This Op-ed was written exclusively for WatchTheYard.com by Abdul M. Omari who is a Regent at the University of Minnesota, 2006 Mu Chapter initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Founder/CEO of AMO Enterprise, and doctoral candidate in comparative and international development education at the University of Minnesota. These are personal opinions and not those of the University of Minnesota.
At approximately 10:02pm on March 8, 2015 (the 50 year mark of Bloody Sunday) I was alerted via Instagram that a video had leaked showing alleged members University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity performing a sickening racist chant. I had just finished watching the famous ESPN 30 for 30 “The Fab Five.” If you’ve seen this specific 30 for 30 then you know that in the early 1990s five African American men showed up on the University of Michigan campus and quickly became internationally famed basketball stars. Unfortunately, with that fame also came a tremendous amount of hate and bigotry because of their non-conforming approach to the sport and society at-large. As I watched this documentary, for the second time, I channeled my inner 6-7 year old self and was almost brought to tears of sadness knowing that early in my life the world remained so full of hate and filled with a lack of understanding. Today, on the brink of turning 30, I unfortunately, was not surprised by the video portraying young men and women use hateful and hurtful language with such conviction and joy.
As the seventh Black Regent at the University of Minnesota, a soon-to-be three-time alum, and proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, I urge people to use this as an opportunity for growth. No doubt, there is justified emotion in the form of anger and sadness. However, this should not be a debate about Predominantly White Institutions versus Historically Black Colleges and Universities or African American and Multi-Cultural fraternities versus White fraternities. This is an issue for all of US. The harsh reality is that this not an isolated incident. This is not an “OU problem” or an “SAE problem”. This happens all around our country and these are thoughts that people carry with them; either locked away deep inside or expressed overtly, as in the video we have seen.
I will admit that I am torn. While I am appreciative of the swift response by the OU president, I do not think these individuals should be expelled from their university as many online have suggested. I do, however, believe they should be expelled from their fraternity, if, in fact, SAE is going to live out its values that contradict those expressed in this video. At a public institution, they have the right to their beliefs and their thoughts. If we cannot express ourselves at a public institute of higher education then where can we?
My hope is that those in the video are mature enough to be educated about their bigotry, which could lead to a change in attitude. My hope is that they will be open to seeing the role that the media, television, and social constructions have played in their attitudes towards people of varying backgrounds. My hope is that they will join the movement to make this country and our world an inclusive one. My hope is that they will recognize the unearned privileges they have been and are afforded. My hope is that they understand the sheer audacity required to maintain such thoughts and lack of critical thinking they exude. My hope is that they, along with all of us, will be able to unpack our own biases and experiences that lead to our views of the world. My hope is that eventually they will join this exhausting work that must be done by us all.
As I return to working on my own research I recognize that this op-ed only begins to capture the nuances and complexities of this issue. However, I felt obligated to make an attempt at beginning a conversation with humanity at the forefront. Let us have a conversation of productivity rather than cyclical discussions that lead to no end.
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.
Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2017
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
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.
Share if you think these young Alphas deserve to go VIRAL.
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.
These Young Afro Latinas Reciting Victoria Santa Cruz’s “Me Gritaron Negra” Will Give You LIFE!
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.
Share this on Facebook if you think this deserves to go Viral!
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