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[This piece was written by Alexzandria Chill | UNT Graduate. Marketing Freak. Frankie Bev Fanatic. Adamant Knowledge Seeker. Lady of ZPHIB [Pearl Clu5]. Founder of Blog:@DPTaughtMe]

At an early age, my parents instilled in me the importance of being self-aware,  appreciating my history, and acknowledging how it plays a role in the direction of my future. They were convinced that knowing where I came from would give me the proper propensity I needed to succeed and to succeed greatly. In order for me to grasp this concept, they immersed me in a culture of learning every chance they could. Seriously, while everyone was watching One Saturday Morning, Sweet Valley High and Nickelodeon, my mama made me watch the news or listen to books on tape like I was in the 1930s waiting for the Fireside Chats.

My dad flooded his living room with black literature, black art, a variety of black music (s/o to my late hubby Hendrix)  and very black discussions. Yall, I had so much black stuff around me, I was literally SHOCKED when I found out Santa Clause and all my favorite story book characters WEREN’T black: all my book said otherwise (s/o to the Shrine of the Black Madonna)  Anywho, I said all that to say this: I love history.

And we can’t talk about Black History without taking the time to talk about the amazing contributions of NPHC members. Many, if not majority, of the movers and shakers who lead several movements and made significant strides in their respective fields have been members of the Divine Nine. Whether they pledged into Greekdom or earned honorary recognition, I believe what kept (and keeps) those individuals going is their organization’s mantra/motto. Here are the 5 favorite lessons historical NPHC members have taught me about being legendary– via their national mottos.

5) CREW CULTIVATION IS KEY

“FRIENDSHIP IS ESSENTIAL TO THE SOUL”- OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY INC.

Outside of God, one of my biggest blessings come is my extremely talented, astute, and ambitious squad. Whether it’s my brilliant family members, my audacious friends, or gifted colleagues/ acquaintances, they all help me create an atmosphere of awesome. The best part of rocking with the flock I fly with is we support each other and cultivate a culture of greatness. Together, we think and act in such transformative ways that help us mold the future of tomorrow.

Omegas have taught me a great deal of this. My three favorite Omega Men are Steve Harvey, Tom Joyner,  and Earl E Graves Sr. We’re talking about legacies created. All three of these men were able to transform their professions in a way that related, captivated and cultivated a communal movement of its own. Steve Harvey’s candor in comedy, books and show has helped him open up opportunities for his followers to heal, feel and tell their stories in a unique way. Whether that’s through his talk show couch, the Neighborhood Awards or his boys camp in Texas, the community he’s cultivating is based on friendship, understanding and group uplift. Tom Joyner and his distinct radio voice helped boost intense advocacy for matriculation for HBCUs and HBCU pride. Earl’s manifestation of Black Enterprise and it’s influence on black financial literacy and entrepreneurship helped shepherd many black families into financial freedom. They all have used their platforms to create a supportive following that encourages each other, informs each other and elevate each other.  And that’s what friends are for.

4) BE A BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

“INTELLIGENCE IS THE TORCH OF WISDOM” – DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY INC.

A few people in my camp know this: at the beginning of my Greek journey, I only knew of 2 sororities: AKA and DST.  I come from pretty good line of AKAs, however it was my Delta mentors – personal and public figures, that stole my heart. Steadfast women like Dorothy Irene Height, Betty Shabazz, Barbara Jordan, Ruby Dee and my all time favorites Shirley Chisholm, Nikki Giovanni (and now Delta ladies) Susan L Taylor and Soledad O’Brian have show me how to marry brains and beauty together seamlessly.

It was the passion, the purpose, the poise and the uncompromising position behind every political & presidential campaign, court case,  class lesson,  social justice march, magazine issuetelevised docu-series that these women emitted that encouraged me to activate my intellect in a way that was ” unbought and unbossed.” They challenged the status quo with resilience  and dared people to stretch their thinking. While looks may get you ahead in some instances, it is the value that you bring to the table that will elevate you and the delicious smell that lingers that will make you memorable. (Like how I inserted that food-Jill Scottish reference in there? It’s cuz I’ma Zeta sooo… j/k. Next lesson!)

3) EXECUTE AND EXUDE BLACK EXCELLENCE

” ACHIEVEMENT IN EVERY FIELD OF HUMAN ENDEAVOR” KAPPA ALPHA PSI FRATERNITY INC.

“BY CULTURE, BY MERIT” – ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY INC.

Colin Powell once said, ” If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” That and Jay’s profound statement in F.U.T.WDon’t be good my n***a, be great.” reminds me of the Nupes and the Ivies. It doesn’t matter what endeavor they pursue, it’s done with a manner of astounding tact, class and distinction. These men and women have such a dynamic work ethic that ascends past mediocre expectations with a keen demeanor that cannot be denied.

From Johnni Cochran and his history making law practice, Robert L Jonhson establishing the first Black entertainment network for creatives of color, LeCrae introducing Jesus in a fresh way (s/o UNT!),  Cathy Hughes founding Radio One,  Phylicia Rashad, Maya Angelou and their many contributions to art and activism, the list goes on and on. With each example, it’s easy to identify not only the works of these individuals, but you can point out the impeccable execution of their work as well. I admire that no matter what the Kappas or AKAs do, they strive to finish with their Ivies pointed and their diamonds flawlessly polished. And I aim to do the same every day.

2) BEING A SERVANT IS THE GREATEST FORM OF LEADERSHIP

” FIRST OF ALL, SERVANTS OF ALL, WE TRANSCEND ALL.” – ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY INC.

” CULTURE FOR SERVICE, SERVICE FOR HUMANITY” – PHI BETA SIGMA FRATERNITY INC.

“GREATER SERVICE, GREATER PROGRESS” – SIGMA GAMMA RHO SORORITY INC.

You know me, YOU KNOW ME! I’d do anything when it comes to serving my comm-un-i-ty! ( If you read that in Drake’s voice and didn’t think it was cheesy, double cup cool points for you!) No but seriously, as discussed in in last month’s mentorship series, I am an advocate of servant leadership. For goodness sake, Jesus was the greatest leader of all time and he himself served the people that followed. Don’t debate me on that. In the same breath, it’s undeniable that Alphas, Sigmas and SGRhos epitomize this type of leadership to the fullest extent. Even thinking about the people I know today, many times when I’m about and about doing service activities, I can ALWAYS find one of the three, if not all, of these organizations represented and representing well. And it’s no surprise, because their predecessors set the game plan up perfectly.

We had Alphas like Martin Luther King Jr.  and Dick Gregory and Sigmas like Congressman  John Lewis and Hosea Williams who played intricate roles in the Civil Rights movement. We had Sigma Man Dr. Alain LeRoy Locke who birthed the opportunity for Black creatives  and philosophers to flourish during the artistic revolution we know as Harlem Renaissance.  Alpha Brother, George Edmont Haynes co-established the National Urban League while Sigma Men Huey P. Newton andBobby Seale started the Black Panther Party, both as a means to mitigate the need for justice, equality, lack of education, resources and other essential unmet needs of the Black community. In the hip hop world, MC Lyte legend and SGRho member uses her platform Hip Hop Sister’s Networkas a way to mentor young emcees as well as provide funds for young men aspiring to go to college. Sigma man Lennox Yearwood, CEO and President of the Hip Hop Caucus rallies influential hip hop heads to serve as catalyst for discussion and civic action as it pertains to political and social justice issues effecting our communities. Each of these organizations remind me how important it is to the build our communities fervently and in style.

1) BE ABOUT THAT ACTION; COMPLACENCY BREEDS COMPLAINTS

“A COMMUNITY-CONSCIOUS, ACTION-ORIENTED ORGANIZATION” – ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY INC.

” BUILDING A TRADITION, NOT RESTING UPON ONE” – IOTA PHI THETA FRATERNITY INC.

I am an avid fan and resident of the “don’t talk about it, be about it” clique. One thing I love about Zetas is the fact that they get-things-done-period. Or at least the ones I know of.  Rather than sitting on the sidelines debating back and forth on what should be done…we pick a strategy, find a creative outlet and gett’er done for the betterment of our communities. We had Violette Anderson kept her Zeta train pushing her until she became the first African American woman to argue before the Supreme Court.

Recent Zetas are also helping inspire and mold the way we think and act. Two women in particular helped me shape my blog into what it is today. The late, great and amazing Amber Pratcher createdReal Zetas, a much needed voice and visual platform for Zeta women who debunked the identity and narrative Greek Life attempted to paint for us. Danielle Belton’s  witty and “woke” commentary on social, political, and entertaining issues on her blog The Black Snob helped elevate her assistant editor at the Root and contributor to online magazines and news sources such as Clutch Magazine, XO Nicole, the and Huffington Post. Zetas are narrative creators as we take risk takers, as are the Iotas. Coming in late in the game and changing the Elite Eight to the Divine Nine, didn’t intimidate them. Their founders are living legends and walking history books. Although they are the youngest in our council, every Iota man I know is making proactive strides to create ardent, strong, and influential traditions in their own right.

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Activism

The Davidson College Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Just Released This Video About Trump’s DACA Repeal

The brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha at Davidson College are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s DACA repeal.

The brothers of the Tau Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. recently released a video publicly standing against the actions to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – which provides a level of amnesty to certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children – with a six-month delay for current recipients.

On Tuesday, President Trump urged lawmakers to “do your job” with DACA.

In the statement that the chapter released, they stated that their chapter, “stands with the Dreamers and against the proposed DACA repeal.
This is about more than statistics or policy decisions. About 800,000 human beings currently hold DACA status in the U.S. These are our friends, our peers, our neighbors, our family and we have to stand against bigotry & xenophobia and fight with them now.”

Watch their full statement below.

Today, we want to make a public statement. The Tau Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. stands with the Dreamers and against the proposed DACA repeal. This is about more than statistics or policy decisions. About 800,000 human beings currently hold DACA status in the U.S. These are our friends, our peers, our neighbors, our family and we have to stand against bigotry & xenophobia and fight with them now. We ask that you fight with us in our aim to #DefendDACA by donating to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), United We Dream, The Immigrant Defence Project, etc., attending a protest, using social media as a platform to spread awareness regarding this human rights issue, working with the campus community and administration at your institutions to protect your peers, and calling your Congressional representatives. The numbers for the NC Senators and websites for donations are listed below. Sen. Tom Thillis: (919) 856-4630 Sen. Richard Burr: (800) 685-8916 https://action.aclu.org/donate-aclu?ms=web_horiz_nav_hp https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/unitedwedreamaction?refcode=homepagebutton https://www.immigrantdefenseproject.org/donate/ #AΦΑ #ΤΟ #DefendDACA

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The brothers urged the people watching to defend DACA and pointed them in the direction of organizations that are fighting for the rights of immigrants in the United States.

“We ask that you fight with us in our aim to #DefendDACA by donating to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), United We Dream, The Immigrant Defence Project, etc., attending a protest, using social media as a platform to spread awareness regarding this human rights issue, working with the campus community and administration at your institutions to protect your peers, and calling your Congressional representatives.

The numbers for the NC Senators and websites for donations are listed below.

Sen. Tom Thillis: (919) 856-4630
Sen. Richard Burr: (800) 685-8916″

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend these young brothers for speaking out and using their platform to help others. This is what it is all about.

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Activism

Kaepernick Just Donated $25,000 to Help Immigrant Youth Affected By Trump’s Repeal of DACA

San Fransisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick has decided to use his own money and the money he has made from his jersey sales to help the people of the Chicago area by supportingthe largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation to deal with Trump’s removal of DACA.

The 28-year -old member of Kappa Alpha Psi, who refused to stand during the national anthem during NFL games last year said he would donate the first $1 million he made from last season to organizations assisting communities affected by racial injustice and police brutality.

“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and be able to make the kind of money I do,” Kaepernick said. “I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in the position to succeed or given those opportunities to succeed,” he said last year.

“I will donate one million dollars plus all the proceeds of my jersey sales from the 2016 season to organizations working in oppressed communities, 100k a month for 10 months,” he said on his website.

One of these communities just so happens to be immigrant children who are currently being threatened by the repeal of DACA.

For his recent pledge, which was announced yesterday,  Colin donated $25,000 to United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation.

“We organize and advocate for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status,” the about section on United We Dream‘s website states.

According to Kaepernick’s website, the $25,000 will go toward the following:

  • Addressing the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth. Over 100,000  members. Current focus: Organize and work for immigrant children to keep DACA in force.
  • 10k for upcoming travel. Air, hotel, lodging, and ground transportation.  United We Dream recently held event in Washington DC and sent 300 dreamers to lobby to keep DACA. This budget will pay for 75-100 attendees for a similar rally upcoming.
  • 10k for series of upcoming local gatherings in NY, CT, TX, FL, NM. Facilities rent and security, transportation, food, technology
  • 5k for text service for the network of over 100,000 members.

Along with this $25,000 donation, Kaepernick has donated to DREAM (Formerly RBI Harlem) a baseball program in Harlem, Coalition For The Homeless, and War on Children.

 

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Activism

These Young Afro Latinas Reciting Victoria Santa Cruz’s “Me Gritaron Negra” Will Give You LIFE!

Me Gritaron NEGRA

Victoria Eugenia Santa Cruz Gamarra was an Afro-Peruvian choreographer, composer, and activist who is widely regarded as “the mother of Afro Peruvian dance and theatre.”

She lived from 1922 to 2004 and was one of the major players in the revival of Afro-Peruvian culture and Afrocentrism in Peru that took place during the 1960s and 1970s. In tribute of her impactful work, her poems, specifically “Me Gritaron NEGRA” (They Called Me Black) recited by young Afro-Peruvian and Afro-Ecuadorian girls have started to spread across the internet.

“Me Gritaron NEGRA” is a poem which follows Santa Cruz’s journey to accept and embrace her blackness, starts out with her telling the story of how at the a very young age started to shout “Negra” (the spanish word for Black) at her on the street everywhere she went. This shamed her into straightening her hair and wanting to lighten her skin but eventually she realized the beauty of her blackness and that the truth of this beauty was being hidden from her.

The original version of the poem recited by Santa Cruz is EXTREMELY powerful and might even give you chills.

What is even more powerful than the poem itself is that young Afro Latinas who are the age of Santa Cruz at the beginning of the story that she tells in the poem are now reciting the poem and the message is going viral. By reciting this poem at this young age, these girls, who are Black just like Santa Cruz, are able to take this woman’s story and find pride in it. They are able to put words to their struggles of living in a society with eurocentric beauty ideals and recite this peom as a reminder to themselves about how beautiful and strong they truly are.

Check out this video from Ecuador of a little girl reciting the poem.

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