Message to the Brotherhood
Welcome to the beginning of our second century as a brotherhood striving to do our best, and to be the best that we can be! It is exciting to sit at the beginning of a year and a future bright with possibilities. I’m sure that while we all had a wonderful time celebrating one hundred years of accomplishments as members of this great Fraternity, it is good to get back to normal, doing the things that we have been challenged to do by the Founders of this marvelous organization which we call Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.
Needless to say, we ended our first century on a high note. We celebrated and honored the legacy of men who were determined to make a difference in the world. In 1914, our Founders faced many challenges, the most obvious being men of color in a world which was still determined to see them as second class citizens. Their resolve to show the country that they were much more than that was already evident; they were college students, who came from families of former enslaved Africans. They were men who did not have the advantages of financial aid and were not from wealthy families. They were simply African American men who were determined to better themselves, and in the process, improve life for their families and their communities. One hundred years later, their dream is still alive, and we returned to where it all began, to thank God for the victory, and to honor the memories of Honorable Founders Taylor, Morse and Brown, and the thousands of men who over the years committed themselves to making a difference through their service as members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity! We continue the celebration of their work and their legacy, as we move forward in a world very much different from the world in which they lived in 1914, a world more complex and yet still struggling with many of the same issues with which they struggled—racism, unequal opportunities for education and moving beyond poverty, and wars between nations.
In our second century, I look at what we have achieved and believe that we can do more. In fact, we must do more! Our legacy demands that we take what we have and make it work to be an agent of transformation and change in this century. In 2014, we said “There’s Something Special Going On in Phi Beta Sigma!” We told the world that we were keeping the promise made by our Founders, to promote brotherhood, scholarship and service. We showed the world that we were men of our word. In 2015, we have a new message: “I Am My Brother’s Keeper!” and have pushed forward to make a powerful impression upon young men in our communities. Already, we have been challenged by the events going on in our communities—Ferguson, Missouri, New York City and Cleveland, Ohio all have been places where we are reminded that racism and negativity are still alive and well in our country. And yet, we still march on, carrying the banner of our “Mighty Hosts”, reminded that we are charged with the responsibility of keeping up the fight for progress and positive change; this is what we promised to do, and this is what we must do. It is the legacy upon which we stand and are charged to keep alive!
Let me take this time to thank those who have supported Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity during my administration; from the staff at our International Headquarters, to those who give many hours of unpaid service to our beloved Fraternity, we owe a huge debt of thanks. For corporate sponsors and the many organizations and people who helped us to advance “The Cause”, especially during our Centennial year, we say thank you! Please know that as we go forward, we look forward to doing even greater things to ensure that “Our cause speed on its way.”
Some of the things that I am committed to in the upcoming year include sustaining the fantastic growth our Fraternity has experienced in the last two years. Our membership numbers have increased by thousands, literally! This increase means that we have more resources to accomplish the goals we set at the beginning of this administration. We have already witnessed much change: We have a new and greatly improved International Headquarters, which includes our Sigma Museum. We have made major strides in serving those of you who support this Fraternity, through regular communication about what we are doing around the world. And we plan to make even greater efforts to serve our membership, to let you know that you are more than numbers; you are part of an organization which cares about YOU, the members who make up this Wondrous Band called Phi Beta Sigma! So stay tuned, as we turn our words into positive action. Keep coming back to this website to see what your Fraternity is doing to make a difference! Plan on attending Conclave 2015 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas; it promises to be a great time, as we continue to celebrate and to solidify our International programs and projects.
In the meantime, continue the great work which has be done to advance Phi Beta Sigma’s cause. Continue to support our efforts to eradicate the culture of hazing and to advance the positive upon which our organization has been built. Continue to support our commitments and collaborative efforts with those who share our mindset and mission, especially our sisters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority! They are now in preparation to celebrate their hundred year legacy, and they need our support in a major way. We encourage you to make a special effort to support our corporate sponsors and our brother and sister organizations in the NPHC. If we stand as one to advance the causes of eradicating racial inequity and poverty in this world, imagine how much better our world could be!
Most of all, keep being excited about Phi Beta Sigma! We have accomplished much in a short time; but there is so much more to do! If you are not currently a financial member of our Wondrous Band, we want to invite you to come home. We need you to reclaim your place in the circle! There is much to do, and our success as a Black Greek-lettered organization depends on the active support of the members. Make the commitment to being your brothers’ keeper. Join us as we continue to advance the Cause upon which we were founded!
Jonathan A. Mason Sr.
34th International President
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.