Stomp the Yard.
Ask anyone who is under 25 who is not in a BGLO (Black Greek Letter Organization) and those two movies I just listed are the first things that come up.
“Stepping” and “Hazing”
As I write this, i am confronted with stereotypes as well that I have personally heard and dealt with. To give a little background, I myself am a member of BGLO, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. A member since 2005.
My inspiration to become a member wasn’t one of those movies, but I was moved by the concept of joining an organization of like-minded males that leverage their resources and combine ideals for the sake of improving the condition of mankind. Idealistic I know.. but that’s how I am.
All through my intake process (no I am not going into details so don’t ask) We learned many things that in my mind put us in the mentality of our Jewels (Founders), and since I became a member, i can say that outside of religious beliefs, Alpha outlines my steps as a man! It is because of Alpha in many times I have kept from flying off the hinge and becoming indignant and participating in activity that would make the fraternity look bad.
Because once you are a member of these organizations, you carry the organization with you at ALL times. So if you, say rob a bank.. its not “John” robbed a bank, but “John, THE (Insert organization they represent) who robbed the bank”
My personal passion to help and be a better man is not shared by many in execution. I have seen many men of these organizations and women of sororities contribute to such blatantly misrepresentation that it disturbs me but then I come back to the issue of relevance.
Why do these organizations exist?
Often from an outside perspective, its a group of elitist individuals who get together to socialize and eat, drink and be merry, relishing a record of past accomplishments that automatically catapults them into a higher social stratosphere.
But where are BGLOS today? THAT is the question! We are around. Unfortunately when positive things are done we don’t put attention to that or publicize it aggressively. I personally (as a person into marketing and branding) do feel we shouldn’t have to publicize what we are SUPPOSE to do, but given how negativity flies at the speed of light, its incumbent that we let the world know the positive that we do. Chances are you are acquainted with an individual who is a member of these organizations. They don’t make a big deal about working in a shelter, or helping young boys and girls, or doing community service. They are doing their part to make the world better, but instead when folks find out.. the “Stomp the Yard/School Daze” issue comes up.
Also there are many who are members who have grown disenchanted. Many who really believe the ideas and ideals that their organizations were founded upon, but have seen members act contrary to the ideals and are in power and have left them bitter. I was once one those myself. Bitter that all the ideals that I was told and actually believed weren’t as cherished by those in power. I realized though, its never about what others do, whether in a church, fraternity, sorority, company or any other organized entity. It comes down to what YOU do! People see (insert organization) in YOU. So for you Presidents of Chapters, who want to “Reclaim” lost members.. I KNOW the solution to your problem. Walk the walk.. to all members, cherish your ideas and ideals.. and you will SHOW those that are “out of the fold” the Relevance.
To those that are not members, not interested or interested in becoming members. Remember, the organization is nothing but a collective of individuals who formalize the idea. The sum of the whole, and yet mystically individually just as critical.
As relevant as Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, Mary McCloud Bethune, and others.. so are you.
YOU make it relevant.. and you can make it irrelevant!