In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s Alpha Alpha Lambda Chapter in Newark, New Jersey and did an interview with Horner Williams the president of the chapter.
The position of president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Williams, who is a management consultant, has served in the position of chapter president for four years.
We interviewed Williams and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
The opportunity to lead college educated professional Black men is inspirational. During my four year term of office, we have grown from 25 members to nearly 90 strong in the Brick City. There remains a need for Black Greek Letter Organizations in 2019 and beyond as evidenced by our growth and impact within our city. To be a part of that growth and impact means the world to me.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
One of our National AΦA Programs is Go to High School + Go to College. Over the past year, we mentored middle school young men over the school year. One of these young men went on to win our 20th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Contest against over 30 competitors from a number of schools in the Greater Newark, NJ area. For our 2019-2020 fraternal year, we also look forward to further expanding our depth and breath Project Alpha programs which address pregnancy prevention; and our voter education and registration drive known as A Voteless People is a Hopeless People. Next summer, we will again bring 7 young to a college campus for a few days to experience leaving home for a few days and joining with liked minded young men. In the years ahead, we are also considering a HBCU bus tour. As Newark Alphas, from the voter, to the aspiring student, to the current college student or seasoned professional; we’ve felt a renewed energy in our city and our chapter.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
I joined AΦA because the presence of Alpha was all around me. At home in New Jersey, there lives the legacy of three Alpha men named Bro. Dr. James Parker; a father, his son and a nephew. A medical clinic and street are named in their honor. I was inspired by AΦA at home. As a student at Tufts University, near Boston, Bro. Dr. Oscar Harrell (Gamma Chapter, 1960) served as Director of the African-American Center where students can live, study, come for advice as well as a good time. I was inspired by AΦA at college. At Rutgers Business School in Newark, NJ I lived with Brother Negorie Jones (Gamma Pi Chapter, 1988). I was inspired by AΦA in graduate school. Add the legacy of Brothers Thurgood Marshall, Jesse Owens and Dr. Martin Luther King, jr along with multi-billionaire Bro. Robert Smith (Alpha Chapter, 1982); I remain inspired by AΦA everyday.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Alpha Alpha Lambda Chapter of AΦA was chartered October 13, 1926 and so we are the oldest chapter in the State of NJ. Today we are aligned with college Brothers in three chapters, Iota Rho (Metro Newark, NJ Colleges), Phi Eta (Seton Hall University) and Phi Theta (Stevens Institute of Technology). The current District Director for the State of NJ is also a chapter member, Bro. Alfred Glass.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
Social media provides a window into chapter activities and is a key to our growth and reclamation efforts. We also engage our membership privately daily through email and social media including GroupMe, Whatsapp, SnapChat, etc.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership should be absolutely be about doing the work of the chapter; not simply watching it being done or delegating it to another. Leading the way in thought, word and deed and so in time, treasure and talent daily. My motto is Alpha for Life. What that means is engaging the Spirit of Alpha not just at chapter meetings but at work, at home, on campus, at church, everywhere, everyday, every hour.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard provides critical coverage of African-American Greek Life across the Divine 9 in real time and showcases historical events and video not available anywhere else, love it!
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood means to me: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
We provide cash awards, scholarships and stipends to the college Brothers with whom we are aligned. We also welcome their presence at every chapter meeting and on every chapter communication.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Horner Williams for his work as the president of the Alpha Alpha Lambda Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1926.
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