Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hazing.....JUST SAY NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Wishing you and your family a happy, and safe, Thanksgiving. I am thankful for being in the land of the living, and my loving husband who has been my best friend and more importantly my support system for all of these years! That one day that we met in Gospel Choir and he came up to me and said "God told me you were going to be Wife" was life changing for me. Funny because I didn't even know his name, but it was something special about him. After getting to know him, I wanted to fix him up with my best Friend Monique, but it was my mom that made me realize he was the one. I am thankful every single day that God allowed him to be a HUGE part of my life! Since everyone is asleep, I figured I would take this time to work on my next blog.....

Okay...back to the regular scheduled program....This blog will focus on HAZING!

So I get this question all the time, did I have a "process", did I go through some "things" when I joined my organization. In a nutshell, and to be quite honest, YES! However, my stance on hazing is this, don't do it, don't participate in it, and report it! As the bible says, when I was a child, I spoke like a child, acted like a child when I became older I put away childless things (1 Corinthians 13:11) Hazing has gotten completely out of control. PEOPLE ARE DYING!!!! It's not worth it!

Although when you hear the word "hazing" you automatically think fraternities and sororities, but it happens in other organizations as well. I was heartbroken when I heard about Robert Champion, a 26 year old who died from "allegations of being hazed" from the famous Marching 100 band at Florida A&M University. It has not been determined and they are still investigating his death, but the fact that they fired Dr. Julian White, the prominent, well-respected band Director makes me feel a certain way. A Former band member also spoke out about what he experienced when he was a member of the Marching 100 as well. My heart is heavy and although I did not know Mr. Champion personally, my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this trying time. I had a family member attend FAMU and he was a member of the Marching 100, and my husband also had several people members of the band as well, and the stories they told us were horrific! I can't believe one would allow themselves to endure pain just to be in a BAND. It's B.A.N.D.!!!! I had a long discussion with my husband he vowed that if our children are going to music majors they will NOT attend an HBCU. He was very adamant about it. If you want to know more about the case, click here:

http://www.11alive.com/rss/article/214413/40/Former-FAMU-band-member-directors-knew-about-hazing

*Side note* Please lift the Champion family in your prayers especially during this time. Holidays are a tough time to lose anyone.

I will never forget having a dinner at my house, and my husband and I had a very deep conversation with a few friends of ours who pledged Sigma Alpha Iota, Phi Mu Alpha, and Kappa Kappa Psi at various HBCUs. They were sharing their experiences about the process. I was looking at them in amazement. Being a music major myself, I could not imagine pledging a predominately "WHITE" organization at an HBCU and getting hazed to THAT degree. I went to a PWI and sure we had cute things that we did, but their process was similar to pledging a BGLO. Probate Shows, Step Shows, Strolling/Strutting all sounded like a White Org trying to be "down" like a Black Greek Organization. This is the problem that I personally have with HBCUs. Our friends made a joke with me and said almost every single organization on an HBCU campus has a "hazing ritual" that you have to go through in order to be a member. This made me appreciate my decision NOT to attend an HBCU when I was going to college. I was accepted to several, and I decided that since I was trying to major in Opera, it would be best if I attended a PWI since most Opera Singers were White. Back then I felt that since I had to compete against them in the real world once I graduated, I needed to go to school with them to experience my competition.

In college I was involved in several organizations, but to go through a HAZING process for band, choir, PMA, KKP, SAI, TBS??? That's just foolishness! I was very active in my school, being the president of both Delta Sigma Theta, and Sigma Alpha Iota, Secretary of Alpha Phi Omega, and several others. Sure I was the only Black in these orgs. (except for DST of course) when I pledge the predominately White Orgs, and things that I went through was nothing compared to taking 50 strokes a night that they had to endure. (Now DST was another matter) The sad thing is when I attended a National SAI convention, the Blacks kind of ostracized themselves from the Whites. I just shook my head in pure shame.

Now back to pledging a BGLO: Look, I get it, you want to be accepted among your peers, you want to be liked by your Big Sisters/Big Brothers, you want to have the privilege of saying you were "Made" or you didn't "Skate." I was that way when I was younger. I loved the fact that I was "Made" in my chapter. I felt I shared a special bond only with those who were "Made" like I was. Looking back on it now, who gives a crap about all of that if you are buried six-feet under??? Is trying to fit in worth all of that? There have been Sooooo many hazing issues reported this last decade, and one death, is one death too many in my opinion. The type of animalistic behavior that I have read regarding what people endure while trying to "belong" makes me sick to my stomach. Paddling someone so bad that they kidneys fail? Urinating Blood? Losing your eyesight? Having to go on dialysis? Are you serious?? This is nothing but gang-like activities to me. Look I am from the South Side of Chicago, and I remember if you wanted to be in a gang, you had to go through gang initiation. So I ask you what is the difference between the two? You get jumped in to be a member of their "group", throw up their "sign", and wear their colors." Sounds familiar? It's the same thing. Look when I was young and dumb, I was like hmmm they are paper because they didn't go through A, B, and C., so they may be a Delta but they are NOT my soror.

Looking back at my words, and my actions, that was stupid. What, I 'm a better soror because I submitted myself to go through something illegal, and I feel I am better than you because you did it the RIGHT WAY? I had the mentality that the only way to become a "true" member, a soror" is to go through some stuff. Now that I think about it, NONE of that matters. All that matters to me is you are working hard in the organization, doing the right thing, and upholding the motto of your org. That is what I try to do in my organization each and every single day. Unlike before, I could care less how long you were "online" what you went through, and the fact that you crossed at 3:15 in the morning. That stuff doesn't matter to me anymore. What matters is what chapter are you currently ACTIVE in? What type of work do you do in the community?

For most organizations, the applications you will have a section about hazing and asking you to sign stating you will not submit yourself to hazing. Please I beg you when you sign it take heed to it. Your process can be a wonderful, loving, haze-free environment. So in a nut shell, when it comes to hazing, JUST. SAY. NO.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What's Next? (Steps of Becoming a Member)
















The number one question that I receive from people who have emailed me, or commented on my blog who want to go Greek (Both Men and Women) are "What are the next steps"? "What else should I be doing?" Since I receive this question a lot, I figured I would focus my next blog around it.

High GPA? Check

Community Service Hours? Check

Letters verifying community service on the Company's Letterhead? Check!

Letter(s) of Recommendation (if required by the organization of your choice) Check!

Allowing Sorority Members/Fraternity members to get know you? Check!

Getting involved on your college Campus? Check

Researching the Organization of your choice? Check

Letter of Interest to the Organization? Check

Attending if not all, most of the organization's events? Check

Rush or Informational Suit/Dress? Check

Interview Dress/Suit? Check

Money Saved up in the Bank for Membership Intake if selected? Check

Expressing your interest to a member if you feel comfortable or know them personally? Check

Carrying yourself in a respectful way on campus at all times? Check

If you can go through this list, and check EVERYTHING off, then there is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing else you need to do! (If however there are other things you will be instructed on what else is needed at the organization's Rush/Informational).

The list I provided above are things that you can check off to insure a possible successful chance to membership. Why do I say possible? Because most of these organization STILL requires that the chapter votes on who they want to extend an invitation to membership. The one thing that I tell ALL perspective members, is no matter what organization you apply for, you want to be SO on point with your Packet/GPA that you WANT them will have a HARD time NOT selecting you for membership.

Once again, I need to stress that even if you are able to check everything off of this list, it does NOT guarantee you an invitation, but it will put you in a greater position of getting selected for membership. So what if you have everything on this list above, is there anything you should be doing in the meantime? I would say other than focusing on school there is nothing you can do. Oh wait, I would advise that you become approachable, and talkative/helpful at their events. Since most organization requires a vote, you want to make sure they know you right? Now speaking at an event, or volunteering for one of their community service events is one thing. Stalking them however is another! Remember, although we are Greek, we like you are students as well. We have to study, in some cases work, AND we have sorority/fraternity business to tend to. So the BEST way to get to know us is if you have a class together, if we are involved in other organizations on campus together, OR by just attending our events.

Image is another important factor. Look at this way....Take a good look in the mirror. Are you considered the class clown? The biggest flirt? The campus gossip? The loud mouth? A Drunk? If you see the men on campus dressed very nicely, and you have your pants saggin, do you think you fit that mold? If the sorority girls on campus dress classy, and you always wear things that are either too short, too tight, do you think you would fit in nicely? When you go to a party, are you the girl always grinding against multiple men? Is every other word out of mouth a four-letter word? Now this all sounds like common sense right? Well I thought so, until I personally have encountered some people who wanted to join my organization, but portrayed bad public behavior. And when they didn't get selected for membership they were dumbfounded! Imagine that! One particular female had a 3.6 GPA, and tons of community service, but she was known on campus as the "campus whore." Surely NO organization wants to extend an invitation to someone of this statue. Why? Because once she joins, then the entire organization could possible be known as that.

I ask people all the time (both men and women) what attracts you to the organization of your choice? Do they have the highest GPAs? Did they receive Chapter of the Year? Do they handle themselves like gentlemen/ ladies on campus? If so, then wouldn't you think that they would want to keep the same image with the next line?

I hope this answers your question about what are the next steps! As I said before, following these steps will not guarantee you membership, however it will give you the tools and you can use it as a guide to reach your goal.

(And for all of you undergraduates who don't make it the first couple of times.....Remember.....There's always the Alumnae/Alumni level)

Good luck to you on your quest to Greekland....A Wonderful Place to live!

Ciao for now!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SHUT YO MOUTH........















Okay, I get it, You are jumping up with Glee because you received the phone call of your life.....You got accepted into XYZ Sorority/Fraternity! You want to shout it to the mountain top. You want to tell everyone important in your life. You want to tell your boo/significant other, Teacher, Mom, Dad, BFF, Ex-BFF, Sister, Brother, Auntie, Uncle, Grandparent, Your Dog, (well telling your dog is not a bad thing unless it's the dog from that Bush Baked Beans Commercial...Roll that beautiful beans footage haha)

As much as you want to Shout it to the Mountain Tops, Discretion is KEY!!!! You really need to keep your mouth shut and keep who you tell to a BARE minimal. I never understood why folk want to go "Run Tell Dat." One thing that I have learned is this is a new generation, and things that use to happen back when I pledged doesn't happen anymore. When I joined, we kept our mouth SHUT! We were afraid that if our Big Sisters found out that we were talking, or that the yard found out they were having a line, (or who was online) they would drop the line. In the past, I have seen this happen. A friend of mine who was pledging AKA told everybody and her mama that she was going through the process, and they refunded her money and said "no thanks." (This was many years ago, before the MIP process)

What did I do when I join and who did I tell??? The person who wrote my letter of recommendation. I felt I owed her THAT much because I wouldn't be at the position that if she didn't write my letter. My mom didn't know, my sisters/brothers didn't know, Heck my BEST friend didn't even know. I wanted them to be surprised when they saw those Three Beautiful Letters across my chest. Wouldn't you want the same type feeling? I will never forget when I finally told my BFF. I was a Delta for about two months, I came home for the summer, and I invited her over. Although it was the summer in Chicago, I had on a windbreaker. When she came in, I told her I had a huge secret I was keeping from her, she was like what??? What?? Tell me! At that moment, I opened up my windbreaker with those beautiful letters written across my chest. She grabbed me, Hugged me with tears in her eyes. She knew how much I wanted to be a Delta, and was extremely happy for me. She couldn't believe that I kept it from her. She was like quick; lets take a ride....We went to Evergreen Plaza (Otherwise known as EverBlack in Chicago) and went to the Greek Store and Sistagirl hooked me up with a lot of paraphernalia.

Now isn't that a feel-good story? Wouldn't you like to experience that as well? I never understood why prospective members want to RUN TELL DAT so quickly to folks, especially people at the Alumnae Level. Okay, I get why you would tell your parents, for example, you may need them to chip in and help pay for the pledging costs. But at the Alumnae Level, Really???? Other than your Spouse, Your Sponsor/Someone, who wrote your letter of recommendation, No one else needs to know.

Some of you get it; I have heard from quite a few of you BEFORE you were picked, and AFTER you became a member....Some I have bought paraphernalia for even though we have only met e-styles. (internet style).

So please for the love of God, Keep your Mouth Shut! Trust me you will appreciate it SO much more after the fact if you can share a similar story with your close family/friends that I did.

My Mommy is.....My Daddy is.....















So you've seen them,,,,T-Shirts that said My Mommy is a.......My Daddy is a...... I think they are cute! Especially the shirts for babies and Toddlers. So what are my feelings on T-Shirts like this? Personally I don't see anything wrong with them. When I was in College, and I attended the National Convention in Chicago for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, I saw a shirt that said- My Lady is a Delta, (Which I HAD To grab for my then Boyfriend Now Husband) and I saw another one that said My Daughter is a Delta, (Which I purchased for my mother).

My Husband who is an Alpha, wore it to a Delta Union Party to represent me, and he wore it proud. My Mom wore the shirt so much, it started to fade and I told her that she couldn't wear it anymore.

The shirts that I purchased for the both of them, spelled out the name...my Daughter is a D-E-L-T-A. I stress this because I have seen shirts that says My Mother/Father is a then the GREEK letters. That is a No! No! and I do not understand why vendors would even make shirt of this nature. As much as we love our love ones and they want to show off their love for your organization HOWEVER they should not be allowed to wear your Greek Letters. I especially hate those shirts that say My So and So is a ...(which is small letters) and DELTA SIGMA THETA, or KAPPA ALPHA PSI...in Greek Letters mind you in LARGE Letters. If you were walking down the street and you saw someone in a shirt like this from a distance, you will instantly think they are a member of the organization. I have ran into that SOOOO many times! Thinking someone was my soror and they weren't.

I would also REFRAIN from wearing such shirts if you desire to be a member of that organization as well. Some shirts are purchased as gifts and should NOT be worn.....
Now one of the BEST shirts I have seen (And I am still look to purchase one) is My Sister is a Delta Sigma Theta (In Greek Letters) in the front, and in the back it says And so am I :-)

Future WHAT??????








(Shirts for Babies, and Toddlers are okay,,,, But NOT for middle-school and high school students.)

For the life of me I really don't get the whole "Future Greek" Phenomenal. Think about when you were trying to pledge,,,,,You worked HARD for those letters, especially those of you that were either first generation to attend college, or the first person in your family to pledge a Greek Letter Organization. So why would you feel that your daughter or son is entitled of becoming a member of your organization simply because you are? If they are babies, then sure it's cute, when they get older, I don't think it's so cute. I never liked Future Greek Shirts because it sets the child up for failure. Now purchasing "My Mom is a ......My Dad is a......I can get with that, because they are simply acknowledging the fact that their parent, aunt, etc is Greek, but to say Future? No, not a good look!

What you are doing is installing entitlement issues in your children. Shirts such as these simply say that no matter what the chapter vote says, as long as I meet the bare requirements, I am entitled to be a member of this BGLO simply because my Mom/Dad is a member. It can also backfire, because while you are dressing up in your beloved organization, They may grow up and join a completely different organization. I did! Although I wasn't aware at the time when I was a child, my family consists of nothing but the Blue and White (And I mean there are TONS of them) however when the time came for me to choose the best organization for me, I choose Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Imagine attending a family reunion and they pull out those old baby pics and seeing you in a "future" shirt as you are rocking the Tee shirt of the organization you actually pledge?

What really gets my blood boiling is seeing Teenagers rocking "Future Shirts" as well. It's one thing to have on a ones-y being a toddler, but come on now, she is driving around with a Future shirt on? REALLY???? That is really setting him/her up for failure, and honestly it's not a good look! Look I get it, we are living in a day and age where it's almost impossible to find a Line where there is not at least one female with a child, which is why I decided to write this blog. So if you are on the quest to join a BGLO and you have a child, PLEASE do not dress them in Future shirts if you are able to join. You will get a lot of "side eye" looks from your sorors. TRUST ME!

Stay Tuned:

Next Blog Post will discussed "My Mother Is, My Friend is, etc....To wear or not to wear is the question..... Hmmm.....

Ciao!!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm too Shy......




So you're new on campus, you don't know anyone, you don't know where to start, but one thing you DO know is you want to be a member of XYZ. So how do you accomplish this goal since you are so shy??? This is one of the top five questions I receive all the time. Hey I get it, you are shy, you are not the type of person that starts up a conversation with people you don't know. I was (and in some cases still am) that person today. One thing I had to realize is I had to overcome my shyness, and it was imperative to allow the members to get to know me. Now I didn't do this all in one night, it took time. I first started by attending all of their events. I wanted my face to be familiar to them. After a while, they when they saw me on campus, they started speaking to me, which made me feel so good. For the events they had about awareness, I made it a mission to make my voice heard. I also became very active in the community as well as on campus. Some of the orgs that I was a member of the Deltas were apart of as well. After being involved in the same orgs as some of the Deltas on campus, I felt comfortable in speaking with them, and at one point, I was able to speak with the president about my quest in joining her organization.

So I would say, take baby steps like I did!

1. Go to the events and support them.
2. Be vocal at these events, make yourself known and noticed at the events.
2. Join other orgs and join committees, and if possible go out for a leadership role

Eventually you will develop the courage to talk to the members of the organization of your choice.

Ciao Bella!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

NEO-ITIST!!!



So you just crossed into *Fill in the blank* -land. After weeks/months of studying, learning necessary information, and finally passing the test, you are finally a member of the Greek organization of your dreams. Now you have developed the disease "Neo-itist" What is that you may ask? It's when a brand new member talk, walk, sleep, and only buys things related to their organization.

For those who are a member of a BGLO, you know exactly what I am talking about. Heck, I have been there a well. When I crossed into Delta Land, everything that I had been red/white or crimson and cream. I was on the internet looking and searching for the fly-est, dopest- *yeah I know you all don't use these words anymore, but I am old school* jackets, shirts, sweaters that were around. My poor husband, bought Alpha Phi Alpha stickers, and he placed them on his coffee mug, his car, his mirror, etc. *He would kill me if he knew I was sharing this info, LOL*

Is something wrong with this, heck naw! You worked hard for those letters, The time you put in, the MONEY you spent, for some of you all (PreMIP) the Blood, Sweat, and Tears. After going through the pledge process *or MIP process* for weeks/months, and I know a few that went through it for an ENTIRE YEAR, you deserve to celebrate this moment by representing your organization by displaying your three Letters!

The only request that I have for brand new members is PLEASE don't forget how it was on the other side. Keep the same friends that you have. As long as you do that, then enjoy rocking your pink and green Shoes, Socks, Shoelaces, Shirt, Hat, and handbag. You are only a Neo once, so enjoy it while you can! I sure did! I rocked red and white as much as I could, and everyday I rep my org in some way shape of form. This range from either having one a hat, pin, shirt, bag, or a key chain.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

CONGRATS!




I wanted to take this time to Congratulate those who have received invitations to join their organization of their choice. Of course I will not put them on blast now, since they are currently going through Membership Intake, but I am thrilled that some of my followers were invited to membership.

I pray your that you are experience is a rewarding one, and I can't wait to see you on the other side of Greekdom! I was thinking about creating a blog for NEO's since there are a lot of things you can learn about Greek Life as a baby Greek, but I have decided to include it here as well....So be on the look out for some post regarding that.

I can't wait to see you all on other side in a few months!

Ciao For Now,

Can I join more than ONE Greek Letter Organization????








It all depends....The pictures above are all the Greek Letter Organizations I was involved with in College.... Three of them are Honors Organization (PTK, KDP, and SAL) One is a music fraternity for women (SAI) and one is a community service organization (APO). Not only was I a member in these organization I was President, and Vice president for almost all of them, so as you can see, I was very involved in my college years. I use to be called a Greek Head because of my involvement, I guess I can see that! :-)

I am happy to report that I am still very active in ALL but one of the organizations I listed. There are many other Greek Orgs such as Christian Greek , other Music Greek Orgs such as KKPsi TBS, Greek Dance Orgs, ect...

I guess my point is, as long as you are not involved in another SOCIAL Greek Org (NPC or IFC or MGC) then you can definitely apply for membership in NPHC.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tips on Joining an Alumnae/Alumni Chapter.....



After receiving several emails from people asking about "How to join an Alumnae Chapter," I figured I would create a "Part II" blog on some helpful tips.

First off, CONGRATS for graduating from college. This is an important milestone in anyone's life, and you should be proud of yourself.

So you have your diploma hanging on your wall, just accepted that "dream job" and everything would be perfect (in your eyes) if you could only join that special organization that you couldn't join in college. What are the first steps you need to take to complete this goal?

1. If you are moving to a new city or state due to a new job, after getting settled, I would suggest that you research major organizations in the area. This varies from the National Urban League, Local chapter of the NAACP, Book Club, etc...Most of the organizations have people who are members of various BGLO. (Black Greek Letter Organizations). This is an excellent way to meet your future sorors/fraternity brothers, (If you are chosen of course).

2. TALKING..... Members of Greek Organizations are EVERYWHERE!!! Church, Your Job, Involved in other organizations, etc., which is why it is important that you become involved in other organizations. If you find someone at your job that is in the org of you choice, invite him/her out to lunch. Find out more about them, and tell them about yourself. Ask them if they have any events and projects coming up that you can be a part of.

3. Google can be your BEST FRIEND!!!! I would suggest using Google to search for local chapters in your areas, AS WELL AS, NPHC in your local area as well. Most large cities have an NPHC chapter. Hopefully, they will also have a website with an event section.

4. Ask around.....Now I know some of you are like,, wait, discretion is the key right???? Well yes, BUT if you have a relative that is a member of the organization that you want to be a part of, then ask him or her if they can research and find out if they have a chapter in your area. Although we are living in the technology age, there are some chapters out there that do not have a website up and running or updated regularly.

5. Attend various events around town.....Not only is this very entertaining, but you never know.....that girl that is your cube mate, just might be a member of the organization you are dying to join. You just never knew it because she doesn't wear pari to work, or doesn't have anything on her desk which displays her organization. Events that come to mind for me are step shows, (There are tons of people that are in alumnae/alumni chapters that will be in attendance), Jazz or Blues Fest, Spoken Word, etc.

These are just a few tips I wanted to share on how to find at least out where the alumnae chapters are. I will update this blog regularly when I think of more tips, so you might want to bookmark it, and check back from time to time....

Ciao for Now!