Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gamma Pi Joins E.E. Just Foundation in Dedicating Statue for Omega Founder

Dr. Just's statue
It is the only school in the country named for Dr. Ernest Everett Just, a renowned and accomplished African American scientist who is widely known as a Founder of this Great Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. And sitting right at the front of the property of Brother Dr. Just's namesake school located in Prince George's County, Maryland is a handsome statute of Bro. Dr. Just's likeness. It is a significant and substantial tribute to his contributions to education and the sciences. On Friday, August 20, 2010, an absolutely beautiful day, Brothers from Gamma Pi joined other Omega Psi Phi members from the area and around the country to dedicate the statute to Brother Dr. Just at the Ernest Everett Just Middle School.

At the center of the yearslong effort was the Ernest E. Just Foundation, which is headed by Gamma Pi Brother Wesley Jarmon, Jr.  Brother Jarmon has spent several years working with Maryland State officials, the Prince George's County School Board and the Just Foundation as well as some family members to have the statue crafted and erected on the school property. Other supporters include the Omega Life Membership organization. Brother State Sen. Ulysses Currie also worked diligently on the project behind the scenes. Brother Jarmon sees it as more than just a statute and instead as an inspiration to students at the school to develop an interest in science and excel at it as Brother Dr. Just did. The inscription reads: "May the students that pass through these halls find the seeds of the spirit of learning that Dr. Just planted to enhance everyone's education." 

Bro. Jarmon
The statue is the handiwork of world class artist Antonio "Toby" Mendez, who was commissioned in 2007 to build the bronze casting statue. Brother Senator Currie sponsored a bill to fund the project. Nearly 200 people almost half of them members of The Fraternity attended the ceremony including local dignitaries, among them U.S. Rep.Donna Edwards and Brother State Senator Currie.

"I really think it was very successful. The symbolism of having a statue of Dr. Just for kids to go by and see every day is so important for them to aspire to what they want to do," said Brother Jarmon. "To know the struggles he went through to get to where he was, of course they can do the same thing.  That is something that will always be there as a constant reminder of what they can do."

The event was covered by the local Gazette. Read that news story here. Also, read a previous Gamma Pi LIVE posting on the early developments of the Just statue project.

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