Beta (KBB) Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., have been involved in several activities to provide light in a time of darkness. They have mobilized to combat ills created directly by the COVID-19 virus. Initially, panic ensued as governments at every level took restrictive measures to slow the spread of the virus. Falsehoods about the transmission, symptoms, and treatment of the virus spread like wildfire. It became vital that health care experts educate the public to raise awareness and prevention to flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19.
By Bro. Carter Young
On Monday, April 6, 2020, in conjunction with the Carver Interpretive Museum of Dothan, KBB Member, Dr. Kenneth Brown, provided an informative webinar that was broadcast internationally about the dangers of COVID-19. During his presentation, Dr. Brown offered fact-based evidence that dispelled some of the misconceptions about the virus. Dr. Brown also reiterated the importance of social distancing and sheltering in place as ordered by the government. In tandem with Dr. Brown’s presentation, the Chapter targeted needs in the local Wiregrass community. KBB partnered with KBB Brother LaDray Gilbert’s law firm and the Wiregrass Omega Lamplighters and made a special donation.
The Royal Special Heart Food Pantry, founded by Z’yon Norton, daughter of KBB Brother Rafeal Norton, received a $2,500 check to assist her in providing meals for first responders and other essential employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pantry was, initially, created to help feed Z’yon’s, a 9-year-old critical heart patient and less fortunate classmates that were going hungry at times.
Based on KBB’s contribution, Ms. Norton intends to extend her efforts to make her community a better place. In addition to helping feed essential workers the Chapter also provided financial assistance as well. KBB sponsored the tuition of the child of an essential worker that has been experiencing financial setbacks due to lack of hours.
The Beulah Land Academy, housed at Greater Beulah Baptist Church of Dothan, Alabama, received a check for $1,500 to cover the cost of a year’s tuition to ensure that a child’s education would not be interrupted due to hardships caused by the pandemic. The church’s Pastor, Darryl Roberts, is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Pastor Roberts has been active with KBB since taking on his new post at Beulah and vows to continue to work with the Chapter to provide relief efforts during the pandemic.
THETA PHI CHAPTER JOINS CIRCLE OF CARING OUTREACH TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY
On January 31, 2021, Theta Phi Chapter partnered with the nonprofit organization Circle of Caring Outreach under the guidance of Brother Corey Redden to assist over 25 elderly and large families with much needed food items. The Theta Phi Chapter has committed to collecting, sorting, and distributing donated food collected from local grocery stores and farms to feed over 200 families in need in the Springfield and East side communities of Jacksonville, Florida. The food drives will take place on the last Saturday of each month for the 2021 calendar year.
BA MLK COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT
By Bro. Billy Bullock
Saturday, February 27, 2021
The Beta Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (The Capital City Ques) and the Upsilon Epsilon Chapter (YE) participated in the chapters’ Martin Luther King, Jr. community service project. This year’s project was a blanket drive. The blankets will replace the supplies at Stewpot Community Center’s opportunity closet that were depleted due to the ice storm that recently hit Jackson.
The Center provides men, women, and children with meals, groceries, clothing, shelter, mentoring, and support that enhances the lives of individuals in Jackson
and the surrounding community. Their programs help nurture the health and welfare of individuals to help them get on their feet. The Beta Alpha Chapter is so proud and fortunate to be able to assist the Center.
The response to the Community Service project was so overwhelming that the Beta Alpha Chapter had enough blankets to share with the Center as well as in the community. After leaving the Center, Brothers met at Smith Park to serve refreshments and distribute additional blankets to individuals in the park.
Honored to assist the Center, The Beta Alpha Chapter is so proud and fortunate to be able to provide assistance.
7th DISTRICT NEWS - Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi
TUNING IN TO TALENT: SIGMA ALPHA CHAPTER HOSTS INAUGURAL VIRTUAL TALENT HUNT
By Bro. Clayton Gutzmore
COVID-19 has taken a great toll on everyone. One of the biggest blows the virus gave was removing safety in any gathering of over two people. With this obstacle present, The Sigma Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., exercised ingenuity to maneuver around this roadblock. This year, Sigma Alpha hosted the inaugural virtual Talent Hunt. The Chapter went online to present a great showcase of young Miami talent that entertained and impressed all viewers.
Sigma Alpha’s Virtual Talent Hunt debuted on Saturday, January 30. The presentation was released on the Chapter’s Youtube page. It can be viewed there and on the Chapter’s website, miamisaques. com. The virtual Talent Hunt had three Miami Dade county students facing off against one another with their exceptional skills in dancing and singing. The participants in the Talent Hunt were Akoya Austin, Kennedy Ross, and Lemari Hills. The Talent Hunt was organized by Brother Kenard Stevens, Talent
Hunt Chairman. “We have so much youthful talent in South Florida. I would love to inspire them to use those powerful gifts they were blessed with for the nation tosee,” said Brother Stevens.. The Talent Hunt is one of the Fraternity’s mandated programs and Omega uses it to provide exposure, encouragement, and financial assistance to talented young people participating in the performing arts. Winners are awarded recognition and college scholarships.
The contestants earned points based on their technique, pitch, and level of difficulty for their performance. Bro. Stevens reached out to his network and gathered three individuals who are savvy in the arts to judge the performers “The judges have a keen eye for talent. All three of them have a connection with the youth in their respective businesses.” said Stevens. The judges were Candice Elliot, Miramar High School teacher, Clarence Jones, Choreographer and associate director at Barry University, and Zipporah Hayes, director of the entourage expo, a
music artist development company.
The first performance was from Akoya Austin who performed a ballerina routine. Kennedy Ross followed and she executed one of the flag routines from the Miami Norland Senior High School Flaggettes. Lemari Hills completed the performances and sang “My Testimony” by Marvin Sapp. All of the contestants put on a stellar show. Lemari Hills scored the highest among the candidates earning a $500 scholarship from the Chapter and an opportunity to compete in Omega Psi Phi’s statewide Talent Hunt.
Brother Stevens, along with the Talent Hunt committee, completed a major accomplishment in the virtual Talent Hunt. What is next is prepping Hills for the upcoming performance. Stevens is looking into building on top of what was done with this year’s talent hunt. In the event Sigma Alpha has to do this again in 2022, Brother Stevens is prepared to rise to the challenge.
EditorToTheOracle@oppf.org 97 TheOracle-Spring2021
We are always seeking Brothers with an opinionated view to submit an editorial. If you have those desires, please email Bro. Norm Senior at
STOP THE HUNGER... ONE COMMUNITY AT A TIME
By Bro. Clerance Pittman III
Kappa Alpha Alpha Chapter gives out hearty meals to residents of Dekalb County, Georgia. On a recent November Saturday morning, about thirty Kappa Alpha Alpha (KAA) brothers partnered with The Greater Piney Grove Community Development, Inc., (GPGCD) to place large boxes filled with an assortment of premium delicious foods into the trunks of over 1,000 cars.
This event named “Stop Hunger, One Community at a Time Food Distribution” served nearly 1,700 local residents with approximately 39,000 pounds of food. “Family members were outstanding and very appreciative for what we did. I have never gotten as many phone calls from people saying how happy they were after a KAA event. It felt so good that God blessed us to do it,” said Brother Robert Murrell, KAA’s coordinator for this event. “And, I was very happy that we, KAA, took ‘the next level’, meaning we’re able to provide a variety of premium food goods for multitudes of families. Our people deserve the best to eat, no matter what status they are in.”
This is the first time KAA has actually coordinated with GPGCD to better address the pressing needs of the community. “We got lots of praise from people who witnessed our leadership and high energy as we loaded the numerous weighted large food boxes into multiple car trunks. People felt our process was done orderly, properly, and expeditiously as much as possible during this massive operation,” said Brother Basileus Greg Davis who leads the KAA Chapter which is also known
as Q.K.A. ‘DeKAAtur Ques.’ “Our Chapter’s planning and execution was very successful; even in the middle of this pandemic, everyone wore face masks and conducted social distancing to be protective and safe to accomplish what we needed to do.”
The preparation of these hearty take-home meal boxes consisted of offloading the cargo of food from an 18-wheeler truck and trailer, followed by unpacking the separate boxes and mixing these various food items of apples, turkey, tilapia, shrimp, pizzas, frozen vegetables, canned goods, asparagus, collard greens, pies, cakes, and other side food items into individual take-home meal boxes. When directed, the local residents drove their cars with open cleaned out trunks through a tented assembly area where take-home meal boxes were placed in each trunk. In addition to KAA, others contributors to this Stop Hunger event, included about 15 brothers from different Omega Psi Phi Chapters in the area, about 25 Zeta Phi Beta sisters, numerous Delta Sigma Theta sisters, numerous Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters, about 20 YMCA members, over 170 individual volunteers, and about 12 middle school through high school male students who are members of Omega KNIGHTS (under the guidance of KAA‘s Manhood Uplift mentoring program), according to Brother Murrell, a proud deacon at Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church. “It was a great day for our KNIGHTS who were able to come. The fact that over 39,000 pounds of food was given out speaks for itself! Our mentees played a key role preparing those large boxes of food given to the families,” said KAA Brother Clinton Raines, whose 13-year-old grandson and
7th DISTRICT NEWS - Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi
his friend are KNIGHTS. “And, this event was successful, even in this COVID, because Ques still does what we do… Ques perform community services. I like to say, what I say all the time… you don’t get credit to do what you are supposed to do… you just do it… which we did today.”
“The mentees, who have been with KAA for about three years, were very enthusiastic and very proud of themselves, which showed as they constantly hustled today. These young men were assigned to go down the assembly line of tables and fill a take-home box with food items which weighs about 50 pounds at the end of the line,” said KAA Brother Andrew Porter, chair of Manhood Uplift mentoring program. “I went down the assembly line and it was challenging filling up a box with goods and carrying it to the load-up table to be placed in car trunks, therefore, I know the mentees got a workout… so we’re thankful for them.” This Stop Hunger event is also extra meaningful for the honor and memory of Brother Murrell’s late older Brother Michael Murrell (Mu Epsilon, Fall 1973) who transitioned to Omega Chapter in April due to COVID-19 complications. Michael was also a member of both KAA and Eta Omega Chapters. “In the past during this time of the year, Brother Michael Murrell would coordinate about 100 tickets for KAA, Toney Elementary School students and staff, and our mentees to go enjoy the Celebration Bowl at the Mercedes Benz Stadium. So this Stop Hunger event was in honor and memory of Brother Michael Murrell’s food drives and community services,” reflected Brother Porter.
Adherence to social distancing was conducted throughout Stop Hunger due to these challenging times of COVID-19 pandemic (Coronavirus Disease 2019). Medical officials encouraged people all over the world to take commonsense precautions to prevent this disease spread most often through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including touching and shaking hands), or through touching your nose, mouth, or eyes before washing your hands. [Georgia Department of Public Health, an Official website of the State of Georgia government - https://dph.georgia.gov/what-covid-19] “Stop Hunger was also purposely scheduled around Founders’ Day. We wanted our community actions to be highlighted simultaneously on our Founders’ Day,” said KAA Brother Robert Murrell.
AVIATION GROUND SCHOOL FOR OUR YOUTH THE 99TH SQUADRON
By Bro. Hemphill, Sr. - Eastern Iowa
On April 29th, 2007 in a small Iowa town called Marion, I took my very 1st flight in a small aircraft. I was able to take the controls and begin what would become a life-changing experience. I completed ground school around that time, took a few more introductory lessons the following year, and officially committed to flight training a few years later when I moved back to North Carolina. Fast forward to today, I’ve taken 114 passengers, logged just under 500 hours in at least 10 different aircraft models with 823 landings and an average downtime of 12 days. These numbers are not extraordinary by any means for any “General Aviation” pilot, but it collectively illustrates a commitment to the practice itself.
Over the last decade, the one passion that has remained the most consistent is the joy of introducing Black boys and girls to the world of aviation and aerodynamics. Back in 2013, I started posting annual video compilations flooded with footage of first-timers taking the controls as well as my own endeavors of challenging maneuvers, teachable moments and lessons learned. It wasn’t until late last summer that the idea of teaching an actual fundamentals course even came to light. It started with a simple conversation between myself and two established non-profits that were already engaged in other facets of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
From that point, my purpose became abundantly clear,
and after the 1st cohort of students completed The 99th Squadron’s youth ground school curriculum, my wife and I started going through the paperwork in getting established with the State of Florida as a non-profit. Each group of students who complete the program is given their own squadron name to continue an ongoing lineage. The 1st group was named “Blue Side Up”, to represent the temporary name we were operating under to kick things off.
The 99th Squadron’s namesake comes from one of the designated squadrons that formed the 332nd Fighter group, more commonly known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Coincidentally, in the process of choosing that name, I was introduced to Leigh Roberts, daughter of Col. George S. “Spanky” Roberts, who was an Omega Man and former commander of not only the 99th Squadron and, but eventually the 332nd Fighter Group altogether. I wanted to ensure that we had the support of such a legacy that has been successfully continued through the years from countless initiatives under the Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated (TAI), as this independent concept was being introduced.
The support that we’ve received from Brevard County, the current area of Florida in which we serve, has been nothing short of amazing. Combine that with the tremendous amount of encouragement we’ve received throughout the country, including coverage by statewide
8th DISTRICT NEWS - Colorado, Iowa, Kansa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota
and national news outlets, we’re quickly realizing the growth potential to expand beyond our current borders in the future.
For more information on how you can support, go to The99th.org/ donate, which includes a chart of this year’s fundraising goals as well as sustainment to keep these young minds engaged via future flights, facility visitations, aviation museums, and flight training scholarships. Long Live the 8th District, my birthplace in Omega.
All photos shown are images of Brother Hemphill reflecting, teaching, and enjoying all things related to flying.
“WHAT DOES IT COST TO DREAM”
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January every year as a day to remember the life and legacy of a great American who fought for equal opportunity for humankind. It has been 53 years since we lost Dr. King; however, we see his quest for change in the recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, where all races came together to fight for justice. The world watched the U.S. in turmoil over the vicious killings of Black people, reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s, when the community came together in solidarity to protest. The movement's impact was felt around the world with demonstrations on all seven continents and over 60 countries. Dr. King would be proud to see the peaceful protests of so
many fighting for justice. He would take solace in knowing that the lives lost were not in vain.
Omega Men and their families were, and are, part of the movement. They displayed strength within their respective communities to bring awareness and activism to stop the injustices that are being perpetrated by law enforcement, business owners, and even elected government officials. As Dr. King stated, “every march, peaceful
protest, sit-in, and campaign was driven by the hope of liberty and justice for all.”
To maintain the focus on the words and actions of Dr. King, the brothers of Epsilon Mu Nu Chapter, specifically, Brother Sean Knox, gave a powerful presentation that included the “Why” of Black History Month, the “I Have a Dream” speech, and what it means for each one of us going forward.
Brother Knox framed the moment by paying homage to Brother
Epsilon Mu Nu Chapter North Dakota
What Does It Cost To Dream, continued
Dr. Carter G. Woodson for his foresight to create Negro History Week and moved forward through history to the significance of Dr. King, not only for non-violent protest, but for his activism leading to opportunities for Black people to compete in athletics nationally. Brother Knox is a Coach and he is passionate about athletics and the impacts it makes on our youth. He sees sports as a means of teaching the value of teamwork, as well as supporting the social and emotional growth of youth. It was the efforts of Brother Dr. Woodson, Dr. King, and many others who cleared a path for us to move on the battlefield of social injustice., as Brother Knox says, they laid down the “suppressive fire” for us to keep advancing in life. As we advanced across the battlefield, we recently had a “blitzkrieg” moment (swift victory) with the election of Vice President Kamala Harris. This is another milestone marker in the history of not only Black people, but the entire nation. We can say wholeheartedly, the dream became reality!
Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream'' speech wasn't merely a dream, it was a prophecy. We have consistently made progress as a human race, even though we’ve suffered through recent acts of hatred once again. Brother Knox tells us to keep dreaming because those aspirational thoughts are great, but you have to make it reality with a vigorous action plan. Better said, “The Dream is free…Hustle sold separately.”
UPSILON OMEGA CHAPTER 100 YEAR CELEBRATION
The Men of Upsilon Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., celebrated their Centennial on January 22-23rd of 2021. Upsilon Omega Chapter was chartered as Upsilon Chapter, in St. Louis, Mo. on January 23, 1921, 10 years after the founding of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. This momentous occasion marked 100 hundred years of service for this prodigious chapter. During the course of this virtual celebration many events were highlighted as well as the contributions of several brothers who are/were members of the Upsilon Omega Chapter. The 100 Year Centennial Committee was spearheaded by Brothers Anthony Jackson, Ashley Kornegay, and Ramon Trice. The theme “Preserving the Past, Managing the Present and Securing the Future”
was fit for such a celebration as this. Service is a pivotal component of Upsilon Omega’s reason for being. In doing such, members of Upsilon Omega Chapter have given thousands of hours of community service. This is evidenced by the service provided to youth. Through annual youth summits and the Omega Squires organization, brothers invest countless mentoring hours in the development of young men and they pivot to early adulthood.
Upsilon Omega’s “Rhapsody in Black” awards in excess of 20 thousand dollars in scholarships annually. The Chapter also partners with a number of agencies, most notably the St. Louis County chapter of the NAACP to provide food to underserved communities/families.
The Chapter donates hundreds of dollars in coloring books and crayons to St. Louis Children’s Hospital annually.
Native Sons of Upsilon Omega include notable members such as George L. Vaughn, a lawyer and civic leader in St. Louis, Missouri. Brother Vaughn served as the 11th Grand Basileus of the Fraternity. He is best known for representing J.D. Shelley and Herman Willer in the landmark civil rights case Shelley v. Kraemer. Brother Homer G. Phillips led the charge for funding for a new hospital for Blacks in St. Louis and the Homer G. Phillips Hospital, the only hospital for African Americans in St. Louis, Missouri from 1937 until 1979, when the city still had segregated facilities, was named in his honor. Brother Herman Dreer,
8th DISTRICT NEWS - Colorado, Iowa, Kansa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota
an educator, author, historian, and minister, wrote the first History book for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
On January 22nd the Brothers hosted a Reclamation, Retention and Rededication Program as a way to ignite the brothers’ flame to Serve Her Cause for another 100 yrs. That evening highlighted events through each decade from the 1920’s to present day, as well as the charge for the next 100 years. The night ended with rededication led by the 8th District’s most senior District Representative and member of Upsilon Omega, Brother Dr. Lynn Beckwith, Jr., the 16th 8th District Representative.
January 23, 2021, premiered the Centennial video on the Upsilon Omega Chapter’s YouTube channel. The production featured dignitaries from the City of St. Louis, the State of Missouri, the Divine Nine, Upsilon Omega Chapter, the 8th District, and International Headquarters. This integrated component displayed Upsilon Omega at its finest. Some of the highlights included the presentations from the Mayor of St. Louis and numerous Aldermen. Further vignettes highlighted the contributions of famous Omega men who touched City, African American and Omega History. Guest Speakers included the 36th Grand Basileus Bro. Lloyd Jordan, Esq., and 16th District Representative Bro. Dr. Lynn
Beckwith, Jr. Acknowledgements and Congratulations were provided by the city of St. Louis’ first black mayor Bro. Freeman Bosley, Jr., the Superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools Dr. Kelvin Adams, St. Louis County NAACP Chairman Bro. John Bowman, 1st Congressional District of Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush, the current 34th 8th District Representative Bro. Osuman Issaka, and the current 41st Grand Basileus Bro. Dr. David Marion just to name a few. This indeed was a historical weekend for the Brothers of Upsilon Omega Chapter.
The Centennial program can be viewed at the Upsilon Omega YouTube channel
UPSILON OMEGA BROTHERS HELP FIGHT COVID-19 ONE VACCINATION AT A TIME
Saint Louis, MO
February 27, 2021, the Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Upsilon Omega Chapter of St. Louis, Mo., partnered with the City of St. Louis Health department to distribute vaccines to an underserved North City community. The North City community is the footprint in which the Omega Center resides. One week prior to the event, the Vice Basileus, Brother Dr. Derrick Mitchell, received a phone call requesting the use of the Omega Center to administer 2,500 doses of the vaccines. Without reservation, Brother Mitchell contacted the Omega Center’s manager Brother Phillip White, and the Foundation’s President, Brother Craig Lucas, to inquire about the use of the Center, and the potential of partnering with the City Health Department. They unanimously voted to approve
the event. The weather was ideal and the assistance was plentiful from St. Louis Police Department and the Brothers of the Upsilon Omega Chapter.
From 6:30 am until 6:30 pm, the brothers worked relentlessly to ensure we served the community with dignity and pride. There were numerous compliments from the Mayor of the City and the people receiving vaccines. They commented on how professional and caring the brothers were as they served. For example, elderly folk were escorted from their vehicles, given a seat so as not to “stand” in line. Upon check-in, they were escorted from their seats to the first step in the vaccination process. The entire process lasted approximately 20 minutes per person. Phenomenal!
Cars lined both Goodfellow north and Natural Bridge east as far as the eye could see. At first glance, one would believe that the wait was many hours. That was not the case. The healthcare workers were able to vaccinate between 30 and 40 people at a time. Amongst those receiving the vaccine were members of Upsilon Omega Chapter. The first of two shots was administered during the event; the second dose will be administered on March 27, 2021 at the Omega Center.
8th DISTRICT NEWS - Colorado, Iowa, Kansa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota
MU MU NU CHAPTER HOSTS FIRST-EVER QUE UNIVERSITY TRAINING
By Bro. Jeffrey L. Boney
On Feb 6, 2021, Mu Mu Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., hosted its first-ever Que University training. The training was held at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites-Houston North InterContinental, located at 125 W. Airtex Blvd. This inaugural training was open to all Brothers in the Greater Houston area and was attended by roughly 30 Brothers from the Mu Mu Nu Chapter, as well as Brothers from the Eta Mu and Nu Phi chapters.
The focus of the Que University training was to enhance the knowledge of the inner workings of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., as it relates to every Omega Brother in attendance with an adopted concept of one Brother teaching another Brother. Each Brother in attendance was engaged during this interactive knowledge session and gained knowledge and information through the use of practical exercises.
A Que University survey was emailed
on February 6, 2021 to all Brothers who participated in the training, with the sole purpose of gathering insight in order to improve and enhance the overall training and presentation. The survey allowed participants to evaluate the content, the presenters, and the overall effectiveness of the training and the information delivered. Once survey results are compiled, the information will be used to improve the future Que University training and presentations.
BROTHER YOU'RE ON MY MIND
By Bro. Elijah Calloway
The Mighty Ninth District Brothers from Phi Beta Chapter (Jarvis Christian College) and Pi Upsilon Graduate Chapter (Chartered in Hawkins, Texas) organized a surprise wave bye visit to Brother James “Shanghai” Wilkerson.
Brother Wilkerson is a Charter Member of Phi Beta Chapter and was initiated Fall 1971 on the Charter Line, the “Funky 8.” It was a real good day, not only for Brother Shanghai, but for the “souls” of every brother that attended. The Brothers of these chapters participate on our weekly “Wellness Forum” Zoom calls every Friday night, just to check in and see how everyone and their
9th DISTRICT NEWS - Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas
Brother You're On My
Mind, continued families are doing. Brother Wilkerson resides at the Lake West Rehabilitation Home located in Dallas, Texas and he was so very happy to see us. It was a very heartfelt moment not only for him and his family, but for every brother as well.
May the Supreme Basileus continue to watch over our brother and I would ask all to keep the sick and those who are not as mobile and who may need a little assistance from time to time in our prayers. Let’s keep them all uplifted in our daily thoughts. And brothers, lest we forget, your joys are my joys and your sorrow is my sorrow only if we continue to reach out to our brothers through communication will we know. Please be ever so humble to share, Brother you are on my mind.
Isaiah 40:31- “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” “But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
FIRST YEAR OF THE ALAMO CITY OMEGA LAMPLIGHTER
By Bro. Derek Morton
When Psi Alpha Chapter inducted the Alamo City Omega Lamplighters' initial mentoring group on December 8, 2019, the youth had no idea that in a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic would impact the world. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lamplighters have persevered in their mission of academic excellence, service, and brotherhood. The program is composed of twenty boys 6th through 12th grade in the San Antonio, Texas area, under the guidance of founders Chairman Brother Derek Morton, Vice Chairman Brother Reginald Smith, and Advisor Brother Charlie Boyd. The Lamplighters remained resilient not to let the restrictions of COVID-19 adversely affect their academics, service to their community, and bond of brotherhood they have with each other.
When COVID-19 spread across the United States and social distancing restrictions became strictly enforced, the Alamo City Omega Lamplighters continued its mentoring program virtually. Although it took some adjustment, the Lamplighters and the Psi Alpha Chapter mentors adapted to and continued equipping these young men with the tools they need for their transition into Manhood. Virtual events consisted of creating and briefing their 5-year Life Plans; participation in a virtual Racial Inequality, Rights and Policing Forum;
and programs that covered topics including antibullying, sexual harassment, suicide prevention, and spiritual UPLIFT. A month before the Lamplighter's one-year anniversary, a few restrictions were lessened; by November 2020, schools were partially opened and public gatherings were less restricted. Lamplighter President Azarel Hardeman stressed the importance of giving back to the community. He urged that the time to give back is now.
The Lamplighters accepted the challenge to make Christmas wishes come true for youth in the city. They also helped distribute food and supplies to people in need affected by COVID-19. They started with a bike drive, with a goal to collect twenty used bikes in two weeks. They exceeded expectations and collected forty bikes. Earnabike, a charity organization refurbished the used bikes. The bikes were donated as gifts to children at the Blessed Angels Community Center (BACC) and Miller Child Development Center in San Antonio in December 2020. The Lamplighters didn't stop there, they put together over 500 grocery bags that were given away during the BACC Spring Break COVID Relief grocery giveaway. This event was in preparation for the Emergency Food Pantry's efforts to ensure that kids have
9th DISTRICT NEWS - Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas
1st Year of the Alamo City Omega Lamplighter, continued
a hot lunch during their Spring Break. It's very humbling to see these young men, our community's future leaders, sacrifice their time so fellow students can have a hot meal during Spring Break. Their support of these initiatives are only a few of many community service events that these young men participated in. The Lamplighter program teaches them the value of giving back. These young men understand the meaning of service and are pillars in the community.
Psi Alpha continues to be “Bridge Builders” to the young men in the Lamplighters program by upholding its Four Cardinal Principles while instilling the importance Leadership, Academics, Maturity, and Perseverance (L.A.M.P.) into its Lamplighters as they transition into Manhood.
PSI ALPHA CHAPTER AND ALAMO CITY LAMPLIGHTERS COMMUNITY EVENT
By Bro. Vince Hardeman, Derek Morton, and John Cooper
The Omega Men of Psi Alpha Chapter and the Alamo City Omega Lamplighters teamed up with several other organizations to volunteer at the Blessed Angels Community Center (BACC), located in San Antonio, Texas. The occasion was BACC’s COVID-19 Christmas Toy and Bike Drive-Thru Giveaway, Saturday, December 12, 2020. Twenty-eight bikes were collected and donated, while gifts were also donated and wrapped the week leading up to support the event. The news station KABB FOX 29 was present to hold an interview and report on the story. Mrs. Marion Thomas, CEO and Executive Director of BACC, pre-registered families throughout San Antonio who benefited from the toy giveaway.
Also, on December 12, 2020, 122 families received gifts that brought about waves and smiles from 380 children. Their joy and gratitude was displayed on their faces. State and local officials such as Honorable State Representative Steve Allison; Honorable District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry; Honorable Converse Mayor Al Suarez; Honorable Constable Kathryn Brown, Bexar County, Precinct 4; and other distinguished guests congratulated the Omega Men and Lamplighters for their support of this prestigious event. They were impressed by their call to action of “Service.”
The unselfishness demonstrated by the Omega Men and Lamplighters to help families in the community will have a lasting impact on the lives touched by this event. Psi Alpha Brothers continue to be “Bridge Builders” toward its Lamplighters by upholding its Four Cardinal Principles while instilling Leadership, Academics, Maturity, and Perseverance (L.A.M.P.) into its Lamplighters as they transition into Manhood.
BROTHER JOHN D. VEAL, JR. NAMED OKLAHOMA DISTRICT DIRECTOR
Brother John D. Veal, Jr., has been named the Oklahoma District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Brother Veal previously served as the Ninth District Keeper of Finance and is a member of Psi Upsilon Chapter in Lawton, Oklahoma.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce John Veal as Oklahoma’s District Director,” Justin Crossie, Region 6 Regional Administrator said. “I’ve worked closely with John on a number of issues impacting small business owners, including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans that are helping Oklahoma small business ownerses. I know the District is in good hands with John Veal.”
“I am honored to lead the Oklahoma Office and to continue to help start and grow Small Businesses in Oklahoma,” Veal said. “In what is an especially challenging time for Oklahoma’s small business community, I look forward to continuing to help provide services to help entrepreneurs persevere through this pandemic.”
Brother Veal will lead the Oklahoma District team in implementing an efficient and effective strategy that strengthens the entrepreneurial ecosystem and helps small business owners access capital, comprehensive technical assistance, and government contracting opportunities.
Previously, Brother Veal worked in the Richmond District Office as a Supervisory Business Opportunity Specialist, in the Oklahoma District Office as a Business Opportunity Specialist and Veterans Affairs Officer. He is a member of the 2018 Class of the Excellence in Government Fellows Program.
Extensive experience in government contracting and a passion for empowering small business owners led Veal to make a difference with the SBA. He earlier served as the Defense Military Pay Officer at Fort Polk, Louisiana and Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and, as a Business Coordinator with the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center (OSBDC). While with the OSBDC he was recognized as the Region VI and the Oklahoma District Office as the Veteran’s Small Business Champion of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Brother Veal holds a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters of Science in Accounting degree from Oklahoma City University. He is a Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) from the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) and holds the Level I Contracting Certification from the Federal Acquisition Institute. Veal also is a NIGP-Certified Procurement Professional (NIGP-CPP).
Brother Veal is a U.S. Army Veteran, having served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm as the Detachment Commander of the finance detachment. He was a member of the finance corps and retired, after 23 years of service, in 1995 at the rank of First Sergeant. A strong commitment to his community motivates him
9th DISTRICT NEWS - Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas
Brother John D. Veal, Jr., continued
to serve in other capacities. He is a Life Member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is a past treasurer of the Ninth District of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He was named Ninth District Omega Man of the Year and was recently inducted in the inaugural class of the Oklahoma State QUES Hall of Fame for fraternal and community contributions. He is the current President of the Oklahoma State Ques Association and a member of the Ninth District Council. Brother Veal has served in key roles in other community organizations including serving as president of the Society of Case Research, as a member of the Cameron University Foundation, and a trustee for the Comanche County Industrial Development Authority. In addition, he led Leadership Lawton/Fort Sill and served as District 5A governor for AMBUCS, a national charity dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities.
GAMMA RHO CHAPTER HOSTS ANNUAL “FOUR FOR THE FOUNDERS” CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY
By Bro. Dalon Bienemy
Gamma Rho Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., held its annual “Four for the Founders” Christmas giveaway to 4 local families on Saturday, December 19, 2020. Despite COVID-19 and its tremendous impact on many families throughout the community, Gamma Rho, as usual, uplifted several families in the time of need during Christmas. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, it states that, “God loves a cheerful giver.” The brothers, Gamma Rho collected a total of $4,400 and approximately $310 worth of bikes. Big THANKS to the brothers of Gamma Rho.
The families are identified by local child service agencies and by the brothers of the Chapter. Each family will be interviewed by the committee team. Once the four families are identified, they are invited to Gamma Rho Foundation house where they are blessed, uplifted, presented with Christmas gifts.
It’s always a blessing to make a positive impact in the community and the best part is knowing that the kids will wake up with smiles on their faces. Once again, a big THANKS to the brothers of Gamma Rho for their generosity and support in this difficult time.
TENTH DISTRICT VIRTUAL REVIVAL
By Bro. Richard Keller - Chicago, IL
The Tenth District commenced this Year of Our Lord 2021, on a footing of faith in the forefront of all our kindred affections, commitments, goals, and initiatives as we launched our Inaugural Tenth District Virtual Revival via Facebook and YouTube (still available). In times like these we needed to come together to encourage one another, Brothers, families, and friends, as we wrestle not just with flesh and blood but against powers and principalities and spiritual wickedness in high places in our current climate. Following a year of pandemonium amidst the pandemic, we determined not to let Omega’s light of hope flicker as it shines amid despair. It was paramount that we enter this year with a spirit of reflection, restoration, and revival. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalms 119:105).
The Talented Tenth District of Omega answers the Clarion Call as six (6) of our Brother Clergy traversed the travails, travesties, trails, and tribulations of our people in these yet to be the United States of America with messages of hope as they boldly proclaimed the Gospel and enriched our souls from our theme: “PRAYER, PERSEVERANCE, & POWER!”
For three (3) consecutive nights, these “Sons of Thunder,” two each night, rendered prolific preaching supported by the Omega Band, directed by Bro. Vince Davis (Rho Mu Mu). The band members include Bros. Nick Henton and Jermaine Davis (Rho Mu Mu), Bro. Jamal Davis (Epsilon Eta) and Bro. Dudley Owens (Rho Gamma Gamma). Bro. Rev. Dr. Aaron McLeod, Pastor of the Gorham United Methodist Church, Chicago, IL, provided his church as the venue for recording the Virtual Revival. His media ministry facilitated the recording.
The fraternal and spiritual fellowship experienced is reflective of that favorite hymn of the Church: “What a Fellowship, What a Joy Divine” as our Grand Chaplains, both present and past, participated in this Inaugural Revival: Bro. Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson, Grand Chaplain; Bro. Bishop Staccato Powell, Immediate Past Grand Chaplain; and Bro. Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Curry, Past Grand Chaplain, and the order of services and speakers are listed on the next page.
10th DISTRICT NEWS - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin
JUDGE WILLIAM HOOKS: SHOWING THE BRAVERY THAT EXEMPLIFIES OMEGA!
By Bro. Wade Watson - Chicago, IL
On October 2, 2020, one of Omega’s sons quietly stood up for justice in a Cook County courtroom. In that courtroom, a man, accused of murdering a Chicago police officer, was officially declared innocent after serving more than three decades behind bars. Jackie Wilson’s lawyers proved not only that he was framed, but he was also tortured for the shooting of a police officer. Brother William Hooks, the presiding judge, who has served over a decade on the Cook County Judicial Circuit Court, heard 30 years’ worth of evidence. In 2018 Judge Hooks granted Jackie Wilson a new trial because he had been tortured into a confession by a special unit within the Chicago Police Department. Since Wilson’s first appeal in 1989, Cook County prosecutors have argued that there was a central witness in the case who testified Wilson confessed to the police officer’s slaying. This witness was widely known as a fraud and a con. It was not until the third retrial for Wilson in October of 2020 that the case fell apart after a Cook County prosecutor allegedly lied on the stand.
Judge Hooks’ judicial integrity and fraternal integrity walked in harmony and sent forth a resounding message throughout the legal community. This warm and harmonious statement affirmed the historically misrepresented and underrepresented communities of America. Judge Hooks stood firm as a judge and he stood strong as a Black man, compromising neither profession nor humanity. Judge Hooks is in line with the tradition of great legal minds that have served and emerged out of the Sigma Omega Chapter from the last decade. The late great Judge Garnett of Sigma Omega was a highly respected figure in the Chicagoland legal community in the late ’80s and early ‘90s.
Brother Hooks was initiated in Spring 2011 through Sigma Omega Chapter. He is a retired Marine Corps’ Lieutenant Colonel. His legal experience spans more than a quarter century. Brother Hooks has served as an intelligence officer, law school adjunct professor, prosecutor, judge advocate, civil litigator, Cook County Special State’s Attorney, and Criminal Defense Counsel. Brother Hooks has defended persons and/or companies charged with misdemeanors, felonies, and in civil matters as well. Judge Hooks received his A.A. in Law Enforcement from Loop College, now Harold
Tenth District Virtual Revival, continued
Bro. Rev. Jonathan Tennial, M.Div. (Chi Lambda Lambda) “What’s in Your Pot”
Bro. Rev. Rick Jones, Esq. (Gamma Gamma Gamma) “Faith that Looks Forward”
Bro. Rev. Marcus K. Hillie, M.Div. (Nu Omega) “A Talk with The Father”
Bro. Rev. Dr. Aaron J. McLeod, Esq. (Rho Mu Mu) “What is the Value of Your Life’s Work”
Bro. Rev. Leverette Bryant, M. Div. (Iota) “It’s Not As Bad As It Seems”
Bro. Rev. Dennis M. Oglesby, Jr., M. Div. (Theta Kappa Kappa) “In The Name of Jesus”
Our souls were uplifted as these Preachers poured out the Gospel that God supplanted in them. Psalm 133 becomes crystal clear when we come together in that atmosphere for “such a time as this”. We thank The Divine for each of their gifts, time, and tenacity, as they made The Word come alive! What a glorious time all had in The Lord! To God Be Glory!
Washington College in 1973, his B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice from DePaul University in 1975, and his J.D., from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1981. Hooks was the first African American president of Chicago’s Federal Bar Association and is a past president of the Cook County Bar Association, the oldest African American Bar Association in America.
We acknowledge and thank our Fraternity Brother, Judge Hooks, for standing up for righteousness as a Black man, a Judge, and an Omega Man.
BROTHER SHERMANN THOMAS GOES VIRAL TEACHING HISTORY LESSONS ON TIKTOK
ENGAGING THE YOUTH WITH THE RICH HISTORY OF CHICAGO AND ITS BLACK CITIZENS
By Bro. Shermann Thomas - Chicago, IL
This Black History Month, Bro. Shermann Thomas of Omicron Mu Mu chapter, was featured on the front page of the Chicago Tribune and WGN morning news live for his canny and unique take on history. The Chicago Tribune states, “He has a propensity for nodding at the history around him, in the city around him, in the room at his feet.” He goes on to say, “I realize I’m not an average-looking historian, and that’s a good thing, right? I’m an urban historian, I guess. Just trying to engage younger people in history. Maybe it’ll help.” His audience has
varied but is growing, anywhere from about 10,000 to 200,000 viewers per video. And even that’s relatively modest on History TikTok.
When asked what motivated him, he said, “My 8-year-old daughter, Bayleigh, was the motivation. She wanted to learn a dance for TikTok. She wants to get TikTok famous. I told her, look, every kid on this thing is dancing; you have to do something distinctive. And I’ve always been in love with history, so I said, ‘How about I give you cool Chicago facts to say on TikTok. And you’ll have 10,000 followers before you know it!’
‘No,’ she said she wanted to dance. So to encourage her, I did one. And people started leaving me comments to do another.” That first history TikTok was about Jean Baptiste DuSable, the first outside settler of Chicago.
Bro. Thomas, known as Dilla on social media apps, has made TikTok histories on, among others, George Pullman’s contribution to tipping; the founding of Streeterville; the first Black NFL quarterback; the establishment of Black History Month; The Harlem Globetrotters Chicago origin; Harold Chicken’s
10th DISTRICT NEWS - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin
Judge William Hooks, continued
Shack; Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak; “Soul Train”; and the 1920s taxicab wars.
Brother Thomas grew up in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood of Chicago. He went to Calumet High School, just down the street from where he lives now. He also attended Olive-Harvey Middle College. It was there his love of history would be further fostered. Bro. Thomas is an alum of Eastern Illinois University, where he majored in English and African American Studies. In a city known for its violence, Bro. Thomas has gone “viral” by sticking to the cardinal principle of Scholarship. He is hoping to engage the youth of the city of Chicago and instill a sense of civic pride. He also wants to encourage a love of learning by exploring cool facts from the past. The original Chicago Tribune article can be found at www.chicagotribune.com and search tiktok star. He can be found on TikTok @6figga_dilla or Instagram @6figga_dilla. He plans to start Chicago Mahogany Tours, a Chicago-based tour company very soon.
NU OMEGA CHAPTER & TAU MU NU CHAPTER CONDUCT JOINT OMEGA MEMORIAL SERVICE
By Bro. Marcus Hillie - Detroit, MI
On the evening of March 12, 2021, the Brothers of Nu Omega and Tau Mu Nu chapters gathered to observe and conduct a virtual Memorial Service. Due to the global pandemic and out of an abundance of caution, this mandated program did not occur in 2020. Nu Omega chapter has experienced significant loss since 2019; the chapter has seen twenty of our beloved Brothers transition from labor to reward. With this in mind, we thought it imperative that a Memorial Service be conducted this year to honor our dearly departed Brethren.
Brothers from each chapter collaborated on how to bring these sentiments into fruition. They were joined in the planning process by our respective Basili, Chaplains, and Nu Omega's Technology Committee. We were honored to be joined by the families and friends of our fallen Brothers during the broadcast, which exceeded fifty in the number of participants. The men of Nu Omega chapter and Tau Mu Nu chapter exceeded and excelled in the face of adversity, further exemplifying the tenacity inherent in the Brothers from the Talented Tenth District of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
TAU KAPPA KAPPA HOLDS VIRTUAL STATE OF THE FRATERNITY LUNCHEON ON THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EVENT
By Bro. Fred Saffold - Southfield, MI
The Brothers of Tau Kappa Kappa Chapter (Southfield, MI) held their annual State of the Fraternity event (the first ever held virtually) March 6th. Over 500 brothers were in attendance for this historic occasion; nearly every District in the Fraternity was represented. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the event, and the brothers of Tau Kappa Kappa Chapter put on a spectacular program.
Several charter members of Tau Kappa Kappa started this event in 2001; it is modeled after the president's annual State of the Union address. Their intent was to both provide a national perspective on Fraternity affairs to local Omega men, and to utilize the occasion as a reclamation event that would foster a recommitment to Omega and its Cardinal Principles.
The first official State of the Fraternity address was delivered by 36th Grand Basileus, Brother Lloyd Jordan. Every subsequent sitting Grand Basileus has visited Tau Kappa Kappa Chapter and delivered an address at least once. Additionally, many Supreme Council members have attended the event. Because of its size and prominence, the event is a great opportunity to address a large and active base of Omega men. TKK converts the event into a candidate forum during international election years.
Tau Kappa Kappa Chapter's Brother Andre Young, event chairman, also served as the master of ceremony. The lineup of Brothers who spoke during the program was impressive. Tenth District Chaplain Brother Richard
Keller opened the event with prayer and TKK Basileus Brother Kwesi Betserai, brought greetings and welcomed Brothers from all over the county. The program also included comments from Tau Kappa Kappa Chapter Vice Basileus, Brother Derrick Towns; the immediate past 10th District Representative Brother Darryl Jones; the 10th District Director of Public Relations, Brother Fred Saffold; and the 1st Vice Tenth District Representative Brother Sean Long. The 37th Tenth District Representative, Brother Derrick Ivory brought greetings on behalf of the 10th District and gave brothers a summary of the District's current initiatives. Several members of the Supreme Council were in attendance as well.
This year's State of the Fraternity address was delivered by the 1st Vice Grand Basileus, Brother Ricky Lewis. The 1st Vice Grand Basileus spoke broadly on the state of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. “Brothers, the state of our Fraternity is strong” Brother Lewis said several times while addressing the international audience. He spoke of the strategic plan, which lays out the Fraternity's vision, mission, and core values. He also gave Brothers a charge to continue to protect the precious brand of Omega. Brother Grand Lewis spoke on the responsibility to develop our undergraduate Brothers and to reclaim our Brothers back into the fold. Brother Grand Lewis praised local and International Committee chairmen for their tireless efforts in keeping Omega strong and relevant. Also, he sent a special thanks to all the Omega men who are essential workers. Lastly, he encouraged
10th DISTRICT NEWS - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin
attendees to stay mentally, physically, and spiritually strong as we continue to navigate through the pandemic. After the formal presentation, both Brother Grand Lewis and Grand Basileus Dr. David Marion answered several questions from the brotherhood. Dr. Marion acknowledged the State of the Fraternity as the only event of its kind in the entire Fraternity. This writer will add to that by saying that the event is Omega's official State of the Fraternity Address. The event was closed in prayer by Tau Kappa Kappa's Dr. Rev. John Tolbert.
The Brothers of Tau Kappa Kappa Chapter delivered on the promise of hosting a quality event while providing a platform for Omega leadership to update the Brotherhood on the State of our Fraternity. A special thanks to all the Brothers who attended and to our Grand Officer's for providing the updates.
A BLACK HISTORY CONCERT (OUR STORY) FEATURING GRIOT B
On February 26, 2021, Epsilon Xi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., located in Sacramento, CA, hosted its inaugural Carter G. Woodson Black History Celebration. The event was a resounding success. Over 230 people in the community registered and 162 attended. The large numbers were attributed to the event’s unique focus on Black history that perfectly blended Latinx and Asian history and the format that resembled a concert, which infused hip hop music and education. The Chapter put on the event in collaboration with School Yard Rap, a Black-Owned educational curriculum company.
Epsilon Xi Chapter secured Brother Brandon Brown’s services, aka Griot B, a nationally known artist and a 2006 initiate of Iota Mu Chapter. Griot B uses rap music to teach students about the history of people of color.
Griot B’s creative use of music, various wardrobe changes, informational sketches, videos, and educational dialogue entertained and uplifted the audience. He made an impression by performing musical renditions of songs such as, “Mansa Musa,” “Black Made That,” and “Nubian Queens,” to name a few. The material covered subjects from Black Americans’ ancestral roots to current Black American inventors.
A post-event poll showed:
1. 98% of attendees indicated that they learned something new
2. 99% stated that they enjoyed the show.
3. 99% said they would want to attend the event live next year.
The footage of School Yard Rap can be viewed on www.capitolcityques.org website. Griot B School Yard Rap can be found at www.schoolyardrap.com.
12th DISTRICT NEWS - Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
COMPTON COMMUNITY CLEAN AT HISTORIC CEMETARY
By Bro. Nikiah Hawkins
Omega Men took the time to help enhance a part of history in Southern California.
The brothers of Tau Tau Chapter, in conjunction with One Section At A Time and the Compton Veterans, took part in a clean up effort to help beautify the Woodlawn Memorial Park on February 27th.
Woodlawn Memorial Park was established in 1871 as Compton Rural Cemetery and is one of the oldest cemeteries in Los Angeles County. The cemetery was the first to desegregate in Los Angeles. It is the final resting place of 18 Civil War Veterans and has been listed as a Los Angeles County Historic Landmark since 1946. Once a pristine looking cemetery, Woodlawn has fallen into disrepair.
The brothers of Tau Tau Chapter with the goal of providing uplift to the community of Compton took on the arduous task of enhancing the appearance of the 11 acre cemetery by providing supplies and tools, such as trash bags, weed wackers, rakes, paint, and brushes, as well as putting in some sweat equity.
More than 26,800 souls are laid to rest at Woodlawn Memorial Park, including such notables as the founder of the LA Chapter of the Black Panthers, Al Prentice “Bunchy” Carter, and Freeman Davis of Brother Bones fame who famously whistled Sweet Georgia Brown into Harlem Globetrotter history.
Look no further than Pi Chi Chapter (San Francisco) to see how Omega is changing lives and building a better community for all.
Four brothers in Pi Chi hold prominent positions that make them pillars and examples of the best Omega has to offer.
Brother DionJay (DJ) Brookter serves as a San Francisco Police Commissioner.
Brother Bill Scott is the Chief of Police in San Francisco.
Brother Dr. Joseph Marshall was appointed to the Commision on the study of the Social Status of Black Men & Boys by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
ISN'T SIMPLY ABOUT THE PAST WE ARE LIVING BLACK HISTORY IN 2021
Black History Isn't Simply About The Past, continued
Brother Shamann Walton is the first Black man to serve as president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
“The four of us are very close,” Brother Marshall said. “And not only are we close, we’ve been instrumental in helping each other in the positions we are in now. It’s not just that we’re in positions of leadership, it's that Omega Men have helped move other Omega Men into these positions.”
Brother Brookter is on the police commission where Marshall previously served. Brother Marshall was on the commission when Brother Scott was hired. Brother Brookter is also the executive director of Young Community Developers, a position held by Brother Walton before he was elected District 10 Supervisor in San Francisco.
“I’ve had examples of men in the community that exemplify exactly what it is I’m supposed to do and what I’m supposed to uphold,” Brother Brookter said.
These feats are more impressive, given the racial makeup of San Francisco. Census figures from 2019 estimate the Black population to be 5.6 percent.
Each brother sees their role as bigger than themselves and hopes to inspire others.
Brother Walton said the most important part of his job is, “to serve as a vessel to my community and make sure the people coming behind me have opportunities to be successful, especially the young people that look like me. And just like Philmore Graham showed people the way so they could see it, and if they see it, they can achieve it. And like Dr. Marshall always says, the more we know, the more we owe.”
Brother Marshall called his appointment a “culmination” of his life’s work to improve the lives of Black youth.
“To be able to weigh in on the national level and make suggestions about improving conditions for our young men, I’m very grateful,” said Brother Marshall.
Brother Scott’s position is as important as ever, given the increased attention on policing in Black communities.
“It’s a huge responsibility and I don’t take it lightly,” said Brother Scott. “Law enforcement and policing has probably impacted Black people in this country more than any other profession. And it gives me an opportunity to do my part and try and make things better.”
12th DISTRICT NEWS - Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
By Bro. Sean A. Williams
Capoeira Angola is a martial art created by Africans who were enslaved during the Middle Passage and the Trans Atlantic trade in Brazil. The fight was hidden in a dance to disguise the fact that they were learning how to fight against their oppressor. Capoeira is done to music, which is often played on various instruments. The types of instruments typically include bateria (drum kit in Spanish or Portuguese) or a band consisting of 3 bows called a berimbau (an African percussion instrument) a bell or agô-gô, reco reco, a tambourine or pandeiro and an Atabaque or a drum.
With this, songs are sung and it is accompanied by clapping and responses from those who are spectating or participating in the Rosa (circle). This often confused slave owners because their initial thoughts were “the Blacks are dancing” until Capoeira was starting to be used by those who would rebel against those who put them in chains and was labeled a dangerous art. Because of this Capoeira was outlawed, and those caught practicing it would be jailed or even worse—killed.
I have been studying Capoeira since I was 9 years old (1996), and saw the impression it started to have on my self confidence as a growing young man. This boost of self confidence, cultural awareness, and pride in Blackness began to really show in my character, and
this is the same message I wanted to share with my community.
In 2010, I attended the University of Memphis and I branched out in the Memphis streets. I wanted to reach out to the younger generation and teach them what I had learned to love, which was Capoeira Angola. Through this program these children would channel the energy that they would normally use to be mischievous into something constructive. In less than a year's time, children I'd worked with learned how to sing songs in Portuguese, learned the music, movements and history of this art form. They were able to take pride in deviating from the idea that Black people only have a history of passive aggressive behavior. Capoeira tells them a different story.
Capoeira Angola, continued
During the time of oppression, most people turned to church, or meaningless activities because they had nothing left. But Capoeira was a safe haven for those who were reaching for help, and while others tried to change their identities to something else, Capoeira helped to sustain the Black Identity in Brazil and became the only thing that they could believe in. I teach this simply because God gave me this art to help someone find a haven; something that they could call their own. It is important that in this Month of February, Black History Month, that we honor those who came before us, not just those who we can put names and faces with, but also those teachers (in Capoeira we will call them Mestres). Were it not for their teachings and their boldness, arts like Capoeira Angola would be lost. Dare I say “Iê Capoeira, Iê Capoeira De Angola.”
“Friendship is essential to the soul” Is the motto of Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity Incorporated. The sum of all parts strengthens the whole And we consistently exemplify, Why Omega Men are celebrated.
The Founders; Cooper, Coleman, Love and Just; On Howard’s campus in the Science Hall, They were assembled at the right time, As visionary leaders filled with trust, They laid the foundation to install The essence of, lifting as we climb.
We live the 4 Cardinal Principles; Of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, And Uplift, to positively transform. Invictus says we are invincible. When we are steadfast, our appearance, Connotes strength and values above the norm.
The foundation’s strong on Founder’s Day; Purple and Gold surges and multiplies, For Omega Psi Phi is world renown. With brotherhood and swagger we will stay True to a pledge to greatness, sworn to rise, And step through resilience and own a crown.
Copyright © 2019 Orlando
12th DISTRICT NEWS - Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
Brother Orlando Ceaser
SUPPORTING BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN BAHRAIN
By BrOTHER Tracy D. George, 13th District 1VDR - Manama, Bahrain
Navy Support Activities (NSA), Bahrain, celebrated Black History Month with a ceremony featuring performances, poetry, and several guest speakers! The theme, “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,” focused on remembering that from the onset of the slave trade from Africa, Black families were torn apart andevery member was treated as a commodity. **The spirituals heard in the cotton fields arose out of a cry for the nuclear family and a need to deal with the enormous pain of perpetual physical abuse as a result of unimaginable labor conditions. Let us never forget.**
The Diversity Teams from the various commands on base collaborated to create displays honoring unsung African American heroes in recognition of Black History Month. Brother Tracy D. George, 13th District 1st Vice District Representative participated in this event with the Divine 9 (National Pan-Hellenic Council) present in Bahrain. Each Greek letter organization posted a display board with the history of their fraternity or sorority.
13th DISTRICT NEWS - Bahamas, Canada, Germany,
Japan, South Korea, US Virgin Islands and United Kingdom
DELTA NU NUA YEAR IN REVIEW
On December 9, 2019, Delta Nu Nu Chapter was officially chartered as the 979th chapter of this great Fraternity. It is located in the Middle East Region of the world.
The countless efforts and determination of 16 Omega Men, also known as the Middle East Ques, dedicated themselves to make what used to be discussion points become a reality. The hard work and devotion to support the principles of Omega was illustrated in the Middle East by our community involvement throughout the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC). Collaborative efforts from the “Middle East Ques'' in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have set unprecedented notoriety in the GCC by way of the brothers'
social action and community focused events.
During the chartering weekend of Delta Nu Nu the 41st Grand Basileus, Brother Dr. David E. Marion, and members of Omega’s Supreme Council were also accompanied by a delegation of Omega men that represented a cross-section of the Fraternity. The Delta Nu Nu chartering event was held from February 6-9th 2020 in Dubai, UAE.
Since its inception, Delta Nu Nu continues to demonstrate service to the communities and provide positive role models for our youth. The Chapter provided supplies to the Women and Children refugees in Dubai, UAE. This support to the homeless Emirate women and children was welcomed with sincere gratitude. The Chapter promoted Black History Month in Bahrain with a display of our heritage so local communities could understand the African American culture in the United States. The Chapter was instrumental in the Cast Your Vote Initiative, which was an invitation to the US Embassy’s online expert panel discussion for Americans living in the United Arab Emirates. Every Quarter, the Chapter provides clothing to the local shelters in Dubai and Abu Dhabi through contributions from family, friends, and the US Embassy of Abu Dhabi.
With the establishment of Delta Nu Nu, the Middle East Ques continue to support our founding fathers vision and live up to the expectations of service to the United Arab Emirates and surrounding countries of the Gulf Corporation Council.
13th DISTRICT NEWS - Bahamas, Canada, Germany, Ghana, Hawaii, Japan, South Korea, US Virgin Islands and United Kingdom
“THE TRUTH ABOUT HIGH-TECH THAT THEY DON’T TELL US”
MEN OF OMEGA DISCUSS THEIR EXPERIENCES
High-tech has become one of the major sources of economic growth in the U.S. economy for more than a decade. As a transformation and innovation leader, high-tech has impacted how we all communicate, access information, sell and distribute products and services, and address critical challenges across the spectrum, including healthcare, manufacturing, legal, medical, publishing, financial services, sports, etc. Yet, Blacks continue to be under-represented, and several brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. attempt to demystify high-tech and share with you the excitement they feel about the opportunities that exist for more Blacks to pursue careers in hightech and related fields.
An often-asked question is, what are the barriers for Blacks to get into high-tech, whether it is from college, tech school, or a career change. Too many times, we, as Blacks, allow ourselves to be hindered due to our perceived lack of knowledge. There are many high-tech companies that aren't as "popular" as some of the well-known companies,
that are paying well and doing exciting things that allow employees to gain great experience. There are many more high-tech companies other than Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. that are medium-to-large, in size and offer significant opportunities in high-tech.
Employment in high-tech is growing at twice the rate of the national average and these jobs tend to provide higher pay and better benefits, and they have been more resilient to economic downturns than other industries over the past decade. In addition, what many under-estimate and misunderstand is the kind of financial rewards that can be made in high-tech.
According to Brother Jonathan Vaughters, a Spring 1983 initiate from Omega PI chapter, Chapel Hill, NC, it is not uncommon, in high-tech sales to see 6-figure salaries, commission bonuses and 7-figure W-2s. “I’ve personally seen friends, on the software side of high-tech, earn 6-figure commission checks for significant deals they were engaged in
124 The Oracle Editorial
closing, and other colleagues that have grossed 7-figure W-2s in a year, for multiple big deals closed in that year”. But Brother Vaughters cautions, “it takes a lot of commitment, hard work and some luck”. He adds, “it’s nothing that we, as Omega Men, haven’t seen before and we have demonstrated our ability to be successful at whatever we do. Hightech is no different”.
Many high-tech companies are also more inclined to give employees stock (either in the form of options or grants) in the company. This provides significant equity opportunities, but also introduces many people to the stock market, for the first time. High-tech companies, many in growth mode, provide significant incentives for employees to keep up with stock prices, because of the medium-to-long-term financial opportunities, as well as acquisition and divestiture speculation. Additionally, this serves as yet another source and vehicle for retirement planning. Brother Marcus Dawson, a Spring 1997 initiate from Eta Omega chapter, Atlanta, GA adds, “in my 25-year career, I have not seen a more powerful corporate vehicle for Black men and women to not only create generational wealth, while directly impacting communities, and to literally help create the future and leave a lasting legacy”.
In addition, jobs in the high-tech industry have a strong potential for growth. To that end, it is extremely important we encourage the current and next generations to take a good look at high-tech and tech-related industries. Brother John Wilson, a Fall 2015 initiate from Zeta Chi chapter, Ft. Lauderdale, FL offers up that “getting into internship programs beginning their sophomore year in college is a great way to gain the experience needed to have a competitive edge to get into high-tech companies straight out of college.” He adds, “Internship programs exist at entry-level or early career for operations, sales, marketing, engineering, finance, leadership, etc.” In other words, you do not have to major in computer science or engineering to secure a job in a high-tech company.
“I did not have a computer science or high-tech background at all”, Brother Josh Mangana, a Spring 2004 initiate from Gamma Epsilon chapter, Hampton University reflects. “Skills I sharpened by being an active member of Omega Psi Phi, like meeting brothers, conducting meetings, and managing budgets were great assets to get into high-tech sales”. I wish I had known of this career path as an undergraduate, because it really only takes some intelligence and perseverance to be successful.”
The brothers that contributed agree it is important for students interested in high-tech to network with their advisors, professors, and alumni, and take advantage of opportunities that will push them outside of their “comfort zone”. Technology courses can provide valuable insight and present opportunities for internships that can provide important, leverageable information about the industry.
Mauricio Rainey, a Spring 2017 initiate from Theta Kappa Kappa, Evanston, Illinois, emphasizes “as an employer in high-tech, I can tell you that it takes more than just technical talent and technical degrees to successfully manage and deliver hi-tech programs globally.” Rainey has hired liberal arts and business majors, as program and engagement managers, as well as change management agents to ensure the success of high-valued programs, and this has created high-value career paths for non-technical resources within high-tech. Rainey adds, “these roles are extremely valuable to these high-tech companies, and total compensation often exceeds six figures.”
For more seasoned brothers considering making a transition into high-tech, there are steps that can help. Brother Javin Rudolph, a Spring 1995 initiate from Lambda Zeta chapter, University of Virginia, shares that “most high-tech companies offer bonuses to their employees for referrals that get hired. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network for direction and referrals into the companies you are targeting.” Brother Rudolph adds that many platforms have certifications and courses that you can take which will help you be better versed in the terminology of the high-tech field that you are exploring.
Adding to Brother Rudolph’s comments, “I would encourage ALL Brothers interested in a career in high-tech, to leverage their contact(s) within the high-tech industry to help them prepare for the interviews. They can offer keen insight on what their company is specifically looking for and how to best position your skills and experiences to meet their requirements”, states Brother Efrem Z. Stringfellow, a Winter 1985 initiate from Omega Nu chapter, Springfield, IL. Brother Stringfellow goes on to point out, “your contacts in the industry can assist you via mock interviews or preparing a formal presentation for interview purposes as well.” His final words of wisdom, “make
The Truth About HighTech That They Don't Tell Us, continued
sure to “ask the interviewer” prior to the conclusion of the interview if you have provided enough background information to gain their endorsement for your candidacy. What better way is there to address any objections?”
“In addition to utilizing your network, many of the leading hightech companies provide, free-ofcharge, training and enablement resources to prep you for interviews”, adds Brother Imani Scope, a Spring 2013 initiate from Tau Chapter, Atlanta, GA. Brother Scope believes that now is a tipping point for more brothers to break through. Scope emphasizes that “Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion programs are more important than ever, as these hightech companies recognize the value in diversity of thought, experience, and skills. It would be wise for the brotherhood to use this cultural moment to our advantage.”
The opportunities in high-tech exist and are continuing to grow. In the future all companies will be pivoting to high-tech, as well as start-ups by Black men and women. Now is the time for the Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. to “See It Through” and be leaders in high-tech.
For questions or to reach out to the brothers quoted in the article, you can find us on www.linkedin. com in the “Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.” group.
PSI NU KICKS OFF 2021 WITH DISCUSSION ON HEALTH IN THE COMMUNITY
Alexandria, VA - The Brothers of the Psi Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. hosted the second iteration of its virtual community discussion series entitled “Your Power Book” last month. The Your Power Book (YPB) series is designed to engage and challenge the local community, and beyond, on contemporary issues involving popular culture, family life, health, finance, society, education and politics, all through the lens of people of color.
“What better way to begin 2021 than discussing the state of health in the Black community,” said Psi Nu Basileus Brother John Gordon.
Special YPB panel guests were Mr. Mike Christian an IFBB Professional Bodybuilder and nutrition and competition prep coach; Ms. Jillian
By BroTHER Garrett James
Griffith, MSPH, RDN, LDN, a public health nutritionist and dietitian for Giant Foods; Dr. Carmen Proctor, MD, who is an obstetrics & gynecology specialist; and Dr. Kelly Wood, MD, who specializes in internal medicine and is board certified in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism.
Participants left with tips to make 2021 successful, such as finding a good routine to facilitate regular exercise, learning how to shop for tasty, low-cost health foods, and the importance of sleep and mental health on our physical health.
The Psi Nu Chapter invites the public to join future events as well as connect to identify ways that they can support Your Power Book. For more information on the Psi Nu Chapter, please visit www. psinuques.com
The Oracle Health & Wellness
"PELOQUES: FRATERNAL FELLOWSHIP THROUGH FITNESS"
OMEGA PELOTON RIDERS
Living the past year in a global pandemic has brought adversity for all of us. Many active people soon found themselves with an unforeseen challenge – how to exercise while maintaining social distancing protocols. Omega Men are no exception. Thousands of Americans began to seek alternate forms of physical, mental, and emotional exercise through the home fitness phenomenon of Peloton.
Peloton is a revolutionary fitness and media company, renowned for its indoor cycling classes, high-energy instructors, and treadmill workouts. With its popular classes and loyal community, Peloton has become the de facto standard of home fitness. As many Brothers in Omega shifted from gyms and in-person training to the home, it offered a unique opportunity to exercise remotely.
Last November, Brothers Marcus Dawson (4-1997-Eta Omega) and Justin Valentine (2-2007-Xi) had an idea after completing a virtual cycling class - what if there was a Facebook Group dedicated to Omega Men who were also Peloton riders? Both knew multiple Brothers who were Peloton enthusiasts through a community group of fellow Black riders, so the concept made sense. Within the week, they had a Facebook Group created – Omega Peloton Riders - and a hashtag for group rides on the Peloton Leaderboard - #PeloQues.
What started out as an idea for connection has now blossomed into a thriving community of over 225 Omegas from every corner of the country. According to group co-founder Brother Valentine: “With fellowship being a critical aspect of the Fraternity, we wanted to galvanize Brothers through the pandemic with camaraderie, accountability, and support. For men of like attainment, it only made sense. We can compete, challenge, and encourage one another in a healthy manner within the common thread of Peloton. Moreover, we have all met new Brothers through the group who have become friends. This is an amazing platform for us to take the negative of the pandemic and turn it into a positive experience.”
Social media has been instrumental in spreading the word of the PeloQues and the Sunday morning Breakfast Club rides. BrotherRichard Moses (5-1999-Beta Tau) is one of the group’s most active riders and also serves as the Instagram Administrator for the group (IG: thepeloques). “It is an experience like none other. What drives me is we consistently get together in yet another forum of like mindedness. We enjoy one another’s company while getting healthier together. Comorbidities of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes are within our control. We are setting the example for all people of color who see us united on these rides. We set the standard – always have, always will.”
Adding to this notion is Brother Sean Gregory (1-2013-Alpha Iota Iota): “the biggest benefit of the group is the encouragement to see Black men, specifically Brothers, being accountable to one another to maintain health. I don’t want to miss a group ride when I know my Brothers are there. I never imagined being a part of a fraternal fellowship surrounding fitness. This is an entirely new extension of our Fraternity, thanks to Peloton and the facebook group. I’ve developed relationships from the PeloQues that have spilled over to personal connections and even business deals.” Make no mistake, Peloton is not just for young adults. For more seasoned brothers, look no further than
127 TheOracle-Spring2021 The Oracle Health & Wellness
Brother Joe Briggs
Brother Michael Hartman (6-1972-Theta Sigma), who is a consistent top finisher on group rides. “I began as a road cyclist 15 years ago. Spinning on the Peloton provided an avenue to stay in shape without being on the road alone. For anyone seeking to maintain health in a pandemic, Peloton is the easy, convenient answer. You don’t have to go anywhere. Brothers are taking their health seriously – it’s never too early or too late to begin.”
Brother Joe Briggs (3-1999 Epsilon Alpha) is living proof of the results: “The bike provided a necessary outlet to continue my fitness goals. I went from being at the gym five times a week to zero, with limited alternatives. With Peloton, I was provided that outlet within the confines of my home. The group has introduced me to Brothers who share my fitness goals, which has helped me smash through my original goals and keep my fitness lifestyle going to maintain fighting trim.”
Group co-founder Brother Dawson adds: “Omega Men continue to innovate and lead the way. It is no surprise that other fraternities have now followed our endeavor in forming Facebook Groups for Peloton riders. Know that we want to see all Black men, women, and children live long and be well.”
Opportunities still abound for the Men of Omega Psi Phi to fellowship virtually and in a safe manner. To join us, search “Omega Peloton Riders” or the hashtag #PeloQues on Facebook. Thanks to social media platforms and the ecosystem of Peloton, Omega Men will continue to ensure “Friendship is Essential to The Soul” for many years to come.
DEALING WITH GRIEF DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
By Bro. Luis Hines, PhD, LMHC, LPC
Due to COVID-19 (aka the Coronavirus) many of our Brothers have lost loved ones or know someone who has lost someone due to the virus or natural causes. With the pandemic no one has told us how to deal with grief. Grief isn’t just about grieving for a loved one who was lost but it is also about dealing with the uncertainty that millions of people around the world are dealing with as we speak.
During my counseling sessions, many of my clients share that they have lost family members, friends, and co-workers to the virus. And not being able to have funerals and wakes right now due to social distancing is heartbreaking and it presents no closure. A virtual funeral or wake isn’t the same as being able
to grieve the loss of a loved one with your family and friends. Grief and grieving are different for everyone. There is no set time frame or time period that someone will need to get through the loss of a loved one. It can take for some a short time and for others, years. In some cases, there will always be underlying grief.
“Days of joy or Years of pain”
How do you cope with Grief?
Here are some coping mechanisms and reminders Brothers can use or assist someone with during the grieving process: There is absolutely no way I can address this subject without making biblical references to completely circumvent my clinical
interventions to loss, emotional pain and suffering.
For anyone who’s experienced the death of a loved one, either suddenly or after months or years of agonized waiting, there is a tenacious desire to deny reality, a desire that gives way only grudgingly as the minutes and days go by.
When death knocks on the door, some of us become hardened by our losses, while others become softened.
Peloques: Fraternal Fellowship Through Fitness, continued
God uses our grief to cultivate in us tender, understanding hearts. Only days before His own death, Jesus traveled to the grave of Lazarus to comfort his two sisters in their loss. Jesus was not only deeply moved in His Spirit, but He was also weeping with Mary and Martha.
In other words, grief is the painful emotion of sorrow caused by the loss or impending loss of anyone or anything – a person, position, possession, plan, power, or purpose – that has deep meaning to you.
• Grief is a process.
• The deeper the emotional involvement, the deeper the grief.
• Grieving has no set time frame. It can last for months, even years.
• God desires to heal our hearts when they are filled with grief.
“You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” (John 16:20).
The Stages of Grief:
The first reality we have to face – what everyone faces when the shock of death begins to subside – is that the person we loved so much is not coming back. Death is not a temporary vacation. There is no negotiating with death. From the human perspective, death is the enemy and its victory certain.
#1 Denial…….. avoiding the pain of reality.
Denial is the first of the five stages of grief. It helps us survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock. We go numb. Denial and shock help us pace our feelings of grief. There is grief in denial. It is the mind’s way of letting on only as much as we can handle. “So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” (1 Peter 5:10 NLT)
#2 Anger…….. opening up honest emotions.
Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Even though it may seem endless, we must be willing to feel our anger. The more we truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more we will heal. There are many other emotions under our anger, but anger is the emotion we use most to manage life. Truth is, a “grieving” anger has no limits. It can extend to our friends, the doctors, the government, our family, ourselves, and our loved one who died, but also to God. Underneath anger is pain – our pain.
#3 Bargaining…. Attempting to change reality.
Before a loss, it seems like we will do anything if only our loved one would be spared. After a loss, bargaining may take the form of temporary truce. We become lost in a maze of “If only” or “What ifs.” We want life to go back to what it was. We want to go back in time.
#4 Depression…. Feeling despair over the grief and loss.
After bargaining, our attention moves to the present. Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depression is not a sign of mental illness. It is a normal and appropriate response to a great loss. To not experience depression after a death would be unusual.
If grief is a process of healing, then depression is one of the many necessary steps along the way to healing.
#5 Acceptance… coming to terms with the reality of loss. Acceptance is often confused with the notion or idea of being “alright” or “okay” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel okay or alright about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this reality or make it okay, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it. Finding acceptance
Dealing With Grief During Covid-19, continued
may be just having more good days than bad ones. We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new interdependencies. “But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he will not return back to me.” (2 Samuel 12:23)
Source: June Hunt-Biblical Keys of Counseling
Here are some practices to take care of yourself and your community.
1. Be patient. Having a kind and patient attitude toward yourself. Stop “battling.” It’s not a race to the finish and it’s not a war.
2. Avoid blame and move through anger. There’s a natural tendency for humans to look for who’s to blame, but it is also one of the most unhelpful grief processes. It creates bitterness, resentment, and relationship issues regardless of whether the blame is external, internal, or both. Blame is really just our way of distracting from processing grief and imagining that we have control over more than we actually do. It’s important to recognize any tendency to blame, refuse to be distracted by it, be kind to yourself for blaming, and know that if you commit to not blaming, it will pass in time.
3. Cry. We were made to cry. Some people have difficulty crying. That’s ok. You can use music, sad movies, seemingly irrelevant situations that make you emotional, journaling, or anything else that gets your emotions going. The key is to bring to your awareness that even though it looks on the surface like you are crying about a commercial, for example, you are actually grieving the loss of your loved one.
4. Keep going. Yes, taking a break is fine. Yes, withdrawing temporarily may be necessary. But don’t stop living. Engage in the world as you are able and don’t expect the same of yourself as you did before. You are different now and you need to learn about yourself again.
Take care of your mental health.
• Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media.
• Take care of your body.
• Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
• Try to eat healthy, weekly salad, reduce red meats, drink plenty of water and have well-balanced meals.
• Exercise regularly, get plenty of rest and sleep.
• Avoid alcohol and street drugs.
• Make time unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
• Connect with others. Call 4 Brother weekly (Facetime, Zoom, Google DUO).
• Seek a mental health professional for help with anxiety, stress, and depression in your marriage, family or yourself.
Sources: Center for Disease Control and Prevention Elisabeth Kuber & David Kessler: Stages of Grief
A PROFILE IN LEADERSHIP
By Bro. Andrew Mitchell and Bro. Joe D. Briggs
What does it mean to have a dream and accomplish it? Our brother, Dennis Gates (4-13-Chi Omega), may have some idea. As the men’s head basketball coach at Cleveland State University, he recently won the Horizon League Conference Championship and was named League Coach of the Year. This win comes in large part due to the new leadership and direction of our brother.
Originally from Chicago, Brother Gates attributes his current team’s success and his passion for coaching to his mentors that poured into him at a young age. Gates was an outstanding high school basketball player that served as the captain of his team: winning honors for his play and work off the court. When it was time for Gates to pursue his future, he chose to take his basketball talents to the University of California at Berkeley to play for the Golden Bears.
Gates quickly became a leader on the Bears basketball squad on the court and in the books. He would be a two-time selection for Academic All-American honors while also logging playing time in a significant role. He graduated in just three years from that institution in 2001 with a Bachelor’s in sociology but not before showing signs of his future talent. Gates was known for coaching up his teammates on the court. His coach
for the Bears, Ben Braun, recalled Gates suggesting another player take a free throw instead of him because it gave the team the best chance to win.
Gates would continue his growth in life and in education with several stops including spending some time in Tallahassee, Florida, home of Chi Omega Chapter. He would obtain a Master’s in adult education in 2005 from Florida State University while
serving as a graduate assistant in their men’s basketball program. This was his first stint on the coaching staff for the Seminoles under legendary coach Leonard Hamilton. Gates would go on coach for his alma mater, the Cal Bears, and make several other stops before returning to Hamilton’s staff again from 2011 through the 2019 season. During his second stint in Tallahassee, he joined our Fraternity through Chi Omega Chapter in 2013.
132 The Oracle Sports
Gates was later offered the head coach position at Cleveland State University (CSU), home of Phi Theta Chapter, in July 2019. He was tasked with reviving the historic basketball program. To him, this was a golden opportunity to put all the lessons he learned on his journey, both as a coach and an Omega man, into practice.
Gates immediately transformed the CSU men’s basketball program even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. He knew that it would be his responsibility to provide a steady hand on the tiller to help the team persevere the unknown obstacles dealing with this virus. Gates started by assembling the three things he believed necessary to win a championship: a staff that’s unreal, a team that’s locked in, and perhaps most importantly, a vision that is clear and communicated well.
From the early days of his tenure, the CSU ball players knew the cost to be on his team was for them to become champions in the classroom, on the court, and in the community. To achieve this vision, Gates emphasized to them the importance of friendship, accountability and both mental and physical toughness.
As one would expect of an Omega man, Brother Gates keeps his players motivated because he by example. He understands that for many “to be a man, you have to see
a man” and as such tries his best to show his athletes what Manhood looks like by living his creed and pouring into them every single day. According to Gates, the more he has been involved with Omega, the better he has become as a man and as a coach. He reinforced that the Fraternity, through its cardinal principles and lessons, greatly influences how he mentors his players.
Gates is the son of a registered nurse and a truck driver and has often said he is thankful that his parents showed him what hard work looks like. His parent’s example molded him into the best version of himself that he could be. “They passed that mirror to me so that I could hold it up and see the best version no matter what obstacles I had to overcome, no matter what I had to persevere through whether it was on or off the court.” said Gates.
When asked who his examples of leadership have been, Gates named men like Dennis Johnson and Alvin Gentry, former head coaches for the Los Angeles Clippers. In our conversation, he also remembered the examples of George Raveling and Leonard Hamilton, who paved the way for him. “All I wanted to do was see myself just as successful as they were in the business,” Gates reflected with appreciation in his voice. “Coaches put their arms around me and showed me that I was more than a basketball player, but a leader and that I could do anything I put my mind to.” We remain proud of our brother, Dennis Gates, leading and lifting as we climb.
A Profile In Leadership, continued
When we wear the gloves
A Brother has gone from our midst And sailed to golden shores.
When we wear the gloves
A Friend has passed the final test And walks through purple doors.
The circle has an empty place
A Voice will raise no more The song of fellowship and love Uplift forevermore
When we wear the gloves
When we wear the gloves
A Light goes from this earthly life The visor closed again Yet all the heavens open wide To let a new star in.
When we wear the gloves
A Brother leaves the chapter rolls And moves to other worlds For when we say our last goodbye He walks on streets of PearlS.
When we wear the gloves.
by Brother Dr. Carver A. Portlock
BROTHER DONALD R. LEE BROTHER DR. JORGE ALFREDO "CHICO"ARENAS
It is with deep regret and profound sadness that I inform you that Brother Donald R. Lee, initiated in 1973 through the Omicron Psi chapter, passed away suddenly on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 .
Brother Lee worked for the International Headquarters of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. for years as a contractor before coming on board as an employee in 2013. He was on staff working as Omega’s history and archives curator at the time of his death.
The staff at the International Headquarters is filled with immense grief after receiving this heart-breaking news. Don was family. I’ve focused my efforts on providing whatever assistance I can to the immediate family members. They made it safely to Georgia from Texas to be by Don’s side during his transition.
Thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers.
Born June 2, 1939, Brother Dr. Jorge Alfredo “Chico” Arenas entered Omega Chapter on Saturday, February 6, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia from complications of COVID-19. A native of Cuba, Chico was initiated into Omega via Sigma Alpha Chapter on July 17, 1971. He excelled in the sport of baseball. He spent nearly all his free time, outside of school and church, honing his skills in a number of positions. With the political unrest brought on by the Castro regime in the early 1950s, Chico and his family were forced to flee to the United States to escape political persecution. The move led to Chico eventually playing professional baseball with several Negro American League (now Negro Major League) teams, before National League teams were fully integrated in 1959.
Upon retiring from professional baseball, Chico enrolled at Florida A&M University (FAMU), earning his Bachelor’s of Science degree. It was at FAMU that he not only earned his degree, he met his first wife, Maria, who Chico would often say was the “smartest woman in their house.” Having witnessed the inequities experienced in his native Cuba, Chico soon enrolled in medical school at the University of Cincinnati. He completed medical residency in Miami, Florida, where he settled his family, which had grown to two daughters and a son. As a young doctor, Chico immediately put his knowledge and skills to work for
the poorest and most under-served. First, in the Liberty City community of Miami and later, a Cuban clinic in Hialeah. Throughout his professional career, Chico remained a community physician with a heart for the disenfranchised and those neglected by larger health systems. It was through his work that his clinics received federal funding to expand services to those experiencing substance abuse and mental health disorders, which was rare at the time. Brother Arenas also managed health services for the juvenile court system within the state of Florida, which directly tied to his affinity of mentoring youth through the sport of baseball and other physical activities. After his first retirement in 2000, Chico organized another community clinic under the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and remained there until his second, and final retirement, in late 2018. After this retirement, he and his second wife, Marcia, relocated to the Atlanta area.
In Omega, Chico served as the first Chief of Staff to a sitting Grand Basileus when he served under 35th Grand Basileus, Dr. Dorsey C. Miller from 19941998. During his tenure, Chico traveled extensively with Grand Basileus Miller and became a fixture at Conclaves as a Master Sergeant at Arms and similarly within the tourism industry, as no nonsense when it came to negotiating contracts for Omega district and international meetings. As those who worked closely with him can attest, it wasn’t uncommon for Chico to walk into a hotel room, remove his shoes, and jump on the bed to test the quality of the mattress. There were also numerous instances I recall of Chico demanding the hotel provide a dish of everything on their menu to ensure the food was up to the standard of the brothers. If it wasn’t, he would insist on meeting the chef and explaining how we liked our food prepared. This, of course, was after he had negotiated the property down to a bare-bones price on everything from rooms, parking, and food. Chico and I often used our distinct personalities to Omega’s advantage; he used his charm and outgoing spirit to negotiate favorable pricing, then I stepped in to ensure the contract was codified to Omega’s benefit. In the process of traveling, our friendship grew from strict talk of Omega business toregular phone calls to talk about life in general. Whether it was politics, family, our shared Catholic faith, or just to check-in on the other to ensure all was good, Chico was the embodiment of a
“Friend” to me and many other brothers. A “Que’s Que,” there was no pretense about him. There are generations of brothers who likely didn’t know Chico was even a medical doctor, as he would generally refer to himself as Chico and didn’t seek the spotlight. I join scores of brothers in celebrating the life of our stalwart brother, Dr. Jorge Alfredo “Chico” Arenas, MD. We know he’s ensuring the meetings of Omega Chapter are well-run and efficient.
BROTHER VERNON E. JORDAN, JR., ESQ.
Brother Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Esq. entered Omega Chapter on March 1, 2021. He was initiated into Omega through Kappa Omicron Chapter on December 16, 1956 and was a Life Member of the Fraternity.
A Civil Rights leader and Washington power broker, his private counsel was sought in the highest echelons of government and the corporate world. A graduate of Howard University School of Law, and DePauw University, he was a civil rights activist and corporate icon. He served as the Georgia State Director of the NAACP, Executive Director of the United Negro College Fund, and President of the Urban League all while in his 30's. He went on to be a Counselor to Presidents Clinton and Obama and sat on many Corporate Boards. He was a philanthropist and activist until the end.
BROTHER randolph “randy” thompson
Brother Randolph "Randy" Thompson transitioned to Omega Chapter on August 7, 2020. Life member #1528, he was initiated at Morgan State College, Pi Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated in December 1951.
Educated in Baltimore public schools, Brother Thompson graduated from Dunbar High School and earned a Bachelor's degree from Morgan State College (now University) with honors in 1955. He was also inducted into the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society in 1952. Brother Randy C. Thompson served in the United States Army from 1955-1957 earning the rank of Lieutenant. He also served with the 11th Airborne Division in Germany. Following his service Bro Thompson matriculated to receive a Master's degree at Western Michigan University in 1969, and a Master's degree from American University in 1970.
Professionally, Brother Thompson worked as a dedicated Educator in Baltimore City. Beginning as a teacher at Lemmel Jr. High School, then 10 years teacher at Edmondson High School, next he worked as a school Counselor at Edmonson High and Mergenthaler Voc-Tech High School.
He was promoted to the Dept Head of the Guidance department at Mervo High School. He completed his professional work as the Assistant Principal at Dunbar High School from 1978 to 1992. Almost 35 years of service to our youth and the education community in directing and supporting the lives of our children.
Fraternally, he held the following positions with our fraternity, Chapter Member at Large, Chapter Social Action Chairman, Achievement Week Committee Chair, and Chapter Talent Hunt Chairman, and served the five state District Social Action Chairman. He was a life member of the Morgan State Alumni Association. Even so, Bro. Thompson still had time to teach church school for 14 years at Epworth United Methodist Chapel, served on the board for the Liberty Road Development Corporation, a board member of Essex Community College Nuclear Medicine program. He set up a scholarship fund for teenage mothers at Dunbar High in memory of his mother Ms. Magaline Thompson, and worked with the Dunbar High School Alumni Association's Foster Grandparent program.
BROTHER HAROLD PETTAWAY
Bro. Pettaway –Initiated 1951 Alpha Chapter Howard University. A Charter Member of Lambda Rho chapter. Bro. Pettaway, 89 years old, was initiated into the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity through Alpha Chapter at Howard University in the fall of 1951. Following his undergraduate years, he enlisted into the Army where he became an officer and also obtained his Master’s from Southern Connecticut State University. He made his journey back to his home base of Waterbury, CT where he served as an educator in the public school system for 33 years. Exemplifying the cardinal principles, he was a charter member of Lambda Rho Chapter in 1964, in Waterbury, CT. In 2019, he was recognized as the chapter’s Omega Man of the Year for his commitment to duty and service. Bro. Pettaway loved family more than anything. During his homegoing services, he was eulogized by his nephew as someone who would give you anything you asked for, as long as you worked for it. Bro. Pettaway is survived by his wife, son, two daughters and a host of other family members. Served in many capacities in the Chapter. He lived and served in the Waterbury Community for many years. Bro. Harold J. Pettaway entered Omega Chapter on July 24, 2020
BROTHER KEON L. FELIX
Bro. Felix was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. through Xi Psi Chapter on April 1, 1976, and a member of Chi Gamma Gamma Chapter in Marietta, GA. He resided in Marietta GA. He was a proud member of Eta Phi Chapter. Brother Kerwin Leon Felix entered into Omega Chapter on January 6, 2020.
BROTHER BRUCE DANDRIGE
Bro. Dandrige was born on February 6, 1951. He attended Boston University’s College of Engineering. Bruce returned to Philadelphia where he was employed in government for a short time. Bro. Dandrige was a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. having been initiated through Gamma Chapter on April 23, 1969. He entered into Omega Chapter on January 7, 2020.
BROTHER VERNELL BAKER
Bro. Baker was born in Hartford, CT. on May 17, 1958. He has received several citations, awards, and recognition for his leadership, passion, and social and community impact. For over 40 years, Vernell dedicated his love and energy in service to Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He served as Basileus of Eta Phi Chapter from 20042007. He was Omega Man of the Year in 2006, and received a Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Achievement Award in 2010. Brother Vernell Anthony Baker entered into Omega Chapter on September 11, 2019.
BROTHER ALBERT KEAL
Bro. Keal was born on August 18, 1951 in Louisiana. Bro. Al was a proud member of Omega Phi Phi’s Eta Phi Chapter, initiated in 1987. He was a Life Member of the Fraternity and a Chapter Life Member of Kappa Phi Chapter in Milwaukee, WI. During his tenure in the 1st District, he held several positions including District Keeper of Finance. Bro. Keal entered Omega Chapter on January 2, 2019.
BROTHER DR. CLIFFORD BERNARD JANEY
Bro. Dr. Clifford Bernard Janey was born in Boston on June 28, 1946, Cliff received his doctorate in education policy, planning and administration from Boston University in 1984. At the beginning of his career, he was a teacher, middle school principal, and area superintendent in the Boston public schools. Bro. Janey was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity through Gamma Chapter in 1966. Brother Dr. Clifford Bernard Janey entered into Omega Chapter on February 13, 2020.
BROTHER GEORGE LIVINGSTON SAUNDERS, JR.
Bro. Saunders was born on October 5, 1944 in Vallejo, CA. He was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. through Gamma chapter in 1965. He held numerous leadership positions in the fraternity including Basileus. Bro. George Livingston Saunders, Jr. entered Omega chapter on March 10, 2019.
BROTHER BURTELL N. FORREST
Bro. Burtel N. Forrest was born on December 25, 1958 and initiated into the fraternity through the Alpha Nu Chapter on April 14, 1990. He was a life member, serving Omega proudly and with distinction in a number of positions, including Basileus. Bro. Forrest served in the U.S. Army, was commissioned a U.S. Army Field Artillery Officer and retired at the rank of Captain. Bro. Forrest was a decisive and dynamic Executive, Construction Project Manager and Engineer who worked on several projects for the New York City Transit Authority, City of Stamford, CT, New York Prison System, Northeast Utilities and Cushman & Wakefield. Bro. Forrest entered Omega Chapter on April 8, 2020.
BROTHER REV. DR. MICHAEL HAYNES
Bro. Haynes was born May 9, 1927 in Boston, MA. He was initiated on January 5, 1960 as a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Iota Chi Chapter. He became the pastor of Boston’s historic Twelfth Baptist Church in 1964, and he led the congregation for 40 years. Bro. Haynes also served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1965 to 1968, representing Roxbury. Bro. Haynes played an active role in the civil rights movement and in 1965 he helped plan Martin Luther King Jr.'s entrance into Boston when he came to speak at the Boston Common to address school desegregation in Boston. Bro. Haynes entered Omega Chapter on September 12, 2019.
BROTHER DR. CLARENCE “JEEP” JONES
Bro. Dr. Clarence Jack “Jeep” Jones was born April 17, 1933 in Boston, Massachusetts in Lower Roxbury. Bro. Jones was initiated into Iota Chi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity on January 5, 1960. He later worked as a youth probation officer in the juvenile court system, as a beloved basketball coach, as a youth activities coordinator for the City of Boston, and later became Boston’s first black Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Boston Redevelopment Authority for 24 years.
Bro. Jones was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service from Northeastern University in 2005. Clarence “Jeep” Jones Park was named in his honor and opened in Roxbury in 2010. Bro. Jones entered Omega Chapter on February 1, 2020.
BROTHER KEITH S. MATHEWS
Keith S. Mathews was born on August 23, 1958. An East Providence native, he graduated from Boston College where he was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. through Gamma chapter on April 9, 1978. Bro. Mathews went on to serve in various roles within Omega. Two most prominent roles were Basileus –Sigma Nu chapter and Director of Public Relations – 1st District. When the call was made to reactivate Gamma chapter, Bro. Mathews answered with support and finances. He served in Gamma chapter until his entrance into Omega chapter on February 5, 2020.
BROTHER DR. RICHARD MULLINS
Bro. Dr. Richard Mullins was a long-standing member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. He was initiated through Gamma Chapter in the spring of 1962. He served as Basileus, Social Action Committee Chair and an active member of many other committees while in Boston. Dr. Mullins entered Omega Chapter on May 3, 2020.
BROTHER ROBERT HENRY PARRIS III
Bro. Robert “Bobby” Henry Parris, III was born March 29, 1939 in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended North Carolina Central University on a four-year track scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1963. Bro. Parris started his career at the Norfolk State Prison and became the first African American Probation/Parole Officer in Massachusetts with the United States Federal Probation and Parole office in 1967. He was initiated on November 1, 1969 and was a proud member of Iota Chi chapter. Bro. Parris entered Omega Chapter on October 4, 2019.
BROTHER BLAKE EDWARD MATHEWS
Bro. Blake Edward Matthews was born August 8, 1984 in El Paso,Texas. Brother Matthews was a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., having been initiated at Boston’s Eta Phi Chapter on November 4, 2006. Brother Blake Edward Matthews entered into Omega Chapter on August 24, 2019.
BROTHER GAYTON B. YANCY
Bro. Gayton Henry Basil Yancy, born January 16, 1928 in Fayetteville, NC, transitioned to Omega Chapter on September 18, 2020. Bro. Yancy was initiated through Theta Epsilon Chapter in 1958. He later graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Bachelor of Arts in Russian. Soon after, he married the love of his life, Janice Rawlings, a native of Rumford, RI and together, they raised four children in Medfield, MA. Bro. Yancy also earned an MBA from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. He was an engineer who worked for Raytheon and AT&T. Highly charismatic and engaging, Bro. Yancy was known for his great sense of humor, bright smile, contagious laughter and resonant tenor voice. Throughout his rich and full life, he remained active in his local Episcopal church, Toastmasters and his beloved fraternity.
BROTHER ROME RIDDICK BROTHER COL. RONALD A. COPES
Bro. Rome Riddick was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Fall 1999, through Tau Iota Chapter. He was the Keeper of Records and Seal of Lambda Rho Chapter. He live and served in the Waterbury Community. He entered Omega Chapter April 24, 2020.
BROTHER DR. FREDERICK TILLIS
Bro. Dr. Frederick Tillis, crossed Pi Theta 1947 on the campus of Wiley College. Dr. Tillis was a composer, musician, poet, professor and university administrator. In addition, he was a husband and father, a veteran of the United States Air Force, and taught at Wiley College,
BROTHER RAYMOND E. TILLERY, SR.
Bro. Raymond E. Tillery Sr. transitioned to Omega Chapter on October 14, 2019. Bro. Tillery was born on March 31, 1936 in Baltimore Maryland. Bro. Tillery was initiated through the Mu Iota Chapter in 1977. Bro. Tillery was a life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and he was a former trustee at Second Baptist Church in Columbus, OH. Bro. Tillery had a 26-year career as a trainer and supervisor with Western Electric, which later became AT&T and Lucent Technologies.
Col. Ronald A. Copes (Ret.), crossed Eta Sigma 1960 on the campus of Lincoln University in Missouri. Bro. Copes was a highly decorated US Army Colonel and Vietnam veteran, a VP at Mass Mutual and an Omega Life Member. In addition to being a devoted husband and father he was also a Representative for the Omega Credit Union and a District Marshall of the 12th District. Bro. Copes entered Omega Chapter on April 7, 2020.
BROTHER DAVID W. “HEDO” ROBINSON
Bro. Robinson was born August 8, 1964 in Brooklyn, NY. He was a proud member of Omega Psi Phi’s Tau Iota Chapter, initiated in 1986, returning Omega to the campus of Wesleyan University. He
BROTHER DR. JAMES C. HOGAN
Dr. James Carroll Hogan Jr. attended Morehouse College at the age of 16 with a major in biology and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in science education from Albany State University in 1961. Thereafter, he taught elementary and high school in Sparta, Georgia until 1966. He received a Master of Science degree in biology from Atlanta University in 1968, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in biology from Brown University in 1972.
Dr. Hogan came to Connecticut in 1972 as Postdoctoral Fellow in the Biology Department at Yale University and was later appointed as a Research Associate in Pathology at Yale School of Medicine. He subsequently took a position at Howard University School of Medicine in 1976. Dr. Hogan joined the University of Connecticut (Storrs) in 1978 to implement one of Dr. Frederick J. Adams “Special Visions”, a workforce development project aimed at increasing the number of minority students pursuing careers in the health professions. He developed and implemented the Health Science Cluster Program (HSCP), a summer enrichment program for high school students throughout the state who came to the UConn campus to study science and math. From 1978-1986 the HSCP and other initiatives he developed while at the UConn Health Center attracted many minority student participants. He was also an Assistant Professor at the UConn School of Allied Health, and subsequently became Director of Minority Student Affairs at the University of Connecticut Health Center's School of Medicine and Dental Medicine (Farmington).
He is listed in Who's Who in the East, Who's Who in Technology, Who's Who Among Black Americans, and Who's Who in the World. He is included in the second edition of 2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 20th Century, sponsored by the International Biological Center of Cambridge, England.
Dr. Hogan was a founder and past president of the Black Health Professionals Network (Hartford), the Connecticut chapter of the National Technical Association, and the North Haven Association of Black
Citizens. In 1993, Dr. Hogan became the first AfricanAmerican to be elected to the Board of Education in North Haven, Connecticut, where he gracefully served until 2010.
Dr. Hogan was a lifetime fraternity member of Omega Psi Phi, Chi Omicron chapter. He originally became a member of the fraternity when he attended Morehouse College and went on to start the first Omega Psi Phi chapter at Brown University in 1970. He served as basileus in the New Haven chapter for a number of years. Bro. Hogan entered Omega Chapter on January 22, 2021.
BROTHER Eugene Davis
Brother Eugene Davis entered Omega Chapter on Saturday, December 26, 2020. Brother Davis was born in Detroit, MI on September 30, 1961. He attended Grand Valley State University where he was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., in Fall 1982 through the Iota Pi Chapter, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He later joined Nu Omega Chapter in Detroit, Michigan. Brother Davis worked in package delivery and supply chain management and was retired from United Parcel Service. Brother Davis was an active member of Nu Omega chapter until his transition.
BROTHER STANLEY PITTMAN
Brother Stanley Pittman transitioned to Omega Chapter on April 1, 2020. He was initiated into Omega through Lamda Nu Chapter in Franklin, Virginia on March 14, 1992 and later transferred to Alpha Iota Chapter in Suffolk, Va. There he served as Basileus, ViceBasileus, Chaplain and various committee chairs. He also served as Vice President of the Nansemond Suffolk Unit of the NAACP. Brother Pittman retired from the Western Tidewater Detention Facility after serving 26 years as Unit Manager.
BROTHER RICK JARVIS, JR.
Richard C. Jarvis, Jr., was born in Cambridge, MA, to Mary Ann Jarvis and the late Richard C. Jarvis, Sr. He attended Shady Hill School, Cambridge Public School, Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, where he played with Patrick Ewing, and Fisk University, where he crossed the burning sands on November 27, 1982 to become a proud member of Eta Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., serving as Chapter KRS from 1983-1984, and Dean of Probates of the 1984 “Psychotic 7” line.
Rick continued his basketball career at Fisk University, and in becoming an Omega Man, he cultivated the beliefs of the fraternity: Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift—stepping stones for him to later earn a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. After returning to Massachusetts, Rick became a member of Eta Phi Chapter of Boston, MA, where he supported EVERY program.
Rick later became a member of Iota Chi Chapter of Cambridge, MA, where he enthusiastically fellowshipped with the Brotherhood and spearheaded the Brunch and Ball Cambridge Youth Mentorship Program.
He is remembered as a Brother who could always be counted on, and as a tried and true Friend. He never wanted to get away from you, he wanted to get nearer. Rick had an earnest ability to focus closely in the moment on what you were saying, what you were sharing. A leader in his community, Rick was an incredible husband, father and friend. He had a talent for friendships and enjoyed life to its fullest as an avid fisherman, jazz music lover, bicyclist, and woodworker.
His many mentees would say, “He was the blueprint,” for the example he set in serving his community. He touched the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. And yet, if asked, Rick would consider his greatest achievement to be his family. He instilled in each of his children a love of music, fishing and an appreciation of the outdoors. His children are a testament to his legacy. He guided them to become contributors to their community, pursue educational excellence, and to embrace every achievement with humility and grace.
BROTHER LTC (RET.)
MICHAEL BRIAN FLEMING
Brother Fleming entered Omega Chapter on November 20, 2020. He graduated from Norfolk State University with a B.S. degree and was a member of the Army ROTC Spartan Battalion. After graduation he was commissioned as a Signal Officer in the U.S. Army and served his country both overseas and abroad for more than 24 years. With a keen awareness of Scholarship, Brother Fleming also earned a Master of Acquisition degree from Florida Institute of Technology in 1995.
He was initiated into the Fraternity through Pi Gamma Chapter in 1979 and during his various military assignments, and into retirement, he continued his service to Omega Psi Phi for more than 41 years with his last chapter being Psi Kappa Kappa Chapter in Huntsville, Alabama where he served as the President of the Youth Friendship Foundation.
BROTHER HAROLD THOMAS
Brother Harold Thomas Sr. entered Omega Chapter on December 14, 2020. He was initiated into Omega through Kappa Psi Chapter on October 26, 1957. Brother Thomas was a family man, civil servant, service man, lawyer, and educator. He served in the Cabinets of Mayor Marion S Berry in Washington, DC, and President Jimmie Carter. He was appointed Executive Secretary of the DC Board of Education and later Executive Director of Center City Consortium of Schools. He was a graduate of Talladega College and Howard University School of Law. He was active in his church and local community. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Ann, of 55 years, his two children and a host of other relatives.
BROTHER JOHN MITCHELL WILLIAMS
Brother John Mitchell Williams entered Omega Chapter February 19, 2021. He was initiated into Omega through Tau Lambda Chapter (Old Dominion University) on April 17, 1982. Born in New Kent County Virginia Bro Williams carried out his life's work in "The 757" of southeastern Virginia. Bro Williams was an independent Insurance sells when credited with starting his own agency.
He leaves behind to cherish his memory wife, Carolyn and their two daughters. He will be missed by the Brothers of Gamma Xi and the "757"!
BROTHER ROBERT EDMONDS
Brother Robert Edmonds entered Omega Chapter on December 15, 2020, at the age of 99. He was initiated at Nu Psi Chapter (Virginia State University) on December 16, 1946. Born in Kenbridge, Virginia. Bro Edmonds was active in Alpha Omega and the Third District until Covid-19 restricted his movements in March of this year. He was a frequent “Founders Stand In” at Northern Area l Annual Founders Day Celebration at Howard University. Brother Edmonds, a life member, was active till the end. He was surrounded by 3 generations of Edmonds at 2019 Alpha Omega Mardi Gras and Founders Day just prior to the Pandemic.
He was predeceased by his parents, Pattie Edmonds and George Edmonds of Washington. He is survived by his daughters, Robin Hudson (Floyd) and Wendy E. HicksPowers (Ronald); his grandsons, Floyd Hudson, III (Tia), Robert Hudson (Kelsey), Thomas Hudson (Kelci) and Steven Hicks (Jada); and his great grandchildren, Floyd Hudson, IV, Dylan Hudson, Braydon Hudson, Myles Hudson and Isley Hicks.
BROTHER DAVID R. MITCHELL
Bro. David R. Mitchell transitioned to Omega Chapter on October 21, 2020. Bro. Mitchell was born on December 28, 1953 in South Carolina and was a graduate of Wilberforce University in Wilberforce Ohio. Bro. Mitchell was initiated through the Upsilon Chapter in 1972 and was a life member of the Fraternity. Bro. Mitchell served as an active servant of the Lord as a Trustee at the Central Bible Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio. He retired from the Kmart Corporation, and he was the manager of the City of Cleveland Cemeteries.
Email Oracle Omega Chapter submissions to your respective District Director of Public Relations (DDPR). See Inside Front Cover for names of DDPR's
BROTHER ROBERT “RUB” HOWARD, SR.
A Sturdy Tree in the Omega Forest has fallen. Brother Howard was the 16th Third District Representative, 1986-1987. He was a constant fixture in the Third District, the DMV and Omega globally. He was a committee member for both the 75th and Centennial celebrations of the Fraternity. He was a Life Member of the Fraternity. He served as a Deacon of the 1st Baptist Church of Glennarden. Howard had an infectious smile and a willing spirit to mentor and uplift. He leaves to cherish his memory Jackie, his wife of 60 yrs and four children including Bro. Robert Jr. (82 Nu Psi)
On February 20, 2021, Brother Robert Warren Howard, Sr., departed from this world to rest in the arms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Truly, a great and sturdy tree has fallen, but his memory will live on with his Brothers forever. Brother Howard (referred to by his fraternity brothers as “Rub”) was initiated into the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. on April 14, 1956 by way of Nu Psi Chapter, Virginia State College (now Virginia State University). Brother Howard joined Kappa Psi Chapter of Omega which was an Intermediate Chapter in Washington, DC before affiliating with Alpha Omega Chapter in DC. He was a consistent and active member of Alpha Omega Chapter for decades. He served on various committees as a member of Alpha Omega. One of his most significant committees he served on was the Social Action Committee where you could find him often times mentoring young men who lived across the street from the fraternity house. Rub was also one of the original Brothers who was involved with a joint program with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Self Awareness Self Esteem (SASE) where he served as Co-Chair. Brother Howard also served on the local committee for the 75th Anniversary Grand Conclave held in 1986 in Washington, DC as well as on the local committee for the Centennial Grand Conclave also held in Washington, DC. On the District Level of Omega, Brother Howard served as a workshop presenter for various District Meetings. He also served as Northern Area 1 Supervisor, Chairman of the Recommendations Committee. He served the Third District as 1st Vice District Representative before
being elected as the 16th Third District Representative in 1986 and served through 1987. As District Representative, he was the Third District Representative during the 75th Anniversary Grand Conclave. On the International Level, he served on the Supreme Council of the Fraternity. Another accomplishment of Brother Howard was he received his Life Membership and holds Life Membership Number 1199. Professionally, Rub was an educator and business management consultant. He was also an avid marathon runner and hunter. He enjoyed playing golf at the historic Langston Golf Course in Washington, DC. Brother Howard was truly a Brother and man of faith, where he served as a Deacon in his church. Brother Howard Sr. is survived by his Wife of nearly 60 years, Jackie (a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.), son and Brother Robert Jr. (Nu Psi 1982), his daughter Cheryl (a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.), and twin sons Stephen and Stewart, Tommy (Monica) and Staci (Vincent), two brothers, Charles (Delores) and Morris, two sisters-inlaw, Kathleen Hughes and Jessie Barnes. Grandchildren: Ryan, Corey, Erica (Zakiel), Nina, Trenton, Tayhlor, Jasmyne, Jaylen, Jordan, Gabriella, Aaron and two great grandchildren: Noah and Levi, as well as a host of relatives and friends. His spirit will continue to live in the hearts and minds of all who knew and loved him.
BROTHER raymond williams
Brother Raymond Williams, Sr., entered Omega Chapter on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. Bro. Williams was born in St. Louis on November 27, 1926. He attended Stowe Teachers College where he was initiated in 1949 at Omicron Sigma Chapter in Saint Louis, Missouri. Brother Williams was drafted into the Army and later became a candidate for the Tuskegee Airmen. He married Frances Catherine Randle and had two children. During his Omega years he had the opportunity to witness and experience several Fraternity milestones, including the 50th, 75th, and centennial anniversaries, as well as the entry of the last three Founders into Omega Chapter. The Legacy Brotherhood of Sigma Omega Chapter presented Brothers. Williams with his seventy (70) year service award in May, 2020.
BROTHER TIMOTHY E. FRANCIS
Bro. Timothy E. Francis was born on March 7, 1970 in Washington, DC and transitioned into Omega Chapter on November 27, 2020. Bro. Francis was initiated through Alpha Omega Chapter on December 17, 2011.
It was always Tim's dream to follow his father's footsteps and become a police officer. He started that journey with the Fairfax County Police Department. Shortly after that, he joined the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in 2000. During his 20 years of service, Bro. Francis progressed to the rank of Detective last assigned to the Homicide Branch. During his distinguished career, he received many awards and acknowledgements, even commendations from the US Attorney's Office.
Amongst those high honors, he received a Medal of Valor and a Medal of Honor to commemorate his exceptional bravery and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty. As a detective, Tim worked on nearly 400 investigations.
Bro. Francis served as a Keeper of Peace and on the security detail for events, activities, and programs. He was a proud and dedicated father. He enjoyed a life rich with family and friends and his love for them was his most cherished possession.
Timothy leaves to celebrate his life and cherish precious memories three sons: TaVon Dakarai, James Timothy and Chase McKinley; two daughters: Ayiana Dashia, Kennedi Lilise; mother, Susan Wood-Francis; brother, Kevin J. Francis; step-mother, Sharon Francis; step-brother, Curtis Plater and step-sister, Ciara Broadus, along with a host of nieces, nephews, family, friends and coworkers.
BROTHER MARION LEROY “BARNEY” BARNWELL
We are saddened to convey that Brother Marion “Barney” Barnwell passed away on March 11, 2021. He was born May 13, 1935 in Charleston, SC. Brother Barnwell was educated at South Carolina State College (SCSU) and graduated in 1958 with a BS Biology Degree. He also earned a Master of Education Degree from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA. Brother Barnwell served as the Cadet Operations Officer (S3) for the SCSU Corps of Cadets. He became a Distinguished Military Graduate and earned a Second Lieutenant Commission, Field Artillery Branch US Army 1958. His military career was filled with numerous assignments. He retired after 25 years as a Colonel. He was then employed with Martin Marietta for 15 years.
Brother Barnwell’s Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. fraternal endeavors covered over 65 years. He was an influential voice in the Third District over 40 years and served as its 18th Third District Representative for four years. He was a Charter Member of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter in 1980 its 2nd Basileus from 1982-1984, 1st Keeper of Finance (KF0, and Basileus Emeritus. He joined the Omega Psi Phi Credit Union Board of Directors in 1995 and served as Secretary and Chair of the Supervisory Committee. Brother Barnwell served as Basileus, Keeper of Records and Seal, and KF for several chapters and has two sons as Omega Men. His service to Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter included Chairs
Bro Marion Leroy “Barney” Barnwell, continued
of the Social Action committee, Capital Area Food Bank – “the Dean” 20 years, Rebuilding Together (formerly Christmas in April) for 30 years becoming a member of the Board of Directors. He served with the New Hope Housing as Secretary, Treasurer, and Trustee. He believed in paying it forward through generous monetary contributions. He volunteered with the Gum Springs Recreation Center and became an avid Christmas supporter. Brother Barnwell was instrumental in the formation of the Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc. Because of his numerous chapter endeavors, the chapter found it fitting to elevate him to Chapter and Director Emeritus. He was a pillar of strength, pioneer of Psi Alpha Alpha, devotee to uplifting each brother, and a true friend.
Brother Barnwell was equally a force in the community. Some of his outreach involvement included: INOVA Mount Vernon Hospital as a volunteer, Anderson Clinic Joint Replacement Division. He served as an Auxiliary Board past President and Parliamentarian. He served on the Fairfax County Human Services Counsel since 2003 and the Virginia Association of Healthcare Auxiliaries and Volunteers Board (VAHAV). Other noteworthy outreach was service to NOVA Fairfax County High Schools Black Scholars Program (20 years), Fort Belvoir Chapel High School Sunday School teacher (30 years), Belvoir Chapel 11:00 AM service as usher, and assistance with First Sunday Communion. He was also church High school leader “Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed” (AWANA). He served the NOVA Urban League’s Grandfathers Mentoring Program. For his community outreach, he was honored as Mount Vernon community’s “Lord Fairfax.” With his spouse of many years, he created the “Barney and Jimmi Scholarship Foundation.” He lived a life of service and exemplified all that is right with Omega.
Brother Barnwell was an avid runner participating in 26 Marine Corps Marathons, and many Army 10 milers. Affectionately known as Barney, he was “A Brother’s Brother and Friend” who throughout his lifetime, emulated our Four Founders by living the fraternity's four cardinal principles. Upon greeting a brother, he stretched out his hand and addressed the brother “Hello Friend.” He was extremely benevolent, often paying brothers’ dues and fees, or helping those needing assistance. He remembered brothers’ birthdays and other significant events with handwritten card messages. He provided wise and noble counsel and leadership by
example. Barney left a legacy and roadmap we can model for our lives. We all will miss the wisdom, grace, and passion exhibited when in the presence of this exemplary Omega man.
Timothy leaves to celebrate his life and cherish precious memories three sons: TaVon Dakarai, James Timothy and Chase McKinley; two daughters: Ayiana Dashia, Kennedi Lilise; mother, Susan Wood-Francis; brother, Kevin J. Francis; step-mother, Sharon Francis; stepbrother, Curtis Plater and step-sister, Ciara Broadus, along with a host of nieces, nephews, family, friends and coworkers.
BROTHER KELVIN VANDY BRYANT
Bro. Kelvin Vandy Bryant transitioned to Omega Chapter on Thursday, April 23, 2020. Bro Bryant was born to Calvin and Mallory Bryant on June 9, 1963 in Washington, D.C. Bro. Bryant was initiated through Delta Alpha Chapter on April 29, 2004. Bro. Bryant was a U.S. Navy veteran and held employment with the Montgomery County (Ohio) Child Support Enforcement Agency for over 25 years. Bro. Bryant served as the Delta Alpha Chapter Social Action Chair, Keeper of Peace and Keeper of Finance. He had the honor of being the most awarded brother in Delta Alpha Chapter with multiple consecutive years of winning the chapter’s ‘Omega Man of the Year’ and ‘Superior Service awards’.
PAST DR BROTHER FRANK WILLIAMS
Brother Dr. Williams, was an accomplished brother, professionally as well as fraternally. He had the heart of a true servant. Whether loving his family, caring for his patients, or working for the Fraternity; Brother Dr. Williams always served with excellence. Brother Dr. Williams was the District Representative of the Fourth District from 1980-84. birth defect.
BROTHER RICHARD JENKINS
Former 4th District Representative/ Educator/Administrator
Cleveland. In 2006, Richard retired as the first physical signs of his disease began to settle in.
Richard was a charter member of the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Buffalo Soldiers and Troopers Motorcycle Club. Never one to go along for the ride, he held the offices of local chapter President and National Treasurer, all while riding his Honda Gold Wings and other bikes in all 50 states and across 10 Canadian provinces.
Richard’s other activities and achievements included serving as Past President of the Eliza Bryant Center Board of Trustees and graduating from the Leadership Cleveland program in 1991. He was an active member of the Ohio University Ebony Bobcat Network. He enjoyed playing tennis, softball and considered himself of the last great scrabble, pinochle, and bid whist players. His wife, children and friends established the Richard E. Jenkins Memorial Scholarship at Ohio University to assist underrepresented education majors from Ohio’s urban areas.
Bro. Jenkins entered Omega Chapter September 19, 2019. Bro. Jenkins is a proud Life Member (491) of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Since his initiation in 1973 through Zeta Omega Chapter, he lived the Cardinal Principles until his last day. With his large personality, he was Zeta Omega Chapter Man of the Year in 1975 and elected to become Fourth District Representative from 1978-1980. In 1981 and 1982, he was chosen as the Fourth District’s Omega Man of the Year.
He earned both a Bachelor of Science in Education (1970), and Master of Education (1972) from Ohio University. He continued his studies into the world of business and healthcare, earning a Master of Business Administration from Cleveland State University in 1986.
Richard started his career as a teacher with Cleveland Public Schools. He later made a transition into the business world, holding positions as Business Manager with Huron Road Hospital, Executive Director of Personal Physician Care where he was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, and Vice President of Total Health Care. He returned to education as Human Resource Director for both the Euclid and East Cleveland City School districts.
In 2004, he was recognized for Distinguished Performance by the Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators for his service in East
BROTHER DR. KAINE CHAMBERLAIN ONWUZULIKE
Brother Onwuzulike entered Omega Chapter on January 5, 2021. Brother Dr. Kaine Onwuzulike, was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., on May 2, 1994 through Iota Theta Chapter. Brother Dr. Kaine Onwuzulike was an Adult and Pediatric Neurosurgeon at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. He was an active Board of Director’s member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, and Legacy Associates Foundation. He was a Philanthropist and a Truth Teller! He was a great Neurosurgeon who recently performed groundbreaking in-utero surgery to correct spina bifida birth defect.
BROTHER REV. DR. LANGSTON C. BANNISTER
Bro. Reverend Doctor Langston C. Bannister transitioned to Omega Chapter on November 22, 2019. Bro. Bannister was born on December 8, 1933 in Wake Forest Virginia. Bro. Bannister was initiated through the Lambda Epsilon Chapter in 1951. Bro Bannister served students at The University of Toledo as a professor for 30 years and was instrumental in the expansion of the Education Sociology Department. He served as Senior Pastor of Third Baptist Church for 18 years. In retirement, Langston completed a three-year Spiritual Formation program which enhanced his work as a mentor, lecturer, and community leader.
BROTHER EDWARD “PETE” SMITH
Brother Edward “Pete” Smith transitioned to Omega Chapter on July 19, 2020. He was initiated into Omega through Psi Psi Chapter at Kentucky State University on December 10, 1965.
He was an Army Vietnam Veteran and he worked for the state of Virginia in the office of Juvenile Probation and Parole. He retired in 2015. He served in a variety of positions in the Alpha Iota Chapter including two terms as Basileus.
BROTHER HENRY S. BOLDEN
Brother Bolden entered Omega Chapter on December 23, 2020. He was initiated into Omega through Phi Sigma Chapter. He was educated at Case Western Reserve University where he earned his Associates of Science.
Brother Bolden was called to serve his active-duty commitment in the U. S. Navy where he received an honorable discharge while continuing to serve Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. while on active duty. After his military service he went on to apply his profound electronics skill to earn his living and retired from LTV Steel in Cleveland, Ohio.
PAST DR BROTHER DR. CLARK E. BECK
Bro. Doctor Clark E. Beck transitioned to Omega Chapter on June 14, 2020. Bro. Beck was born on April 6, 1929 in Marion Indiana. Bro Beck was initiated through the Mu Chi Chapter in 1949. Brother Dr. Beck, was an accomplished brother, professionally as well as fraternally. He had the heart of a true servant.
Bro. Beck had a 33+ year career as a Civilian Research Engineer Manager at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. After his retirement from Wright Patterson Air Force base, he became an assistant dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Wright State University. He designed and implemented the Wright STEPP (Science and Engineering Pre-College Program). Bro. Dr. Beck was the District Representative of the Fourth District from 1965 to 1968.
BROTHER JERMAINE FOSTER
Jermaine “the voice of reason” Foster was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity through Tau Iota Chapter in the spring of 2004. He was a financial and active member of Tau Iota until he relocated to Maryland. He entered Omega Chapter August 20, 2020.
BROTHER DR. FRANK C. WILLIAMS DDS
Bro. Doctor Frank C. Williams DDS transitioned to Omega Chapter on July 12, 2019. Bro. Williams was born on January 16, 1933. Bro. Williams was initiated through the Zeta Omega Chapter in 1966. Prior to his passing Bro. Williams had a long career in dentistry and oral hygiene. Brother Dr. Williams always served with excellence. Brother Dr. Williams was the District Representative of the Fourth District from 1980-84.
BROTHER rudolph bradley
Georgetown, SC City Councilman Brother Rudolph Bradley died on Saturday, November 28, 2020 at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. Bro. Bradley was initiated at Rho Chapter on December 6, 1974.
He played football for Howard High School and later for Winyah High. He was a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Bradley served for 12 years on the Georgetown City Council. On a professional level, Bro. Bradley was very knowledgeable about the law and Robert’s Rules of Order,a guideline used by city council.
He was an acting president of the Georgetown District AME Church Lay Organization. Brother Bradley was a father, grandfather, and the owner of Bradley Taxi Service.
BROTHER JOSEPH JACOB "JAKE" SUGGS, JR.
Brother Joseph Jacob “Jake “ Suggs, Jr., 71, of Charlotte, NC passed away Sunday, January 17, 2021 at Levine & Dickson Aldersgate Hospice House. Bro. Suggs was initiated in Pi Phi Chapter on April 17, 1976. He Suggs was the only son of the late Joseph Suggs, Sr. and Christine Webber-Suggs.
He was a member of Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church, the Charlotte Golfing Seniors, the Hidden Valley Optimist Club, and the National Association of Sports Officials.
Jake is survived by his daughter Christina Milton and granddaughter Inda Milton of Gibsonville, NC, long-time companion Marian Miller of Laurens, SC, and a host of relatives, Fraternity brothers, and close friends.
BROTHER JAMES ERWIN SAUNDERS, SR.
James Erwin Saunders, Sr., 92, was born June 9, 1928, to the late James Luico and Elsie Erwin Saunders in Gastonia, NC and died Friday morning, November 27, 2020 at the home of his son, James E. Saunders, II of Denver, NC. During his transition to eternal life, he was surrounded by his loving and caring family. He was also preceded in death by his brothers: Charles L. Saunders and Claude E. Saunders; sisters: Gwendolyn S. Moten & Elizabeth Ann Velazquez.
James, affectionately called “Sonny,” was the second oldest to seven younger siblings. Sonny developed a strong work ethic assisting his father with custodial duties cleaning barber shops and stockpiling coal boxes for small businesses and his neighbors. It is during this time where he cultivated his passion for music and honed in on his singing abilities. Having to venture into the dark crawl spaces under houses to retrieve the coal, he often stated that singing lessened his “anxieties”.
Later in his secondary school years, Sonny was the lead singer for the doo-wop quartet the Four Jinx. They appeared at many school, church, and social functions even occasionally performing on the local radio stations. Sonny was a graduate of Highland High School in Gastonia, NC and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC with graduate studies at Connecticut University. After graduating from Johnson C. Smith University with a Bachelor of Science degree, he taught one year before being called to two years of service in the U.S. Army serving in the Korean conflict. He then returned to the field of teaching and coaching. Sonny touched the lives of many young students in several North Carolina counties. The most time was spent teaching Algebra and Geometry at Ranson Junior High School in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district. Throughout his retirement years, former students would recognize him and declare the profound effect he had on their lives. He was very proud of these moments.
After retirement, his love of teaching continued as an instructor at the UNC Charlotte Math and Science precollege.
Sonny was a dedicated member of Simpson Gillespie United Methodist Church, Charlotte, NC, for over fifty years. He served faithfully in the Chancel Choir, Men’s Choir, and Handbell Choir. Sonny was a proud member of the Simpson Trio, who sang the melodious sounds of Traditional Hymns and Negro Spirituals. Over the years, he was a member and/or officer on the Finance Committee, United Methodist Men, and Trustee. His service with the Methodist Men’s group led them to a strong program with the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. In fact, his passion for this mission championed the group to rename the ministry: James E. Saunders Shelter Ministry. During their recent Men’s Day Program, they did a tribute to Sonny. He also was involved in the planning and implementation of the new addition to the church. He further served his church by tutoring and mentoring high school church members.
Sonny was a proud and devoted member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He was a model member to the new members of the Epsilon Upsilon chapter in Gastonia, NC. After he stopped driving, members would make sure that he made all of the meetings. Sonny recently received the distinguished medal for seventy years of service.
Sonny married Julia Hoffman Saunders on December 18, 1954 (nearly 66 years) and is survived by his wife; daughter, Joan S. Lee (Reginald); son, James E. Saunders, II (Stephanie); grandson, Rev. Christopher Lee (Brandy); granddaughters: Dr. Jennifer Ann Lee; Elizabeth T. Saunders and Jessica E. Saunders; great granddaughters: Erin Lee and Jordyn Lee; sisters: Doris S. Holland and Brenda S. Brown (Conard); brothers: Carroll B. Saunders and Alfred “Pete” Saunders; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
BROTHER ANDREW JORDAN
Born in York, SC, Brother Andrew Jordan was the son of the late Andrew and Beulah Worthy Jordan. He graduated from Highland High School and received his Bachelor’s degree in Music from Tennessee State University and his Masters of Music degree from the University of Illinois.
He was a Band Director with the Bibb County School System in Macon, GA before becoming an Assistant Professor and Band Director at Kentucky State University.
Brother Jordan retired from the Gaston County School System having been the Band Director at East Gaston High School and Ashbrook High School. He was a member of Epsilon Upsilon Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He was also a member of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church. He loved music, and while the trombone was his instrument, he could play any instrument in the band.
In addition to his wife of 58 years, Brother Jordan is survived by two daughters, Ramona Jordan and Audrey Jordan, and three cousins, Robin Lark Hanson, James Worthy, and Ervin Worthy, Jr.
The Jordan Family extends heartfelt gratitude to all who have supported our family through this very difficult time.
BROTHER ronald eugene watson
Ronald Eugene Watson, Sr. entered eternal rest on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. He was born in Bamberg, SC on July 7, 1956 to the late Lawrence and Marian McMillan Watson.
He attended Horry County Schools. He obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Music Education from Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC; a master’s degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music, Chicago, IL; a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study degree in School Administration from Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA; and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA.
At an early age, he joined Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church. He faithfully served in the Army and Marine Corps. He worked as an adjunct professor at Paul D. Camp Community College and Horry Georgetown
Bro James Erwin Saunders, Sr., continued Bro James
Technical College. In June 2020, he retired from Marion County Schools as a music educator. He was an active member of Epsilon Beta Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Ron’s first professional musical experiences were with the Marine Corps Field Band and Army Field Band. He also performed in various musical genres throughout the United States and abroad. Most recently he performed with Gary Lowder and The Smokin’ Hot Band. He was a gifted saxophonist and writer. His original pieces were “Zarya”, “Stay Together”, “Song for Mikiera” and “The One”.
He leaves to cherish his memories, his devoted wife, Theresa V. Watson, two daughters: Nykida Haskins of Wilmington, NC and Marian Watson of Charlotte, NC; one step-daughter, Jade Seymore of Miami, FL; one son, Ronald E. Watson, Jr of Myrtle Beach, SC; two granddaughters and two grandsons; one sister, Carolyn Brackat of Conway, SC; one brother, Lawrence Bandele (Baseemah) of Atlanta, GA; mothers-in-law, Florence Tynes of Newport News, VA, and Viola S. Atkins of Smithfield, VA; three sisters-in-law, Stephanie Tynes of Newport News, VA; Jacqueline Tynes of Hampton, VA, and Malinda Listenbee (Ulton) of Madison, AL two brothers-in-law, James Tynes of Newport News, VA, and Steven Tynes of Newport News, VA; one aunt, Marcelette Snell of Floral Park, New York; four uncles, Dwight McMillan (Margie) Orangeburg, SC, Charles McMillan of Bamberg, SC, Clarence McMillan (Carrie) of Bamberg, SC and Robert Riggins (Catherine) of Myrtle Beach, SC and two aunts-in-law Barbara McMillan and Dazra McMillan, and a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.
BROTHER dr. roosevelt d. collins
Brother Dr. Roosevelt D. Collins transitioned to Omega Chapter on December 17, 2020, just two months shy of his 93rd birthday. Brother Dr. Collins began life in Vero Beach, Florida where he was born in 1928 to his parents, John and Nellvina Collins. He is a United States Army veteran. He served for two years in Osaka, Japan and Manila, Philippines serving in the occupational
forces. After being honorably discharged as a Corporal and Assistant Chaplain, Brother Collins matriculated at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. At Fisk, he entered the Fold of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., (31950-Eta Psi). Brother Collin was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. for more than seventy years and stayed active through Sigma Omega Chapter. From Fisk he earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Zoology. He soon entered Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry, earning a degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery. Following graduation, he married Jean Crowder, also a graduate of Fisk. Together they moved to Chicago and reared three children. Brother Collins opened a dental practice on the south side of Chicago serving the community for more than fifty years.
Dr. Collins donated and volunteered his time to organizations such as the Woodlawn Boys and Girls Club, The Boy Scouts (Troop 534 “hey”) and was an Elder, Trustee, and member of Six Grace Presbyterian Church for more than sixty years.
BROTHER DR. JAMES ALEXANDER BOYKIN
Dr. James Alexander Boykin, 97, died Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Bro. Boykin was initiated at Kappa Pi Chapter on May 18, 1943. He was born in Lancaster on July 8, 1923. The youngest of six children, his parents were John E., a blacksmith, and Bessie Witherspoon Boykin, a laundress. He grew up in the family home on East Dunlap Street. As a young boy, he would sometimes accompany his grandmother, midwife Mary Jane Witherspoon, as she delivered babies in the Lancaster area. Later in life, he would talk about her carrying a little black bag with her medications of herbs, oils and other equipment. He would comment that he first thought of becoming part of the medical profession because of that experience.
Dr. Boykin attended public schools in Lancaster and graduated as valedictorian of his 1941 class. He Dr. Boykin attended public schools in Lancaster and graduated as valedictorian of his 1941 class. He continued his education at South Carolina State
College (SCSC) and completed two years of his education before being drafted into the U.S. Army in World War II.
While in the Army, he served in the medical corps and was honorably discharged in 1946. He resumed his studies at South Carolina State, graduating in 1948 then in 1950, he earned a Master's degree.
In 1952, he began teaching at Carver High School in Spartanburg, where he met fellow teacher Janet De Laine whom he married in 1954. In 1957, he began his medical studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C. While there, the Boykins had two daughters, Celeste De Laine and Claudia Louise. In 1960, he earned his medical degree and then began his residency at the historic Freedmen's Hospital on the Howard campus. Following the death of his wife, Janet, in 1963, Dr. Boykin and his daughters moved to Lancaster, where he opened his medical practice and began a long career of public service.
In 1971, he married Annabelle Spann Sherman, who died in 2015. Among Dr. Boykin's many accolades, he was one of the first two African-Americans to serve on South Carolina State’s Board of Trustees, became the first African-American chief of staff at Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster in 1983, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from SCSC, and was presented The Order of the Red Rose, the highest honor given to a citizen in the city of Lancaster.
In 2013, the Lancaster County Housing Authority named its boardroom in his honor, recognizing 39 years of service by its longest-serving commissioner. In 2015, the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce awarded Dr. Boykin its Citizenship and Service Award, and he was selected as the grand marshal of Lancaster's annual Martin Luther King Day festivities in 2017. Dr. Boykin was a lifelong member of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lancaster. He was a member of Kappa Pi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Dr. Boykin was preceded in death by his five siblings and both wives. He is survived by his daughters, Celeste Boykin (Kim) of Brandywine, MD and Claudia Kropf (Jurgen) of Alexandria, VA, his first cousins, Dr. Peggy Clinton Clark of Lancaster, Ella Mae Barnes, Demetra McIlwain and Clara Gordon of Buffalo, NY, special friends Lamont and Brenda Twitty, and a large number of nephews, nieces, other relatives, friends, and neighbors.
BROTHER MASO CLINTON RUSSELL
Brother Maso Clinton Russell was born on April 18, 1936 in Gastonia, North Carolina. He entered Omega Chapter on September 12, 2020 at his home in Belmont, North Carolina.
Maso was the son of the late Mr. Clinton and Mrs. Odessa Audrey Patton Russell. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Willie Mae Thompson Russell, and his brother Charles Moore of Bristol, CT.
Maso was a member of the graduating class of 1955 at Highland High School in Gastonia, North Carolina. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Maso was employed by the Gaston County School System for 32 years serving students at Gingles School in Dallas and Arlington Elementary in Gastonia.
He was a member of Les Grand Masseurs Social Club and the Epsilon Upsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. in which he was selected as Omega Man of the Year in 2011.
Maso accepted Christ at an early age as a member of Lovely Hill Baptist Church in Gastonia, NC. In 1980 he became a member of Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church in Belmont, NC. He served as a member of the Finance Committee at both churches.
He leaves to cherish memories of his life with his daughter, Cynthia Russell Sadler, of Belmont, North Carolina. His son Richard Russell of Greensboro, North Carolina. Two granddaughters, Maya and India Sadler of Belmont, North Carolina. His sister in law Carolyn Moore of Bristol, Connecticut. His brother and sister in law, Johnny Ed and Ernestine Thompson of Charlotte, North Carolina. Ten nieces and nephews, twelve great nieces and nephews and a host of cousins and his special friend Mrs. Asie Black.
Bro. Dr. James Alexander Boykin, continued
BROTHER MAURICE HOLLOWAY
Maurice Holloway was born August 30, 1956 and peacefully entered eternal life September 16, 2020. He graduated from Greenwood High School in 1974 and earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Lander College (University)in 1978, where he was a founding member of the Upsilon Eta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. Immediately following graduation, he accepted a manager position with Southern Bell and retired in January 2020 with 42 years of service, holding progressive managerial positions within AT&T.
His position as Safety Manager for the Southeast Region brought him great joy. He was passionate about serving and protecting others and regarded others above himself in every aspect of his life.
Maurice was a natural leader. Lander recognized him as Young Alumni of the year and Governor Carol Campbell appointed him to serve on the Lander Board of Trustees in 1988, and he has continued to serve faithfully for 32 years. Maurice also served as president of the Alston Wilkes Society Board of Trustees and on the Carolinas Telco Credit Union Supervisors Committee.
Maurice’s long-established relationship with Jesus Christ was displayed in his Sunday school teachings and leadership positions at previous churches and currently at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church. As a faithful member of his church, he also served on the usher and hospital visitation teams. Maurice devoted his life to service, his family, and being an encouragement to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. Maurice was an avid basketball player and fan. Over the years, he played basketball with a special group of men at the YMCA who he sincerely loved.
He leaves to continue his legacy and cherish his memories, his wife of 39 years, Dr. Mary Harrison Holloway of Lexington, SC, three children: Retired US
Navy Senior Chief Danel Harrison (Sonia) of Virginia Beach, VA, Kristen Agbato (Segun) of New York, NY, and Ashley Jones (Jonathan) of Fuquay Varina, NC; six grandchildren: Brehon, Danyelle, Sydni, Peyton Kristina, Victoria, and Harrison, and a Great-granddaughter, Aubrey; parents: John Calvin and Corrie J. Holloway; four siblings: Rev, Dr. Randy (Bridget) Holloway, Sharon (James) Saxon, and Deborah (Donald) Parks of Greenwood SC and Joretta (Johnny) Anderson of NewPort News, VA.; Mother-in-law, Mazel Harrison and sister-in-law: Dr. Theresa (Brandon) Wallace from Philadelphia, PA ; a sister-in-law and special care provider, Priscilla (Nathaniel) Houston of Charleston SC; two brothers-in-law, James Harrison of Charlotte, NC and Jimmy Harrison of Philadelphia, PA; three aunts and three uncles and host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and special dear friends.
BROTHER willie louis scott, jr.
Willie Louis Scott, Jr. was born February 13, 1959 in Newberry, SC to loving parents, the late Gloria Zelda Nelson Scott and the late Willie Louis Scott, Sr., and a loving family. His Heavenly Father called him home on February 8, 2021.
He attended the Newberry County Schools (Drayton Street Elementary School, Boundary Street Elementary, Gallman Jr. High, and Newberry High School). His father lovingly called Scotty “Chief” because of his athleticism, infectious smile, ability to connect and lead, and generosity. From his first football team at 6 years old through the high school state all-star and allconference teams and championships in football and basketball, he was beloved by all. After graduating from Newberry High School, where he lettered in football, basketball, and track, and after having to decide whether to play football or basketball, he selected the University of South Carolina Gamecocks as his next athletic and academic steps.
At Carolina, he was the starting tight end for the team’s most successful seasons, and, again, was lauded for his athleticism through all-conference teams, as an All American team, and numerous bowl games. Throughout
all of his athletic events, his mother, Gloria Zelda Nelson Scott, could be found on the 50-yard line (football) or half court (basketball) to cheer him on. His father, until his untimely death, was forever coaching him as an athlete and as a person. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, with a bachelor’s in health education, he was a first round pick in the National Football League (NFL) and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. After playing for the Chiefs, he ended his career after several years with the New England Patriots.
After leaving a 10-year career in the NFL, he turned to college coaching, first at East Carolina, then the University of South Carolina, and finally at South Carolina State University (his father’s graduate alma mater). With a calling to work more closely with young people and provide male leadership to young African American boys and young men, he turned to high school coaching.
He was a Career Development Facilitator at Saluda Middle School and an In-School Suspension Monitor at Pelion High School. At both schools, he coached football, track, and basketball. He also coached golf.
While Willie was most visible on the field, he was as visible in his spiritual and church life. He grew up in a family that loved the Lord and facilitated his lifelong relationship with Christ. He was a confirmed member in the Episcopal Church, specifically at St. Monica’s and St Luke’s and often attended and sang in the gospel group at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Throughout his life, including during his time in the NFL, he attended church regularly. After leaving the NFL, he attended the Trinity Cathedral in Columbia, SC. He later returned to his Baptist roots and attended the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
Willie Louis Scott, Jr. is survived by his wife Susan S. Scott, three step-children, Cassidy (Joshua) Mercadel, Cameron Shackleford, and Caleb Shackleford; two siblings, Pamela E. Scott-Johnson (Franklin) and Nelson B. Scott; uncles and aunts (David and Vina Abrams, Harry Abrams, Clarence Abrams, Sr., Edward and Mary Abrams, Lula Nelson); cousins; close family friends; neighbors; God children; and loving community of supporters.
BROTHER IVORY L. JENKINS
Brother Ivory “Lee Lee” Jenkins transitioned to Omega Chapter on November 9, 2020. Brother Jenkins was initiated into Alpha Zeta Chapter in Spring 1995. Born in Helena, Arkansas, he received his Bachelor of Science degree from Arkansas State University. He worked at Prairie View A&M University as a technology specialist for Student Affairs and recently moved to the Information Technology department. Brother Jenkins was highly involved in student life at Prairie View A&M. He was advisor to the Rho Theta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., where he was a three-time Advisor of the Year and a two-time Omega Man of the Year. As an advisor, Bro. Jenkins set the bar for men interested in Omega and challenged the young men to be well rounded students. The number of nationally recognized scholars from the Chapter was a reflection of the ideals Bro. Jenkins imparted into these young men. There are many future Doctors, Architects, and Engineers that will count Bro. Jenkins among their biggest influences. He was truly loved by the Prairie View A&M University community.
Bro. Jenkins was an active member of Nu Phi Chapter where he was serving as Chaplain and the Spiritual Leader of the Chapter when he passed. He never missed a District or International Undergraduate Summit often serving as a panelist, or moderator for the sessions. He was recognized as an Exemplary Advisor on both levels. Bro. Jenkins served as Santa during Nu Phi’s Adopt-A-Family program, and the Houston Area PanHellenic Council’s Toy Giveaway, which provide cheer to families and children that otherwise may not have much during that season. His support of Chapter fundraisers allowed Omega to give Scholarships annually. His work as a host at various events ensured the Chapter would have repeat supporters.
He was a very active member and deacon at Greater Macedonia Baptist Church in Houston where he served in the Male and Adult Choirs, the New Members Orientation committee, Santa Claus for Christmas programs, and volunteered for community food distributions. His goal in life was to serve others, and that he did. Bro. Jenkins took Omega and its Cardinal Principles seriously; he walked with Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift every day.
Bro Willie Louis Scott, Jr., continued
BROTHER rufus douglas spears, sr.
Rufus Douglas Spears, Sr. (affectionately known as Doug) was born in Charlotte, North Carolina to Silas Spears, Sr. and Addie Evans Spears on March 10, 1931. He was the youngest of five children. Doug attended Isabella Wyche Elementary School for 6 years with perfect attendance. He graduated from Second Ward High School in 1949. At Second Ward he sang in the choir and participated in the band where he played the clarinet. He was a member of the NAACP youth advisory board, school choir and track team. He began his college career at Johnson C. Smith University but was interrupted when he was called to serve in the United States Army for two years 1953-1955. He served six years in the military reserve and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 1961. He returned to college at Johnson C. Smith University where he was an avid member of the University Choir, where he offered his melodious voice in the bass section. He was also on the university track team where he ran the 440 and the 220 relay races. He loved Johnson C. Smith University. He graduated from Johnson C. Smith University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Science and Physical Education. He supported all the athletic activities and could always be found sitting in the upper section on the 50-yard line as well as mid-court for every home football or basketball game. Homecoming was a celebration where he attended every year with his family and friends. As an alumnus he served several years as class agent for the Class of 1957 and received several Athletic Director Awards.
As a young man he joined Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church where he was a member of the church for 50 years. He enjoyed being a member of the Chancel Choir, the Men’s Council, The Nominating Committee and Audio Committee. Doug was an ordained Deacon and Elder. His leadership in the church extended as he served as the Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 167 for 15 years. He was recognized as Scout Master of the Year in 1983. He has been recognized as the Statesville Avenue Man of the Year on many occasions. One of his proudest moments was when he had the honor of serving Holy Communion in his role as Elder at the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly held in Charlotte, North
Carolina. He also served on the Search Committee for Charlotte Presbytery’s General Presbyter, Rev. Dr. Jan Edmiston.
Doug was an educator for 33 years and retired from the Gaston County Public Schools in 1993. He was a basketball coach in Union County for the East Union Golden Eagles in 1967. While working as a Physical Education teacher his membership to the NCAE gained him high accolades for 15 years of service.
A life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Doug was initiated into Pi Phi Chapter in 1976. His fraternal service included various program committees such as Ways and Means, Pi Phi Ensemble, Executive Board and Chapter Editor. He also received the Outstanding Service Award, the Founders Award, and the Outstanding Contribution Recognition Award. He was selected Pi Phi Chapter Omega Man of the Year in 1983, Sixth District Omega Man of the Year in 1984, and Pi Phi Citizen of the Year in 1996. He also served for many years as MIP Chairperson.
In 2014 he received recognition for his 40 years of Devotion and Service to the Fraternity.
BROTHER Carl "jj" Johnson
“Just as the heroes of 9/11 were being celebrated, my beloved decided he would join them and accept his wings!”
Born October 1, 1946, Carl S. Johnson, affectionately known by many as “JJ”, was a native of De Ridder, Louisiana. He was the son of Beatrice Merritt and Joe Johnson. He attended George Washington Carver Elementary School from 1st through 5th grades. He then attended Holy Rosary Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana, graduating in 1964. After graduation, he studied and graduated from Commonwealth College of Mortuary Science (Houston, Texas), receiving a degree in Mortuary Science, with certifications as an embalmer and funeral director. Shortly after graduation from Commonwealth, JJ was drafted and began his career in the United States Army in January 1966.
In the Army, JJ served in every enlisted position (E1E9). His duties were many and varied to include: Supply Sergeant, Cadre/Drill Sergeant, Platoon Sergeant, AAMED Instructor, First Sergeant, Hospital Sergeant Major, Troop Command Sergeant Major (Brigade Sergeant Major).
A critical time during JJ’s military career revolved around his tour of duty in Vietnam. He was shot in the right arm by the enemy. The bullet traveled from his arm and lodged in his back, very close to his spine. Because of the threat of paralysis, this bullet was never removed. Due to the injuries sustained in Vietnam, JJ spent months in the hospital and endured numerous surgeries. In March 1968, then Sergeant Johnson, was authorized to salute left-handed as a result of wounds received in combat, thus making him the only soldier in the U.S. Army to have such an authorization in his era.
JJ relocated to his hometown of De Ridder, Louisiana and re-enlisted into the US Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Shortly after his re-enlistment, he was assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. During his visits back home, he began dating Frankie, who at that time was a student at Grambling State University. A true “hometown” romance evolved and on December 21, 1968, JJ and Frankie were married. To this union, the couple was blessed with three unique, talented and loving children.
After 26 years of military service and having achieved the highest possible enlisted rank, Command Sergeant Major Carl “JJ’ Johnson made the decision to retire. At this point, his military assignments included: *Ft Polk, Louisiana, *Viet Nam, *Ft. Sam Houston, *Germany, (two terms-Aschaffenburg and Heidelberg), *Ft. Eustis, Virginia, *Hawaii-Tripler Army Medical Center. Awards Received: Silver Star; Purple Heart; Good Conduct Medal; Gallantry Cross; Vietnam Service Medal; Combat Medic Badge; Vietnam Service Medal; Medical order of Military Merit.
Understanding that education was the key to success after retirement, JJ completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Wayland Baptist University. JJ’s employment after retirement included the following: *Cemetery Representative (Department of Veterans Affairs at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery); *District Command Sergeant Major (ROTCSan Antonio Independent School District). Although the Army and other employment obligations consumed much of JJ’s time, he carved out time to
officiate basketball, volleyball and boxing. He officiated basketball for over 35 years, to include AAU, high school and college. He was the first Black president of the local basketball chapter. In boxing, he officiated such notables as Little Dan “Red’ Lopez, Tommie “Hitman” Hearns, Larry Holmes, “Sweetpea” Whitaker and local favorites, the Ayala Brothers. Being the grandson of a Baptist preacher and the son of a “prayer-leading'' mother, JJ grew up in a faith-filled home. After his grandfather’s death, the family became devoted members of Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church in De Ridder. JJ’s church home in San Antonio was Second Baptist Church where he was faithful and active as a sound system operator and a member of the Male Chorus. He also enjoyed working with the Second Baptist Center Committee.
One of the greatest joys of JJ’s life (other than being a husband, father and grandfather) was becoming a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. In his 24 years as a member, with Frankie in tow, he attended all district meetings, conclaves, and everything in between. In Psi Alpha Chapter, he served as the Keeper of Peace and Protocol Chair. On the district level, he served as Chair of Protocol for the following District Representatives: *Brother Todd Clemons (2004-2007, *Brother Willie “Mercenary” Hinchen (2007-2010), *Brother Shawn Brewer (2010-2012), *Brother Ernest Parquet (20122015), *Brother Dr. Kenneth Terrell (2015-2018),* Brother Patrick B. Smith (2018-2020).
In 2018, JJ received the Ninth District’s “Superior Service Award”. In 2019, he was recognized with a plaque from Brother Harold Bailey, 1st Vice 9th District Representative,” In recognition and sincere appreciation of many years of distinguished service as Ninth District Protocol Chairman”. JJ could always count on Brother John Cooper and Brother Greg Thompson to get him into “Good Omega Trouble”…Involvement!!
On any given Monday, Thursday and Saturday, JJ could be found at one of the area golf courses. He was a member of San Antonio Minority Golf Association and River City Golf Association.
Many San Antonians remember JJ’s strutting horse, Shelly. The two rode in many parades, most often participating with the Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers where he was a member for over twenty years.
For the past few years, JJ was given the opportunity to volunteer at Lewis Funeral Home. Thanks to Mrs. Lois Washington, owner and pillar in the community, JJ was able to utilize some of his mortuary skills and work with
Brother Carl "JJ" Johnson,
a great team at the funeral home. This brought him great joy.
The whistle has blown! No more parades, no more tallying golf scores, JJ has said his last goodbye!! He departed this life on September 11, 2020 and went to meet departed family, referees, golf buddies and old special friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Beatrice Merritt and Joe Johnson; step parents, Milton and Mable Bryant and his brother, William T. McGhee. He leaves to cherish his memory his devoted wife, Frankie, of 18,876 days; sons, JJ Johnson (Austin, TX); Kerwin (Christine) Johnson (Schertz, TX); daughter, Jade Johnson Mayfield (Schertz, TX);
Sisters: Sharon Bryant (Houston, TX); Dell Merritt Smart (Atlanta, GA); Anna Marie Bryant Evans (Houston, TX); Emma Bryant Marbley (Houston, TX) Grandchildren: Ayana Cenobia Johnson (Willingboro, NJ); Neesa Grace Johnson (San Antonio, TX); Jonah Maddox Johnson (Schertz, TX) Londyn Grace Johnson (Schertz, TX); Phoenix Carter Johnson(Austin, TX); AND a host of relatives, (in laws, nieces, nephews) friends and fraternity brothers. Others who will miss that big smile are: Sarah Needham Johnson; Cordy Meza; Turner (Barbara) McGarity; and his favorite Deltas (Connie, Jovitta, Mimi and Vida).
BROTHER ira b. scott, sr.
Brother Ira B. Scott, Sr., the oldest living Omega Man for the past few years, transitioned to Omega Chapter on November 10, 2020. Brother Scott was initiated into Alpha Psi Chapter in 1938. Born on March 25, 1917 in Willis, Texas, he attended Mary Allen College and later transferred to Huston-Tillotson where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. Brother Scott was an educator, a mentor, and a leader throughout his entire 103 years of life on this earth. After graduation, Brother Scott’s first job was teaching in a small community near Shreveport, Louisiana. He then moved to New Orleans, LA where he met the love is his life for sixty-seven years, Evelyn Rhoda Landix. Brother Scott and his wife moved to Conroe, TX where he taught at Booker T. Washington School and founded the first Boy Scout Troop for Colored Boys. He also taught at Wheatley High School in Houston, TX, and became principal of E.O. Smith Junior High School. Brother Scott retired after thirty-five years of serving the community in education.
In addition, Brother Scott was an active member of Nu Phi Chapter where he previously served as the Chapter Basileus and also served as the Ninth District Chaplain. He was among the “Most Tenured Omega Men in the Country.” As the Chapter’s Senior Mentor, he taught us that the key to longevity was “Everything in Moderation.”
Brother Scott was a leader in the community where he served as President of the Houston Retired Teachers Association, Board Member of the Houston Teachers Credit Union, and Trustee of Huston-Tillotson University. Brother Scott exemplified Christian Manhood as an active member at Trinity United Methodist Church in Houston, TX for over sixty-five years where he served in the Men’s Ministry and the Choir.
Brother Scott leaves behind three sons, Bro. Ira Scott, Jr., Bro. Carl Scott, and Mr. Vernon Scott, and a host of grandchildren and great –grandchildren.
Brother Carl "JJ" Johnson, continued
You may make contributions to the Omega Network for Action
Omega Network for Action, Inc., was created to help African Americans and others in underserved and under-resourced communities achieve their highest true social parity. It is designed to promote economic empowerment through education and job training, workforce, housing and community development, entrepreneurship, and the creation of optimal health and quality of life for disadvantaged communities.
Omega Network for Action is a 501(C)(4) organization designed to promote economic empowerment through education and job training, housing and community development, workforce development, entrepreneurship, optimal health and quality of life for the stated underserved community. Furthermore, to achieve our goals, Omega Network for Action will:
‣ Develop and advocate for legislation, regulations, ballot measures;
‣ Advocate and educate on policy priorities;
‣ Train future leaders to obtain elected and appointed offices;
‣ Encourage financial and human capital contributions to advance ONFA’s purpose;
‣ Conduct research on policy issues of importance to ONFA; and
‣ Publicize legislative positions of elected officials.
What is a 501(c)(4)? A 501(c)(4) refers to a section of the U.S. federal income tax code concerning social welfare organizations.
 Corporations that have been granted 501(c)(4) status by the Internal Revenue Service are exempt from federal income tax.
 A 501(c)(4) may engage in political lobbying and political campaign activities. This includes donations to political committees that support or oppose ballot measures, bond issues, recalls or referenda. A 501(c)(4) organizations can educate candidates on issues, sponsor debates, and “endorse candidates and publicize its endorsements.”
What is the relationship between Omega Psi Phi and Omega Network for Action?
Omega Network for Action is an independent organization affiliated with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity linked together by its board members. ONFA is comprised of Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws with the express purpose of promoting social welfare within the African American and underserved communities. The corporation shall develop and advocate for legislation, regulations, ballot measures; advocate and educate policy priorities, train targeted populations to obtain elective and appointed office; encourage financial and human capital contributions; and conduct research and publicize positions of elected officials concerning these issues affecting underserved communities.
ONFA is a not for profit organization, its members are not paid members and they are members of the Fraternity. The charter board members are as follows:
President: Dr. David Marion, Secretary: Sedrick Spencer, Treasurer: Kenneth Rodgers, Members: Johnnie Smith, Benjamin Crump
How can District, Chapters, and members support ONFA? The Corporation seeks to engage Districts, Chapters, and members of the Fraternity by soliciting views, concerns, and issues that affect their communities. The ONFA seeks to be the political voice of the fraternity, members are encouraged to share political issues, legislation impacting their community, identify candidates running for local, State, and national office. In turn, ONFA, will vet the issues, legislation, and candidates and determine a political stance that represent the concerns of the Fraternity.
How can you help? You can make financial contributions to Omega Network for action. The Corporation may accept gifts, grants, legacies, and contribution from any source, including persons, corporations, trusts, charities, and governments and governmental agencies. Your contributions are tax deductible and will be recorded per IRS requirements. Your contributions will used to support political endeavors to lobbying on legislative issues, contributing and endorsing candidates that represent our views, and a small percentage of contributions will be used administratively for postage, and other handling of corporate business.
be sure to reference name of the account when sending the funds. to send a deposit via PayPal.
OMEGA DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND EMERGENCY RELIEF TEAM
We are excited to announce the formation of the Omega Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Relief Team. This team was formed to provide brothers with the necessary information to be prepared for an impending disaster as well as provide additional information concerning relief following a disaster.
We have aligned ourselves with organizations such as the Red Cross, the National Weather Service, Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), and FEMA to provide brothers with the most up to date information to disseminate.
‣ EMERGENCY ALERTS
‣ FEDERAL RESOURCES
‣ COVID-19 RESOURCES
‣ HURRICANE RESOURCES
‣ FLOOD RESOURCES
‣ STORM UPDATES
‣ MUCH MORE
Director: Dr. Terrence Augillard
Assistant Director: Terrance Course
160 The Oracle Did you Know
WWW.OPPF.ORG/EMERGENCY-RELIEF-TEAM F O R M O R E I N F O P L E A S E V I S I T
"REFLECTION" BRO. EARL GRAVES. FROM THE IHQ ARCHIVES WWW.OPPF.ORG/CALLINGALLQUES TO SUBMIT PHOTOS
Omega Men making an impact in their community.
#Next Level Captions
1. Brother Kevin E. Walton. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Human Resources Specialist.
2. Brother Dr. Malik Boykin. Accomplished musician and Professor of Psychology at Brown University
3. Brother Bertram L. Lawson II. YMCA of Central New York's President and CEO.
4. Brother Nick Mosby. Baltimore City Council President.
5. Brother Reverend Dr. Terris A. King. Pastor and Chair of the Family League of Baltimore City’s Board of Directors.
6. Brother Chief Craig Branch. Chief of Police, Germanna CC Police Department
7. Brother Dr. Richard Mason, Jr. Associate Professor at Hampton University and Professional Counselor.
8. Brother Vincent L. Robertson, Sr., Esq. Sussex County, Virginia’s Commonwealth’s Attorney.
9. Brother Don Hardin Jr. Owner, Don Hardin Group.
10. Brother Nick Leverett. Professional (NFL) Football Athlete.
11. Brother Dr. Baron R. Davis. S.C. School Superintendent
12. Brother 41st Sixth District Representative Melvin Mitchell. Owner, Melvin M. Mitchell Agency Inc.
13. Brother John Bowman. NAACP President, St Louis County Branch
14. Brother Raymond “Raybo” Bourgeois. Served as the International Chair of Membership for almost 20 years
15. Brother James T. Long. Former NFL player, Hall of Fame High School football & track coach
16. Brother Lewis Rhone. Co-founder, My Brothers Keepers Homeless Outreach Ministry
17. Brother Melvin T. Hargrett. Retired Federal Marshal, 1st member to hold the positions of “Detective, Hostage Negotiator, & Explosives Tech” simultaneously
18. Brother Hasan Johnson. Founder, BUILD Project (Brothers, Uplifting, Inspiring, Learning & Developing)
We are always seeking Brothers with an opinionated view to submit an editorial, a story idea, an article from the history and archives, a poem, or a photo.
If you have those desires, please email Bro. Norm Senior at EditorToTheOracle@oppf.org
Humbled and Honored to Serve as your Interim Editor
Send address changes to: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Attn: Grand KRS 3951 Snapfinger Parkway Decatur, GA 30035.
Volume 90 \ No. 41 \ SPRING 2021
Brother Milt Newton. Former NBA player, Assistant General Manager of the Milwaukee Bucks
The Oracle - Spring 2021 163
The Oracle The End 163 TheOracle-Spring2021
Brother Virgis Colbert. Chairman Emeritus Exec VP, Worldwide Operations (Retired) Sr. Advisor MillerCoors, Minority Owner of the Milwaukee Bucks