Monday, August 27, 2018

Back To School with the Brothers of Gamma Pi

Brothers and other Divine Nine members pose 
As the summer dog days drags to a close, it is a time of year that most young kids dread -- the return to school. The laziness of summer and its carefree days are practically over. But one thing the kids in the Kentland Community do not dread this time of year, and that is seeing the Brothers of Gamma Pi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. for the annual Back to School Backpack Drive.  On Saturday, August 25, Gamma Pi once again made it an affair to remember.

Th Super Chapter donated more than 60 backpacks to Kentland students during Saturday's event. A team of about 30 Brothers joined Basileus Tony Lee and Social Action Chairman Kevin Greenwood at the community center for the daylong giveaway. In addition to book bags, the students and their parents were able to select form an array of other supplies like pens, pencils, binders and notebooks. The supplies were provided to Gamma Pi to give to the students by its partner, Friendship Charities Foundation, Inc.

Basileus Tony Lee
and Social Action Chair Greenwood
"This is why we do the work that we do, to see the smiles on the faces of these youth and their parents. You never know when you may be providing supplies for a future doctor, lawyer or scientist," said Basileus Lee.

“It is very important that our children start out their school year on the best possible footing. Unfortunately, many do not have the resources to have a new backpack, writing utensils, folders or any of the essentials they will need to start the school year on a positive note," said Social Action chair Greenwood. "There is no greater feeling than to see how happy and excited the students are when they receive their “back to school” items. The Men of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc will always put our best foot forward to help the youth in our communities across the world. This is what we do!”

The event included a moon bounce, martial arts demonstration,dancing exhibition and the crowd-smashing hop routine by Gamma Pi's Kevin Ford, Jr., David Jackson and Ben Greene. By the time they were done, many of the young and old in the audience were trying to emulate them with their own "hop" moves.
Bro. KRS Norwood greets youth and parents 
The weekend Back to School event featured several other service organizations, including a local chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and a foundation of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. All the participating organizations were lined up along the outer walls of the gymnasium with their exhibition tables.

Gamma Pi has a long history of involvement in the Kentland community, having operated the chapter's Que Kidz initiative there for several years until recently when a leadership change occurred at the facility. Residents of the community still know and respect and look forward to Gamma Pi coming to the neighborhood and it showed in the crowds and activity that The Super Chapter attracted to its table.

Gamma Pi broadcast much of the event on Facebook Live. To watch the rebroadcast, go to www.facebook.com/gammapichapter.

Additional video clips at www.twitter.com/gammapiques









Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gamma Pi's Luther Burse Honored With Living Tribute at Fort Valley State

View of the sprawling campus at Fort Valley State University
Gamma Pi Chapter is one of the most diverse chapters in all of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. It enjoys the makeup of Brothers from different generations and from so many walks of professional life, from leaders in medicine, law and business to military veterans, government executives, nonprofit chiefs and of course, education. In fact, the chapter is home to at least two college presidents. One of those pioneers in education, Brother Luther Burse, Sr., PhD., got the tribute of a lifetime recently for his service and commitment to higher education when Fort Valley State University in Georgia unveiled a fountain in his honor.
Bro. Dr, Burse visits fountain named in his honor

Bro. Dr. Burse served as the fifth president at Fort Valley from 1983-88. The new edifice on the campus was unveiled on May 1. It is a continuously flowing water fountain, beautifully engraved with his name and an excerpt from one of his many inspiring addresses. The fountain is erected on Fort Valley’s main campus. Students, alumni, friends and supporters, along with faculty and staff, have been invited by the University to visit the “Future Fountain” that now stands forever in Bro. Dr. Burse’s honor. Bro. Prior to coming to Fort Valley, Bro. Dr. Burse served as interim president at Cheyney University in Pennsylvania.

As many in central Georgia know, Fort Valley is affectionately called “The Fountain City”, hence the “fountain” on campus and of course, the annual Fountain City Classic football “war” between Fort Valley State and nearby Albany State.

Bro. Dr. Burse is one of a handful of 60-year Omega Psi Phi members in the Gamma Pi Chapter, and among just a few in the entire five-state Second District, which encompasses Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. He has received numerous awards for his service to the Fraternity (including the Second District Founders Award) and for his contributions to higher education and especially in the support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Another view of the fountain
In Gamma Pi, Brother Burse is known for his smooth demeanor and his sage advice about Omega, education and about life in general, and for neither looking nor acting his age, as he is in his early 80s. With pride, among the Brothers, he always lets it be known loudly that he crossed The Burning Sands at “Psi Psi” Chapter in the Bluegrass State in 1955, before many Gamma Pi members were even born. He and his late wife and life partner. Dr. Mamie Burse (July 2017), were consistent fixtures at their respective alma maters attending cultural, fundraising and athletic events and even serving in leadership capacities.

Bro. Mickey Burnim, Ph.D., who retired last year as Bowie State University’s president after 10 years, is the other former college president who is a member of Gamma Pi Chapter. Another former Gamma Pi member became president of a college in Indiana after relocating from the area many years ago.

What a great tribute! Send Bro. Burse congratulations via email: lutherburse@comcast.net



Sunday, April 1, 2018

Gamma Pi Talent Hunt '18 Excites and Electrifies

It was hard to drive past Charles Flowers High School in Springdale on Saturday, March 17, and not feel compelled to stop in. The bopping sounds of jazz saxophones, concert pianos, high-pitched and guttural low vocals along with the whoosh of dance routines transformed the school into a mini-version of Amateur Night at the Apollo. That was the best way to describe Gamma Pi's successful Talent Hunt '18.

It was a good turnout at the school auditorium as the crowd got into it from being presented a really good show. A a total of 18 contestants fought it out for category prizes as well as the top overall prize that would send them to the District Talent Hunt competition in Baltimore in late April. The opt overall winner was Nia Harris Burnley, a senior at Bishop McNamara High School who  performed a classical selection on piano, "Moonlight Sonata Movement 3," by Beethoven. Several other students placed in individual categories such as Dance, Contemporary Piano, Classical Vocals and  Contemporary Instrumental among others.

The show opened in a bold way with a bellowing opera-like booming bass solo  by 10th grader  Solomon Ouyukwu, of Flowers, who sang a classical piece, O Cessated di Piagrami by Scarlatti. It ended with raucous drum solo by Immanuel Cooper, an 11th grader who is also a student at Flowers. Both performers brought down the house.

People know good talent when they see it, or hear it, which is why they clapped and cheered for jazzy saxophone solos and piano concertos, all with the same fervor. It is why they were awed by both rhythmic dance moves to a spiritual classic and the the sounds of thunderous drum solos.

Special thanks to Talent Hunt chairman Bro. Leroy Barton, Jr., Ph,., and his committee consisting of Brothers Andrew Clarke, Alphonso Liggins, Sr., Luciud Toney, Mark A. Roscoe, Dexter Rountree. Joseph Williams, Jr.,Aaron Ajani, Tony Boyd, Richard Allison II (emcee), Derrick Frayer, Terry Satterfield, Sr., PhD., Don D Myles, Donald Herring, Sr., Bruce Edwards, Don Norwood, Tony Williams, Rev. Brian King, Sr., Marcus Davis, Gordon Sampson, Gavin Milligan, Terence Hare, James Pegues and Lawrence Dukes.


CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM




Brothers Meet with State Legislators in Visit to Maryland Capital

Omega men are known for taking charge and going where the action is. The Brothers of Gamma Pi did just that recently by hosting other Second District chapters for an issues-focused visit to the State Legislature. The Annual “Ques in Annapolis” meeting brings together chapter members and lawmakers, giving concerned Omega men an opportunity to come face-to-face with state leaders to talk about progress in initiatives that impact citizens in the communities where Gamma Pi and other chapters serve.

More than 90 Omega men participated in the daylong program including 35th Second District Representative Bro. Sherman Charles. About one third of those in attendance were from Gamma Pi, said Legislative Co-Chair Brother Richard W. Allison II, wh organized the event. During the day, the contingent of Omegas visited both the House and Senate chambers and they got in a tour of the historic State House building.

“This event planted the seeds of a vision throughout the District.  A vision where we can begin to personalize our relationships as Chapters with State Legislators in an effort to facilitate social action change,” said Bro. Allison. “A vision that will allow us to leverage our size and reach to impact positive change in our communities.“

The day’s activities also included sitting in on a live committee meeting, touring the Governor’s Mansion, and for Brothers, two especially meaningful activities: lunching at the Asbury United Methodist Church, the oldest African American church in Annapolis and one the pastorate of Brother Founder Bishop Edgar A. Love; and visiting Gamma Pi Chapter member and State Senator Bro. Ulyssess Currie.

Speaking of Bro Currie, it was announced that he and another Omega man in the legislature, Bro. Frank S. Turner, will be the namesakes for two new awards to be presented annually. They were both inaugural recipients of these new awards during the Ques in Annapolis activities. It was a great day to be an Omega man. The Founders would have been extremely proud.