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 Beta Beta Lambda Chapter in Miami and did an interview with Reginald A. Mathis 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. Reginald A. Mathis, who works as an attorney, has been in the position of president for 3 months.
We interviewed Mathis, who is a Fall 1989 initiate of his fraternity 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 motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?
I pledged Alpha at 18 years old and tragedy struck. My line brother lost his life and the nature of pledging changed throughout the D9. Returning to South Florida as a law student I was embraced by older brothers in the chapter. I started my family, got into my career and basically attended functions that appealed to me. For the last 13 years my practice had me traveling the world with recording artist Flo Rida. The Pandemic hit and I had the opportunity to be at home with my wife and children. My daughters became interested in student government and I ran for Vice President of the chapter to set an example for my children. Serving as Vice President for 2 years prompted me to get to know my brothers and I observed a generational gap between older and younger brothers. I felt that I was perfect candidate to bridge that gap.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the local community or the broader Black community?
Aside from the National Programs of the Fraternity we are very engaged in Voter Protection and Empowerment. Southern Regional Vice President Cecil Howard appointed me for the most returning felons to register to vote. We are breaking ground on a new facility which will service seniors, provide tutorial services for students and community event space. We have monthly health and wellness seminars in which we highlighted health concerns unique to the black community. Finally through our Alphas in Action Community Task Force we provide services to the community through our town halls “Where do we go from here?” Thanksgiving food basket give away and Santa Sleigh Ride.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
I saw School Daze in high school and it opened me up to the world of Greek life. We had mock step teams. Attending HBCU games between FAMU and Bethune Cookman sparked my interest but it wasn’t until I did a term paper in college on Justice Thurgood Marshall that I knew Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, was family there.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Beta Beta Lambda Chapter is a 4 time National Chapter of the Year. There are many distinguished brothers who span the gamut of professions. For many years BBL was comprised of leading educators but there are doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, preachers, and businessmen. South Florida is a haven for the retirees and BBL often gets our share of successful retirees from around the world.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
We are the chapter advisor to FIU and Florida Memorial Chapters. We encourage the Brothers to participate in our events and we attend their events. At the quarterly Adopt a Highway events we average over 100. brothers between the alumni and undergraduate brothers. We often assist undergraduates financially, provide internships, and mentor opportunities.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
I try to focus on the Fraternity as much as I focus on the “ic.” It starts with our national retreat where we hold a weekend of activities. By hosting several informational and social services, brothers are encouraged to get to know each other. Whether it’s attending a church service at a brother’s church, celebrating an anniversary with an older brother, tailgating at a Dolphins game, or road tripping to a convention we try to foster an environment where everyone feels valued and included.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your fraternity/sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
Talk to as many members as possible. Join a committee. Establish a reputation as someone who is dependable and accountable. Ask the members what they would like to see accomplished. Set a good example.
How has mentorship helped you get to where you are today? Are there any specific people in your org who have made a significant impact on your life as mentors?
Mentorship is the key to fraternal life. Pas President Dana Moss, Michael Grubbs and Dr. George Koonce took me under their wings and imparted wisdom. I remember passing Bishop Lester McCorn my letter of interest in Anthropology class back at Morehouse. Bishop McCorn stepped in “School Daze.” I will never forget his kindness in leading me to the right people to start my journey in Alpha.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard is an important alternative to what is disseminated in the media and online. The photos and videos inspire others throughout the D9 as well as myself. It is great to see positive reflections of yourself and your people.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
I love the comradery, brotherhood and life-long friendships forged with brothers I might not otherwise know.
Lastly, what does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood means to agree to disagree but remain loyal and true. No questions asked. Someone who wants you to succeed and is willing to always keep it real with you.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Reginald Mathis for his work as the President of the Beta Beta Lambda which has a legacy that spans back to 1937.
Share this on Facebook and help us highlight Reginald Mathis’ chapter.
Leadership Highlight2 days ago
Leadership Highlight: Michelle Banks the Basileus of Sigma Gamma Rho’s Gamma Omicron Sigma Chapter in Jacksonville
Leadership Highlight2 days ago
Leadership Highlight: Sharae Half Sharp the Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta’s Sigma Psi Zeta Chapter in Fort Washington, Maryland
Deltas2 days ago
Leadership Highlight: Takija Gardner the President of Delta Sigma Theta’s Oakland East Bay Alumnae Chapter