Monday, November 19, 2018

Chapter's Achievement Week Events Filled with Enthusiasm, Inspiration and Participation

All the honorees
The Brothers of Gamma Pi closed the books on the 2018 Achievement Week observance on Saturday night, November 17, at the annual Rededication Service held at Howard University's Crampton Auditorium, buoyed into the 108th year of the Fraternity by the powerful challenging words of "not satisfied" from Bro. Mark Jackson, the Grand Keeper of Records and Seal.

About 50 Gamma Pi chapter members rolled up U Street Washington, D.C. in a Que car caravan -- direct from the November monthly chapter meeting -- to attend the service. The Gamma Pi Brothers were part of a full house of about 1,000 Fraternity members who came from near and far to the program, some by chartered bus.

Audience enjoys the program
Gamma Pi put on a spirited Achievement Week of its own, making the Howard program "icing on the cake." Friday night, November 16, the chapter hosted 100 Chapter members and Fraternity guests for the annual Robert Busby/Claudius Brothers Only dinner at Martin's Camelot. It was the first time that Gamma Pi had held the dinner at the plush location. Immediate Past Grand Keeper of Records and Seal Bro. Kenneth Rodgers, a Gamma Pi legend, offered the inspirational words of "unity" at the dinner. Brothers enjoyed a free-form fellowship afterwards. It was one of the best Brothers Only dinners in recent memory, from the atmosphere to the succulent food to the Brotherhood to the message of the evening.

 On Monday, November 12, when Veterans Day was observed, the Social Action committee led a contingent of Omega men who gathered at the P.G. House Men's Shelter in Capitol Heights to deliver suits and shirts to the residents. Marching up to the facility in single file, with the clothes in their possession, the Gamma Pi men were met with enthusiasm and appreciation from the shelter manager on duty. Brothers delivered a total of 35 suits and two dozen shirts to the shelter.

How good and pleasant it is when brethren ...
For Gamma Pi, Achievement Week kicked off on Saturday, November 10, with the chapter's annual communitywide awards program held at the Ernest E. Just Middle School. It was a full house audience that witnessed the bestowing of awards to the following community leaders and chapter members. Bro. Anthony Stewart served as emcee.

Incoming Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsbrooks (Citizen of the Year) and incoming Gamma Pi Vice Basileus Bro. Don Norwood (Omega Man of the Year), led the way in receiving the most coveted awards. Other winners were Kayla Lawrence (Student Athlete of the Year); Ms. Dives Lopes (Educator of the year); Rev. Akil Dickens (Religious Leader of the Year); Past Basileus Bro. Brian K. Long (Super Service Award);  and Bro. Kenneth Rodgers, Immediate Grand Keeper of Records & Seal (Founders Award).

In addition to the awards, the program was highlighted by an insightful and riveting keynote speech by Bro. Theodore "Ted" Johnson, a former Gamma Pi chapter member who is a nationally known commentator on social justice issues, and by the soul-stirring renditions sang by the Gamma Pi Chorale, under the leadership of Bro. Alan Stewart.

Earlier in the day, the Social Action committee organized a Veterans Day program for youth in the Kentland community. The event featured military veteran Omega men sharing their experiences and explaining their role and the impact that African Americans have had on the U.S. Armed Forces.

Congratulations to Brother Teddy Taylor and the Achievement Week committee for an exciting and challenging week. Brothers who engaged in the week's events clearly felt re-energized after an uplifting series of activities.









Sunday, September 30, 2018

Without Clones, Gamma Pi Pulls Social Action "Double Duty"

Bro. Hines explains Project ENRICH to students and families
There was a lot of good college football action on Saturday, September 29. Some great matchups were on TV and some even  more meaningful ones could be found in person at one of the local area college stadiums. Yet two teams of Brothers from Gamma Pi - with some overlap - managed to fully participate in two major community service projects simultaneously.

Brothers joined the local contingent of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and other Divine Nine organizations and community groups for a daylong scholarship fair at Charles Flowers High School in Springdale. There, Gamma Pi's Project ENRICH program, headed by Bro. Willie Hines,  advertised its upcoming October 6 start for the 2018-19 academic year and registered new students for the program in the process. Scholarship Chairman Bro. Tony Williams was also in tow.

These Brothers assisted at  Surrattsville Community Day
Chapter members also took part in the Surrattsville Community Day program during which the NAACP team, led by Chairman Brother Melvern McCottry and co-chair Lucious Toney , registered new voters on site at the venue. All of this was led by the Social Action team headed by Bro. Kevin Greenwood. Bro Basileus Tony Lee, his "chapter-leased helicopter" down for repairs, managed to shuttle between both events to show support and greet members of the community.

Both events were crowded throughout the day and it was a fantastic opportunity for members of the Prince George's County community to participate in and witness the outcome of Gamma Pi's initiatives to better the community. The Cardinal Principle of UPLIFT was on full display all day.

The benefits to the Community were clear and direct. In the case of the scholarship fair, the chapter was able to share information about Project ENRICH with more than 50 students and families and and sign many of them up for the program. Brochures, flyers and website information was provided to people who visited Gamma Pi's booth and registrations occurred onsite at the table.

For those who encountered Gamma Pi at the Surrattsville Community Day event, the community benefits were obvious. Residents were able to learn more about the Fraternity and chapter and the support programs it offers in the local community and, most importantly were able to register to vote.

Gamma Pi showed Saturday how one chapter through one committee and one vision can make the difference in one community. They don't call us the Super Chapter for nothing. They just call us!




















 .

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