Typically when an organization celebrates their founders’ day or day of establishment, it is full of celebration, along with a measure of pomp and circumstance. While there is nothing inherently wrong with taking a moment to revel in what is taking place, sometimes, people lose sight of the reason why you are here and what you are supposed to do according to your mission and overall platform. One organization which keeps all in perspective, ranging from understanding why they are established to being focuses on larger social issues happens to be the first intercollegiate fraternal organization designed by African-American men.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., which is established on December 4, 1906 on the campus of Cornell University, marks its 109th Founders’ Day in the upcoming days. The fraternity’s Metro-Atlanta chapters are hosting a series of events that are grounded in social action, networking, worship, and remaining focused on providing service, leadership, and advocacy in the immediate and surrounding communities. As chapter president of the Duluth, GA chapter (as well as the chairman of the Founders’ Day Activities) Michael Jones notes in our discussion on Friday, November 13, 2015, “We encourage members of our fraternity, as well as the general public, to be a part of what we are doing to celebrate our day, as well as renew our commitment to serving our communities”.
Programming covers the dates of December 3-6, 2015. The first day of the celebration (December 3, 2015) starts at 6pm, starting with the fraternity’s Candlelight Vigil starting on the campus of Morehouse College at the MLK Chapel and concluding at the campus of Clark-Atlanta University. Following the vigil, a public forum is hosted at the Brawley Student Center centering on the House Bills (32 and 37), which respectively focus on mandating body-cameras for all members of law enforcement (House Bill 32) to disqualification of district attorneys in specific court cases and proceedings. The second day of the celebration (December 4, 2015) opens with an event for members of the fraternity only (Brotherhood Smoke) at their host hotel, the Intercontinental Hotel (at 3315 Peachtree Road in the Buckhead District) at 7:06pm. Afterward, the public is invited to attend their “Ice Lounge” networking mixer (at the hotel).
Saturday and Sunday programming is grounded in service-related opportunities, including the December 5, 2015 Voteless People is a Hopeless People campaign (from 7:30-9:30am at multiple venues in the metro-area); for the campaign, the fraternity is collecting winter-items (accepting donations of winter coats, blankets, and canned foods) to support one of the area shelters. Afterward, their annual Founders’ Day Brunch takes place at the City Club of Buckhead (from 11:30am-2pm at 3343 Peachtree Road in the Buckhead District), as this event is open to the general public. Sunday, December 6, 2015, concludes their programming with worship at Freedom Christian Ministry (420 Grayson Highway in Lawrenceville, GA) for the 10:30am service. Aaron Rushing, a member of the fraternity, serves as the pastor.
For details, readers are encouraged to visit their social media pages. Founders’ Day related information is available on their 2015 Metro Atlanta Founders’ Day Celebration page; likewise, for details on related programming by all of their metro-area chapters which cover the service areas of Atlanta, East Point-College Park, Riverdale, Decatur, Marietta, Duluth, Stockbridge, and Loganville-Conyers, readers are asked to visit their Alphas of Atlanta, Inc. page.
With a lineage of members including (but not limited to) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, former Atlanta mayors Andrew Young and Maynard Jackson, higher education leaders including Dr. Walter Kimbrough (president of Dillard University) and Wake Forest University School of Law Professor Gregory Parks, and media presences including the late Stuart Scott (of ESPN) and actor Omari Hardwick, members of the fraternity reflect their larger goals and mission of being positive agents of change in multiple fields and professions. Under the mantra of “First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All”, the upcoming celebration of their Founders’ Day encompasses time for celebrating, reflecting, networking, engaging, and remaining focused on making a positive and long-standing impact in the communities in which they are called and needed to serve.