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LINK UP: A Lesson On Being Your Line Brother or Sister’s Keeper

[This piece was written by Guest Writer, Alexzandria Chill]

When you’re initiated into a NPHC organization, you are essentially “forced” to become family with complete strangers. Of course, no one expects you to become the Optimus Prime of BFFs and transform into a “sister” or “brother” overnight. If they do…they’re crazy.  Some people bond instantly while others put on a front until it’s time to probate. The fact is, the initiation process (whatever that may entail) is meant for you to get familiar with the organization AND your ls’s/ lb’s in a controlled environment.

What happens when you’re no longer obligated to be accountable for someone else’s well-being?  Being someone’s “keeper” doesn’t mean holding your LB back at a campus party, or being the “responsible one” when your LS turns up a little too much. There are more subtle, profound ways to “keep” someone.

Lessons from the Master Link:

I never understood the concept of “Sisterly Love” or “Sisterhood” until I met my 6 club, my Link, and one of my best friends, Krysten Blackshear.


Let me tell you about my Link. She is one of the most considerate, intelligent, resourceful, knowledgeable, benevolent, insightful, hilarious, thoughtful, helpful, determined, encouraging and loving people I know. One of the many things I admire about Krysten is the way she strives to epitomize “Sisterly Love” in everything she does. What makes her actions even more impressive is her back story in regards to our line. My Link graduated immediately after we crossed, leaving her the odd ball out when it came to bonding with the rest of my LSs. Yet and still, she remained ever present in our lives, eager to bond, encouraging to all and a constant resource of information, wisdom, motivation and warmth.

After 5 awesome years of friendship, here are a few things my Link has taught me about being “My Sister’s Keeper”:

Keeper Check-ins:

A keeper is responsible for the preservation and conservation of something valuable. Conservation takes consistent and insistent care. At any given time my Link is known to send text messages consisting of prayers, encouraging words, birthday notifications, congratulations, reunion ideas, gentle reminders about life events concerning some of our line sisters, and much more. Krysten has taught me what the power of small check-ins can do for one’s emotional, mental and spiritual state. Small gestures like random calls, texts or skype sessions can really boost someone’s spirit and deepen your relationship. It shows you value that person’s well-being and challenges you to reciprocate the act for that person and others alike.

Practice Checks and Balances:

When I am acting out of my character, or tapping into the more unfavorable aspects of myself, Krysten lets me know. My decisions haven’t been the best. My thought processes haven’t been the wisest.  What I love about Krysten is that she keeps me in check.

“Checking” your sorors and frat (in a constructive way) helps everyone stay grounded. It keeps perspectives broad,  solutions vast, and provides balance when you’re dealing with simple and complex situations. Don’t be afraid to pull your brother or sister aside and let them know 1) You care 2) You want them to be the best version of themselves 3) You can offer practical solutions on becoming a better person. At the same time, you must know the appropriatetime and place to do so. Having these kind of talks helps you establish a rapport of respect with your brother or sister. Go directly to him/her rather than participating in “he said, she said” consulting. Let them know you are a help-mate in their lives. This will not only strengthen your individual bond, but it will strengthen your line, your chapter and your organization as a whole. After all, you’re only as strong as your weakest link right?

Create a Candid No Flex Zone:

Krysten has always kept it 100% with me. Her candor and unadulterated honesty has made our relationship what it is today. I can be vulnerable with her. My faults are never judged. My mishaps are never shunned. My mistakes are flipped into learning opportunities. And I have tried to provide the same courtesy to her.

She has never made me feel like my life decisions were “irresponsible” or “stupid”. Nor has she flaunted her successes in my face. She’s always done the following:  1) Let me know everything is okay and 2) Reminds me there’s more than one way to get to my destination. With every step life presents, we should be a flashlight for each other’s path. Not everyone is going to be at the place they would like to be in their lives. It’s at those times when an extra push of motivation is needed. Know that sharing your achievements can be encouraging. Sharing the tests that lead to your testimony is even more insightful and inspiring.

Don’t let anyone or anything break that line. Keep those bonds tight. Be that light.

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


38 Black Owned Banks And Credit Unions: Putting Your Money Where It Counts

You always hear people talking about investing in the community and letting money circulate as a way to strengthen neighborhoods but did you know that doing this isn’t actually that hard?

It turns out that there are already over 35 African-American owned banks and credit unions in the United States where you can put your money if you find these type of efforts for financial stability and reinvestment in the Black community important.

Check out the list below!

  1. Omega Psi Phi Credit Union – Lawrenceville, Georgia
  2. Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit Union – Washington, DC
  3. One United Bank – Los Angeles, California
  4. FAMU Federal Credit Union – Tallahassee, Florida
  5. Credit Union of Atlanta – Atlanta, Georgia
  6. North Milwaukee State Bank – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  7. Seaway Bank – Chicago, Illinois
  8. The Harbor Bank- Baltimore, Maryland
  9. Liberty Bank – New Orleans, Louisiana
  10. United Bank of Philidelphia – Philidelphia, Penn
  11. Alamerica Bank – Birmingham, Alabama
  12. Broadway Federal Bank – Los Angeles, California
  13. Carver State Bank – Savannah, Georgia
  14. Capital City Bank – Atlanta, Georgia
  15. Citizens Trust Bank – Atlanta, Georgia
  16. City National Bank – Newark, New Jersey
  17. Commonwealth National Bank – Mobile, Alabama
  18. Industrial Bank – Washington D.C.
  19. First Tuskegee Bank – Tuskegee, Alabama
  20. Mechanics & Farmers Bank – Durham, North Carolina
  21. First Independence Bank – Detroit, Michigan
  22. First State Bank – Danville, Virginia
  23. Illinois Service Federal – Chicago, Illinois
  24. Unity National Bank – Houston, Texas
  25. Carver Federal Savings Bank – New York, New York
  26. OneUnited Bank – Miami, Florida
  27. OneUnited Bank – Boston, Massachusetts
  28. Tri-State Bank – Memphis, Tennesse
  29. Citizens Bank – Nashville, Tennessee
  30. South Carolina Community Bank – Columbia, South Carolina
  31. Columbia Savings and Loan – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  32. Liberty Bank – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  33. Liberty Bank – Kansas City, Missouri
  34. Citizen Trust Bank – Birmingham, Alabama
  35. Liberty Bank – Chicago, Illinois
  36. Liberty Bank – Jackson, Mississippi
  37. Toledo Urban Credit Union – Toledo, Ohio
  38. Hill District Credit Union – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Are you currently putting money in a black owned bank? Leave any testimonials you have below!

Share this on Facebook if you think this list deserves to be seen.

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Get That Money! Six Grants For Black Women-Owned Small Businesses

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Do you have a business that would benefit greatly with some extra financial help from a grant?

Today, Black women own roughly 14 percent of all businesses in the country owned by women, which tallies to around 1.3 million businesses, according to Huffington Post which also says,

“While nationally African American women comprise 14% of all women-owned firms, African American women comprise a greater than average share of all women-owned firms in Georgia (35%), Maryland (33%), and Illinois (22%).”

There are a lot of grants out there that get overlooked and while finding a grant specifically targeted toward African-American women can be challenging, the best way to bring in start-up funds is to look for funds targeted to minorities and women.

We at suggest that you also look for industry-specific grants.

To help all of you small business owning ladies out there, we have created a list of small business grants for women.

Do you know of any good business grants for women? Tell us about them in the comment section below and share this list with an entrepreneur.

Click on the image below to read the list!Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 12.24.04 PM


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Black Fraternity Fathers and Their Children Speak Out About The Importance of Great Dads

Members of Black fraternities make up some of the best fathers in the world.

To celebrate Father’s Day, we at Watch The Yard spent the entire week leading up to the big day highlighting fathers who are members of D9 orgs.

We have compiled a list of our favorite Father’s Day posts from Instagram for you to see that include some amazing, tearjerking and some funny posts about fatherhood from fathers and their children about the importance of having/being great father figures.

To get the chance of being on this list, post a picture of a father who is a member of a Black fraternity member and is wearing his letters with the hashtag #WTYfathers and a quote about what fatherhood means.

Share this on Facebook if you think these positive images of Black fathers deserve to go VIRAL!

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