A divine panel on Black Greek letter organizations
History Professor Dr. Robert Morris hosted an event Thursday, Feb. 28 in efforts to raise awareness of the roles the nine Black Greek-Lettered sororities and fraternities play in communities worldwide. The panel consisted of five intellectual sorority and fraternity members who spoke eloquently to students and faculty members on their experiences.
The “Divine Nine” black sororities and fraternities are Alpha Phi Alpha Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Inc., Omega Psi Phi Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Inc.
Professor Rhonda Bobb proudly represented the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. Bobb was exposed to AKA through her involvement in the Ivy Rosettes Committee in high school. Through this weekend initiative, she learned the importance of community service and promoting feministic excellence which shaped her into a strong young lady eager to give back to her community.
“That’s what it’s about. Being able to restore the torch to someone else and mentor, proctor, teach, expose, and be there to help,” said Bobb.
Professor Cornelius Brownlee exhibited great passion when speaking about his mother and his membership in the fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. Raised by a strong single mother in Miami, Brownlee emphasized how much his mother poured into him to achieve better in his personal, career and academic growth.
“They banded together to form a club of brotherhood to help them survive the college life,” said Brownlee in reference to his inspiration for joining Alpha Phi Alpha Inc.
In search of true brotherhood to facilitate his success in his life growth, he found Alpha Phi Alpha to be his perfect match.
“We believe in more than ourselves and that is the true heart of a sorority or fraternal organization,” said Student Life Coordinator Tiffany Erving. Erving is a member of the sorority Delta Sigma Theta Inc. Her inspiration to join was from her high school counselor, Miss King, who was also a Delta. Erving has greatly given back to her community in her role as the second Vice President of the Educational Development Arm of Delta Sigma Theta’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust where she mentored 40 girls aged 14 to 18 in the Delta Gems program.
Broward College Librarian, Tiffany Walker, expressed her inspiration for joining soroity Zeta Phi Beta Inc. as a former college student at the University of Florida. Walker felt a meaningful connection within the sisterhood of Zeta Phi Beta Inc.
“Zeta was an oasis. It was an ability to connect with other women of color on social justice issues we all shared.”
Considering her background in Harlem Renaissance, Walker also found inspiration to become a Zeta through honorable Zeta member author Zora Neale Hurston. Her favorite Zeta member is poet Gwendolyn Brooks.
Dr. Morris is a member of the fraternity Phi Beta Sigma Inc. whose motto is, “Culture for Service and Service for Humanity.” “We give ourselves unselfishly to the community in making sure we leave the place better than we came,” said Dr. Morris expressing the importance of community connection in Phi Beta Sigma Inc. He continues to demonstrate his zeal as a Phi Beta Sigma fraternity brother in his membership in the NAACP, registering felons to vote and participating in the social initiative “Real Men Read.”
Psychology student Iyonna Knight expressed her appreciation for having the ability to dialogue with sorority and fraternity members right at her home institution. She learned things that she didn’t know before about sororities and felt motivated to research them more to consider becoming a member one day. Knight has dreams of becoming a child psychologist in the future.
For students interested in joining any of the “Divine Nine,” it is important to begin with research to find the best sorority or fraternity for you. Next, explore your motivation by identifying what or who inspires you the most to join. Then, get involved by reaching out to members to participate in community activities. Bring your passion and drive when you are ready to apply. Most importantly, be prepared to devote yourself to your community in a variety of ways.
Professor Brownlee mentioned each one of these organizations have, “different profiles,” but ultimately have a deep-rooted commitment to service. Each one of these organizations bloomed during a time where racial tension was prevalent to be a haven for Black excellence where every sorority sister and fraternity brother’s contributions to communities all over the globe pay homage every day for those who believed in the fight for black justice.
Visit http://www.blackgreek.com/divinenine/ for more information.
Photo: From left to right, Tiffany Erving, Cornelius Brownlee, Rhonda Bobb, Dr. Robert Morris and Tiffany Walker.Photo courtesy of Ray Alce/Broward College