The Divine 9 – Pioneering Civil Rights, Raising Prominent Leaders, and Serving the Community – GDN Exclusiveby Afi Osakwe, GDN Contributing Writer November 11, 2020
Historically, Black Greek letter organizations (Divine 9), fraternities and sororities, have a rich history that began in 1906 with the organizing of Alpha Phi Alpha sorority. Eight more Greek letter organizations were eventually added, five at Howard University, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’ alma mater. Collectively, Divine 9’s power influences all areas of socioeconomic and political life.
The Divine 9 have a rich history of pioneering civil rights, raising prominent leaders, and serving the community. The nearly 2 million members are community leaders, civic activists and philanthropists adept at raising money. They recognize that mainstream society has served to denigrate them as second-class citizens. And what they are doing typically in the work of the Divine 9 is trying to deconstruct that notion. They embrace a moral responsibility to enrich their communities.
Vice President-Elect Harris, a member of one of the Divine 9, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, said during her acceptance speech on being selected as Joe Biden’s running mate, “Family is my beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha, our Divine 9, and my HBCU brothers and sisters.” Divine 9 members were ecstatic, energized, and swiftly orchestrated a strategic non-partisan movement to get people registered and to the polls while fighting voter suppression.
In a Greater Diversity News (GDN) interview Dr. Antonio Knox, who served for four years as the fortieth Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, shared the vision of unified strategic civic engagement. The strategy was explored and promoted during a panel discussion on August 3, 2018 at the Fifth Annual Alumni Leaders Summit of the National HBCU Alumni Associations Foundation and the National NCCU Alumni Association at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law. The Conference promoted “A Call to Colors” and the NCCU Civic Engagement and Advocacy Committee (CEAC), the alumni model of A Call to Colors.
Knox stated, “[Omegas] recognize the opportunity that [GDN publisher] Peter Grear brings to the table of coming together [under the banner of “A Call to Colors” HBCU…student civic engagement through voter registration, education and mobilization (VREM).”]
Divine 9 members embrace “A Call to Colors” as a powerful model of civic engagement. It is transactional cooperation for corporations seeking to invest in diversity and inclusion as well. Many Divine 9 members are employees of Fortune 1000 and other top United States industries. Qualified and gifted HBCU student internships will benefit our corporate supporters and our platform is beneficial to all involved.
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