Thursday, October 30, 2008

National Science Foundation to Honor Legacy of Bro. E.E. Just

By Bro. Wesley Jarmon

The National Science Foundation will sponsor its first ever symposium on the life and legacy of Ernest Everett Just. This one-day symposium will be held on the campus of Howard University, November 21, 2008, in the Carnegie Building. This symposium will be free and open to the public; however, pre-registration will be required to attend. Please see for more information about this purely academic
and educational learning experience.

This symposium seeks to draw attention to Dr. Just’s contributions to medicine, biology, and to other scientific research by bringing together a group of distinguished scientists from areas of research in cell and developmental biology and ecolo
gy that all relate in some way to Just and his work. The timing and location of this symposium are significant: the year 2008 is the 125th anniversary of Just’s birth, and Ernest Just was a faculty member at Howard University throughout his scientific career.

Dr. Kenneth R. Manning, the author of the “Black Apollo of Science” (the life of Ernest Everett Just) will be the key note speaker at the luncheon for this symposium. Lunch will also be provided to those that register in time for this symposium. Please visit the site listed above for more information or you can call Wesley Jarmon at (301) 938-7883 to address some of your questions. Also visit , the website of the Ernest Everett Just Foundation, Inc. (Photo at top: Gamma Pi members with Bro. Just's daughter).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Getting Ready for Achievement Week 2008

By Bro. Patrick Johnson

Please join “The Super Chapter” for its 35th Achievement Week Program on Saturday, November 15, 2008. The program will be held at the Drew-Freeman Middle School (2600 Brooks Drive) in Suitland, MD at 1:00 pm. The theme for this occasion is “Three Looks, One Focus: Family/Fraternity/Friendship.” This program recognizes the achievements of citizens, educators, religious leaders, students, and our fraternity brothers within our community. This year’s speaker will be Gamma Pi’s own, Bro. Dr. Mickey L. Burnim, President of Bowie State University.

Also, please join Gamma Pi at the Achievement Week Brothers-only dinner, held on Wednesday, November 12th at Andrews Air Force Base Clubhouse.

Originally designed to promote the study of Negro life and history, today Achievement Week is used to seek out and give due recognition to those individuals at the local and national level who have made a noteworthy contribution toward improving the quality of life for Black Americans. Below is a video clip from last year's Achievement Week with Brother Ernest Green of the historic Little Rock Nine.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Project ENRICH Gives Students A Leg Up

Scholarship is a primary focus at Gamma Pi chapter and that was never more evident than Saturday, October 18, when the chapter held the opening ceremony for its fast-growing Project ENRICH program. A near-full auditorium of parents and 9-12 graders from Prince George’s County gathered on the campus of Bowie State University to kick off the 2008-09 version of the program that the chapter restarted a few years ago after a long hiatus. The venerable Bro. Roland Byrd, who runs the program, led the way with his usual professorial demeanor, challenging students and their parents to full participation and nothing less than unbridled enthusiasm. “It’s an investment in your life - an investment in your future.”

If you have never attended the Project ENRICH opening ceremony, it is very much like Opening Convocation at college. Everyone has their favorite memories of a professor or administrator who "tells it like it is" and doesn't mince any words at the podium. Gamma Pi's stalwart brother Roland Byrd is that man. Students love him and "fear" his strict policies. Parents know that in their absence during the Saturday sessions, Brother Byrd and his band of dedicated Omega men will "keep them in line" and there won't be any mess. Brother Byrd is a throwback to HBCU college professors and administrators from "back in the day." If you missed the opening program Saturday, you really missed something special.

Bowie State University President and Omega man Dr. Mickey L. Burnim joined Basileus Teddy Taylor and Gamma Pi's Joseph Carpenter onstage to start this year's program.

Project ENRICH meets one Saturday monthly for a three-hour session where students are taught academic, social and personal responsibility skills that lead to their college matriculation.

Learn more about Project ENRICH at the Gamma Pi Web site. Read this blog to follow project ENRICH throughout the school year. See video below from Saturday's ceremony.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Self-Marginalization: The Unregistered African American Voter

By Bro. Dr. Gerald Folsom

Caught in the somber roads and disillusioned rules of the pre-1965 “deep South” in America, I hear the cries. Mixed in the overpopulated and close proximities of the government housing projects of the pre-1965 “promised-land of the North” in America, I hear the cries. It’s the cries of generations preceding us; confessing to America that African Americans are citizens and with that citizenship comes the right to vote. Then, a celebratory excursion, the 1965 Voting Rights Act landed upon America and America could no longer legally be the same. Our grandmothers and grandfathers, our mothers and fathers, and our people had been given the power of the ballot box.

As time has moved immensely into the 21st century, African Americans have come to make up approximately 16.4 million voters. Celebrate, maybe not? There continues to be approximately 7.5 million African Americans eligible and not registered to vote. Self-marginalization? From the local, state, and national levels, the power of the ballot box is the vessel we use to spread our voices. This vessel must remain open at all times and never closed. We, as African Americans, have a solemn obligation not to close this vessel leading to our own self-marginalization.

Gamma Pi Chapter has taken up the mantle of keeping this vessel open. Under the leadership of Bro. Mel McCottry, Gamma Pi has spent countless hours at malls, grocery stores, sports and learning facilities, and other places living out Omega’s cardinal principle of Uplift. Uplift will move a community from self-marginalization to vitality and vibrancy. Gamma Pi Chapter can stake claim to registering thousands of people in the Prince Georges County, Maryland area by conducting continuous “non-partisan” voter registration in conjunction with the local NAACP. This is a step toward freeing up a small portion of the unregistered African Americans in this country.

Throughout the thunder, lightning, wind, and rain; Gamma Pi Chapter has provided a model of Uplift in one local community. The marginalized are reclaiming their voices. The vessel still remains open and the ballot box is still our mouthpiece. We can not turn back to those somber roads of the South nor those overpopulated communities of the North. Our truth must keep marching onward!