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Leadership Highlight: James Jones II the Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi’s Roanoke (VA) Alumni Chapter

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 Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.’s Roanoke (VA) Alumni Chapter in Roanoke, VA and did an interview with James Jones II the Polemarch of the chapter. 

The position of Polemarch/president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. James Jones II, who works as a client solutions advisor, has been in the position of Polemarch for two yrs. 

We interviewed James Jones II, who is a Spring 2018 Roanoke (VA) Alumni Chapter 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?

My journey to become a Nupe was filled with challenges and perseverance. Joining my chapter was the fulfillment of a long-cherished dream, and it inspired me to step forward and take on the responsibility of leading the chapter to the best of my abilities. My father is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi (KT Spr 83’). As a military brat I was constantly introduced to different Brothers who always guided me to achievement and success. I owed it to those Brothers I met along the way to become a leader in our organization. 

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?

Each year, we proudly organize the “Stuart Dillard Kappa Relays,” an annual track meet exclusively for middle schools in the city of Roanoke. This exceptional event offers a platform for our talented young black boys and girls to showcase their remarkable skills on the grand stage of a local high school, captivating the entire city with their awe-inspiring performances. Not only does this track meet elevate their abilities to new heights, but it also unites our community as we come together to cheer on and support the youth who represent the future of our city. As the sole sponsor of this event, we have the privilege of recognizing their outstanding achievements through prestigious awards. The children celebrate their hard-earned medals alongside their peers, and proudly return to their respective schools carrying trophies, symbolizing their remarkable accomplishments. 

What made you want to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi?

I grew up seeing first hand what being a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Inc., was all about so I knew there was no other option. As a military brat, I was greeted by members all over the world. Every brother I ever met always treated my father and our family as if we had been family our whole lives and completely made our transitions that much easier. 

What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?

Despite our modest numbers, we embody an unwavering dedication to service that surpasses our size. We may be few in numbers, but our collective strength is undeniable. Each and every brother tirelessly devotes themselves to the betterment of our community. From our youngest members to our most seasoned veterans, we never falter in our pursuit of service and impact. 

How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?

We advise the brothers of James Madison University, the Nu Lambda Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. In our role as the advising chapter, our goal is to equip our young brothers with the essential tools to thrive and excel in their academic and professional endeavors. We are committed to providing them with the guidance and resources they need to navigate their educational journeys and flourish in their chosen fields. 

How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?

One approach we have found effective is organizing regular “Nupe Nights”, where members can reconnect, reminisce, and strengthen their bonds. These gatherings allow for shared experiences and create opportunities for networking and collaboration. Additionally, we leverage technology by establishing online platforms and social media groups dedicated to our alumni network. These digital spaces enable continuous communication, facilitate idea-sharing, and promote a sense of belonging. We strongly believe that a brother feels more connected and involved when his family can be apart of the experience as well. We continuously plan events that allow our members and families to come together for bonding and fellowship. 

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your fraternity/sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?

Know that you will never feel ready for the next step in leadership and that is ok. If you continue to wait until everything is perfect you will miss a lot of opportunities. You are in the position you are in because of how strong and resilient you are. Step up to the call when the right opportunity presents itself and continue to put in the work to be the best leader you can be. 

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 has played an instrumental role in shaping my journey and contributing to my personal and professional growth. Having the guidance and support of mentors has provided me with invaluable insights and encouragement throughout my endeavors. Mentors have shared their wisdom and knowledge that have helped me navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and avoid potential pitfalls. There are countless brothers who have had a major impact on my life but I would to give a special shout out to my father Brother James S. Jones Sr. , Brother Eugene L. Sellers, Brother Emanuel Arnold, and Brother Pink Wimbish III who have always been there for me any time I have called on them. 

Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?

Watch The Yard holds immense importance within Black greekdom as it consistently showcases the genuine love and beauty of our Divine 9 organizations. While many media outlets tend to focus on the negative aspects of our black fraternities and sororities, Watch The Yard remains a steadfast platform that highlights our true splendor and the meaningful impact we have in our communities. It serves as a positive representation, emphasizing our collective strength, resilience, and the transformative work we undertake. By faithfully capturing and celebrating our achievements, Watch The Yard ensures that our authentic narrative shines brightly, inspiring others and fostering a deeper appreciation for our contributions. 

Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?

I feel a certain pride being a member of Kappa Alpha Psi that is unparalleled. Seeing first hand what some of the most intelligent black men are doing in their communities is truly inspiring. Kappa has truly taught me the importance of service and has enriched me with skills to be a better man, father, and husband. 

​Lastly, what does brotherhood mean to you?

Brotherhood represents a deep connection and foundation of trust, loyalty, and genuine care for one another. It means standing together through both triumphs and challenges, offering a helping hand, and providing a shoulder to lean on. Brotherhood is a lifelong commitment to uplifting and empowering each other, fostering personal growth, and celebrating collective achievements. 

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend James Jones II for his work as the Polemarch of the Roanoke (VA) Alumni Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1950

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