ABOVE: Men of Omega Psi Fraternity, Inc. at 83rd Grand Conclave
The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. changes lives and communities at 83rd Grand Conclave
“Behold, How Good and How Pleasant it is for Brothers to Dwell Together in Unity.”- Psalms 133:1
The City of Charlotte, NC will never be the same after thousands of Brothers from the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. came together to “dwell together in unity” in the Queen City from July 21st through July 26th for the Omega Psi Phi 83rd Grand Conclave.
The aforementioned scripture reference is definitely appropriate to use, especially after having experienced several years of Brothers of the fraternity having to meet virtually due to the devastating and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. The Brothers of Omega Psi Phi, from all age groups and cities across the world, were overly excited to attend their first in-person Grand Conclave since the last one was held in New Orleans, LA, in 2018.
Purple and Gold flooded the streets of Charlotte and the Charlotte Convention Center, and fellowshipping with one another, meeting new Brothers, impacting the community, and handling the business of Omega Psi Phi were all top of mind.
The four Omega Psi Phi cardinal principles of MANHOOD, SCHOLARSHIP, PERSEVERANCE, AND UPLIFT were on full display during the entire Grand Conclave, as the Brothers of Omega Psi Phi reinforced those principles to not only handle the business of Omega, but to also leave the city of Charlotte better than it was upon their arrival.
From an economic standpoint, it is being reported by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) that the Omega Psi Phi Grand Conclave has been the largest convention that the city of Charlotte has had in town since 2014.
The hotels in the area were either sold out or at capacity for the week, and restaurants, retailers, local businesses, and booth vendors, all benefited from the Grand Conclave coming to Charlotte.
From a social impact standpoint, Omega Psi Phi contributed hundreds of backpacks to a local school; held a Career Fair where many attendees were able to interview and gain employment from major companies; held a S.T.E.M. program for Black youth; held a Health and Medical Expo to provide health tips and information on health issues plaguing African American men; discussed the importance of voting; held several workshops and panel discussions on topics such as: Closing the Wealth Racial Disparity Gap, The Path to the C-Suite, Increasing the Number of Black Board Members, and Institutional Racism; and the fraternity donated money to various scholarship funds.
Many decisions were made by the Omega Psi Phi fraternity’s leadership and membership to help address some of the issues plaguing the African American community and to lead the way to improve the quality of life for Black youth in this country.
The Brothers of Omega Psi Phi elected Brother Ricky Lewis, from Los Angeles, CA, to be the 42nd Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Brother Lewis previously served as the 35th First Vice Grand Basileus Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. from 2018 to his uncontested election.
The Brothers of Omega Psi Phi also elected Brother Mark Jackson to serve as First Vice Grand Basileus, Brother Clement ‘Osmosis’ Osimetha to serve as Grand Counselor, and Prairie View A&M’s own, Brother Sherman Charles, to serve as Grand Keeper of Records and Seal.
The Brothers of Omega Psi Phi also re-elected Brother Johnnie Smith as Grand Keeper of Finance and elected Brother Ryan Thomas as Second Vice Grand Basileus.
It was also voted on and overwhelmingly approved to add two new Mandated Programs as part of Omega Psi Phi’s committed focus. Fraternity leadership and Delegate members voted to make S.T.E.M. and Fatherhood Initiative and Mentoring the two newest Internationally Mandated Programs within Omega Psi Phi.
Members of the Houston Area Coalition of Omega Psi Phi traveled to Charlotte to be a part of this historical Grand Conclave and shared their thoughts on how these decisions will be game changers for years to come.
Brother Erick Powers, who serves as President of the Houston Area Coalition of Omega Psi Phi, stated that it was important that the delegation from Houston be in Charlotte for the Grand Conclave to help move the fraternity forward and make an impact where it is needed.
“The members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity from the Greater Houston area traveled to the city of Charlotte to help adopt programs on a national level like the STEM program to expose undersupported communities with opportunities to expose to learning opportunities,” said Brother Powers. “Equally as important is the Fatherhood Initiative and Mentoring program, which will help reduce violence and provide guidance through supporting the youth of the community.”
Brother Sherwin Johnson, who is a member of the Mu Mu Nu Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., currently serves as the chairman of the Omega Gents mentoring program and is thrilled to see the fraternity adopt these two new Internationally Mandated Programs.
“These two new Internationally Mandated Programs are programs that have already been in place throughout the fraternity at some chapters who are already doing the work,” said Brother Johnson. “With the passing of this recommendation, these two programs are now mandated programs within our fraternity, which means each chapter would have to do these two programs on an annual basis.”
Brother Johnson continued, “Here in Houston, we have a unique experience where we have seven graduate chapters in the Greater Houston area, and one of the seven chapters will take the lead on spearheading a program each year.
Brother Johnson states that on September 17th, the Mu Mu Nu Chapter will be taking the lead on the inaugural Youth Leadership Conference/S.T.E.M. Program that will be spearheaded by another chapter and so on and so forth for years to come.
Brother Johnson concluded by saying, “As Chairman of the Omega Gents mentoring program at the Mu Mu Nu Chapter, I’m so excited that we can do something towards saving our sons and use S.T.E.M to inspire them to focus on their future, and to make some short-term and long-term goals that will position them to be successful on the next level.”
These two new Internationally Mandated Programs will join the current Internationally Mandated Programs that the fraternity has, which are:
Originally designed to promote the study of Negro life and history, Achievement Week is observed in November of each year and is designed to seek out and give due recognition to those individuals at the local and international levels who have made a noteworthy contribution toward improving the quality of life for black Americans. A High School Essay Contest is to be held in conjunction with Achievement Week. This contest is open to all college-bound high school seniors. College scholarships are awarded to the winners, each of whom must submit an essay on a theme/topic chosen by the fraternity. This contest is a phase of the International Achievement Week observance.
Promotes academic excellence among the undergraduate members. Graduate chapters provide financial assistance to student members and non-members.
SOCIAL ACTION PROGRAM
Chapters participate in activities that will uplift their communities. Some of the activities include: voter registration, assault on illiteracy; habitat for humanity; mentoring; and participation in fundraisers for charitable organizations.
TALENT HUNT PROGRAM
The Talent Hunt features young men and women currently enrolled in high school who demonstrate a high level of talent in music and dramatic competition. Top performers are awarded monetary prizes. The top performer competes at the District level. The program provides exposure, encouragement and financial assistance to talented young people participating in the performing arts. Winners are awarded recognition and may be given college scholarships.
March 12th of each year, chapters conduct an appropriate service to recall the memory of those members who have entered into Omega Chapter.
RECLAMATION AND RETENTION
A concerted effort at the international, district and local levels to retain active brothers and return inactive brothers to full participatory status.
COLLEGE ENDOWMENT FUND
Each year the fraternity gives at least $50,000 to historically black college and universities in furtherance of Omega’s commitment to provide philanthropic support.
Chapters facilitate, participate and coordinate activities that promote good health practices. Some of the programs are the Charles Drew Blood Drive and partnership with the American Diabetes Association.
VOTER REGISTRATION, EDUCATION AND MOBILIZATION
Chapters facilitate and participate in activities that uplift their communities through the power of the vote.
Every district and chapter of the fraternity is required to maintain a Life Membership at Large in the NAACP. All members of the fraternity are encouraged to join the NAACP.
Congratulations to the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. on a successful 83rd Grand Conclave!