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:

*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!