Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. held a Prayer Vigil at a historic church in St. Louis, organized a Youth Summit and hosted a Luncheon for young St. Louis residents at a renowned boys’ and girls’ center, and adopted a local business, burned during the unrest, to help rebuild Ferguson while its members across the country participated in the National Day of protest in Washington, DC and several other cities
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 17, 2014)–Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (PBS), one of the nine African American Greek-Lettered organizations, is leading the charge from Protest To Action in the recent wave of injustice following the deaths of young African American in the United States of America. The 100 year old organization is proud of the courage and commitment of its leadership, who refuse to be caught in the nuances and analysis of what is the most appropriate manner in which service organizations are supposed to protest injustices in the communities they served.
On the national day of Protest, PBS and its graduate chapter, Kappa Sigma, held a Prayer Vigil at the historic Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in St. Louis, organized a Youth Summit and hosted a Luncheon for young St. Louis, Missouri residents at the renowned Herbert Hoover Boys’ and Girls’ Club Center, and adopted a local business of 28 years, Juanita’s Fashion R Boutique, burned during the unrest, to help rebuild and restore the area. The Fraternity was proud to see PBS members from across the country participate in the National Day of protest in Washington DC and several other cities.
“We didn’t want to just protest. We didn’t want to just lie down on the streets. We wanted to get up and take actions,” said Jonathan A. Mason, Sr., International President, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He enthusiastically added, “This is not about having a fit, it’s about starting a movement. This is a movement Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. is proud to be involved in at this time in our history.” Mason further added, “As this community heals, it is going to take all of its citizens’ commitment and support in the rebuilding efforts, we are committed to be proactive partners for action in this community.”
Residents of St. Louis packed Pleasant Grove Baptist Church to pray, read scripture and hear an outstanding Praise Team sing inspiring Gospel songs. Speakers at the event included Bishop Courtney Allan Jones of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church; Mary Breaux Wright, International President of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.; Jerryl T. Christmas, the attorney for Vonderrit Myers, a young man recently killed by a St. Louis police officer; and Jonathan A. Mason. Members of PBS then travelled to the Herbert Hoover Boys’ and Girls’ Club where a Youth Summit and Luncheon were held.
After the luncheon, which was staffed by members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (ZPB) graduate chapters Phi Nu Zeta, the center’s gymnasium was filled with members of the local PBS collegiate chapter, Gamma Eta, the other local ZPB graduate chapter, Xi Zeta, St. Louis young residents, members from other African Americans Greek-Lettered organizations, parents of the young attendees and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity members from across the country. The Youth Summit featured several presentations, including Mustafa Abdullah of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who educated the audience how to interact with police officers when they are engaged on cities’ streets. Other speakers also included Jerryl Christmas, Esq., Honorable Jimmie M. Edwards, former police officer Steven L. Harmon, Esq., police officer and PBS member Brandon Henry and Ashley M. Jordan, a police officer.
Carter D. Womack, Past International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. issued the “Call To Action” and “What’s The Bottom Line” charges. He encouraged the audience to move from attentive listeners to active participants in educational role-playing exercises. ‘Who’s Who In Black St. Louis’ books were given to each member of the audience.
Passing through the areas where the Ferguson, Missouri unrest took place, while travelling to the community of Dellwood to hold a Prayer Vigil at the burned location of Juanita’s Fashions R Boutique, was eye-opening for the fraternity’s visiting members. After viewing a few of the burned businesses, PBS members and the community members held hands and prayed in front of Juanita Morris’ business of 28 years. PBS leadership committed the organization to assisting Ms. Morris in the rebuilding of the business at the same location. At the end of a day of PBS ‘Action Now’, the organization can be proud of the courage and committed demonstrated by its leadership.
As the fraternity marks its centennial anniversary, PBS has committed to its partnership with the White House initiative, My Brother’s Keeper. PBS launched its initiative called, “I Am My Brother’s Keeper.” This initiative is slated to mentor young men, provide educational assistance to schools across the country and host job fairs during its national conferences. The Fraternity is committed to uplifting and strengthening the next generation of young men of color.
Since its founding in 1914, the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. has promoted a noble culture of service to the community. Members of PBS have committed to promoting leadership and embodying the values that will create a new era of successful young people is, above all, in the spirit of fraternity.