Saturday, April 25, 2009

Building Community Spirit One House at a Time With Gamma Pi

Today, Gamma Pi chapter arose early and went back to work for the second weekend in a row. We're talking manual labor. Brothers this time grabbed their hammers and nails, their electric trimmers, paint brushes, spackling knives and industrial brooms and converged on a small frame house on Esslog Street for a revitalization project as part of Christmas in April. The chapter has participated in the project for many years.

Backed by brute strength and heart and soul that only Omega men can provide, the chapter refurbished a Capitol Heights Maryland home for an elderly Prince George's County resident. She was all smiles and extremely grateful to the Gamma Pi Brothers for taking their Saturday morning and afternoon to improve her living environment The chapter showed up in force to carry out the project. Nearly all of the work was indoors. Painting, spackling, stripping walls of old paint and sanding were among the key projects. Outside work included trimming and removing underbrush and trees on the property. The home is located on Esslog Street. Brother Anthony Kelly coordinated the effort.

Christmas in April is among a number of Social Action projects the chapter has scheduled for the spring. Last week, Gamma Pi played an integral role in the success of Prince George's County's March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon. In previous weeks, the chapter has visited homeless shelters and has organized activities for underprivileged youth in the community. A seniors banquet is on the horizon along with a golf tournament fundraiser. Gamma Pi's moniker as The Super Chapter is well-earned. Enjoy some video clips from today's project:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Washington Press Captures Mardi Gras 2009

The Washington press recently took notice of Gamma Pi's successful Mardi Gras Extravaganza 2009 . The chapter's fundraiser social event was featured in the Washington Afro, a distinguished and historic newspaper serving the African American community. Edgar Brookins, longtime photographer and an Omega Psi Phi Fraternity member, photographed the event for the Afro. You can visit the Afro online to see what Brother Brookins' roving camera caught on March 20 at Martin's Crosswinds in Greenbelt. The end result was a fancy digital collage. Gamma Pi truly appreciates the communitywide support and participation during its most recent Mardi Gras, which took place this year in the face of a brutal global economy. Proceeds are used to fund the chapter's ambitious Social Action programs as well as college scholarships for deserving Prince George's County students.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Giving Support to the March of Dimes

Many people rolled over in their beds this morning when the alarm went off. After all, it was Saturday. No work. No school. No schedule to keep. But for many of the men from Gamma Pi chapter, today was a day to show up and be counted as a way of reaching out to the local Prince George's County community. About 30 Brothers from the chapter showed up and showed out at Watkins Regional Park today to grill, prepare and serve breakfast and lunch to more than 300 people who participated in the annual March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon. The chapter pulled double duty at the event by also manning the various checkpoint stations scattered along the walking course, offering water to walkers.
Today's work for the March of Dimes is part of Gamma Pi's ambitious Social Action agenda.
"They know they can count on us to handle this. They basically leave this portion up to us. They say, 'just do what you do.' This isn't even a mandated event for Omega Psi Phi, but it is for the Alphas and the Zetas and we outnumbered them," said Brother Steven Walls, longtime organizer of the event for Gamma Pi. Activities began at 7 a.m. and Walls and many of the Brothers arrived much earlier -- at the crack of dawn -- to ready the grills and the food. By noon, the Walk-A-Thon crowd had largely cleared out.
Gamma Pi doesn't participate in the actual walking activity, but the chapter is responsible for bringing the event to the county some 15 years ago after it was initially set up in neighboring Charles County. "They've been trying to get us to get a (walk) team together for Gamma Pi. I heard one of the neophytes is talking about putting together a team."
If you didn't make today's activity, visit the March of Dimes on the Web and offer your support. In the short video clip below, Brothers take a few minutes to relax and clown around a bit after the work is done.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blast from the Past: Words from Bro. Luther Burse, Ph.D.

You don't get to be a distinguished 50-year member by sitting on the sidelines. A young Gamma Pi neophyte, Brother Marcus Whitfield, was reading some of his father's back isues of The Oracle and came across an article on Black Inventors penned in the 1970s and published by Bro Dr. Luther Burse. The article (complete with photo) is available here. At the time, Bro. Burse was at Cheyney State in Pennsylvania. The Grand Basileus was Brother Marion Garnett (of Chicago) and Current Grand Basileus Bro. Warren Lee was Second Vice Grand Basileus. The Second District Representative was Bro. Theodore Greer of Newark, Delaware. Interestingly, Bro. James Avery of New Jersey was the Immediate Past Grand Basileus. Omega history can be quite interesting, whether it is the Fraternity's history, a chapter's history or the history of an individual Brother. Read this and you will see how Brothers over the years attain their wisdom and collect so many "friends" in Omega -- from staying involved and contributing throughout their Omega career, which is lifelong.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ernest E. Just Statue A Reality Now

by Brother Wesley Jarmon

On March 18, 2009, at the Governor's Cabinet Meeting with the Board of Public Works, it was announced that the Ernest Everett Just Foundation, Inc. will receive funds up to $150,000 for the creation and erection of a statue bearing the likeness of Dr. Ernest Everett Just that will be permanently placed on the campus of Ernest Everett Just Middle School located at 1300 Campus Way North, Mitchellville, MD. (which is also in Prince George's County.) The action that will follow the March 18 meeting will trigger letters to the Foundation immediately (from the Governor and the Board of Public Works) that will indicate how the disbursement of funds will be handled. Please activate the document below from the URL sent by Brother Sen. Ulysses Currie and look at page 14 of 17 (item listed as #15-CGL) to see this public works item listed as an item for consideration.

Visit Ernest E. Just Middle School on the Web: