Upsilon Nu Supports “Meet the Candidates Forum”

RICHMOND, Virginia, Sunday September 16, 2018, Upsilon Nu Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., came out to participant in the “Meet the Candidates” forum, held on the campus of Virginia Union University.

Panel included: Corey Stewart - Republican vying for Senator Tim Kaine - incumbent Senator, sent surrogate Matt Waters - Libertarian for US Senate Ryan McAdams - Republican for US Congress, sent surrogate, Bishop Benjamin Donald McEachin - Democrat, US Representative, 4th District Abigail Spanberger - Democrat, vying for US Representative, 7th District Joseph Walton - Libertarian, running for US Representative, 7th District Pete Wells - Libertarian, running for US Representative

Each candidate was giving 3-minutes for opening comments, 2 minutes to respond to questions, and 1 minute for closing comments. The moderator asked 8 questions and allowed any or all panel members to answers. The questions ranged from “What’s the role of civility in politics?” to “Do you believe Equal Rights Amendment should be ratified?” to “How do you plan to improve the Cradled to Prison phenomenon?” None of the candidates strayed too far from party lines, for example when questioned about the solvency of Social Security and Medicaid/care, the Republican response was cut spending, Democrats response was increase taxes, and Libertarians’ answered with privatizing.

While the audience was mixed, it would be safe to conclude the majority were democrats based on the rare and unpredicted catcalling and occasional boos at the Republican responses. The blunt of these were directed towards Corey Stewart, especially when he tried to assert Senator Tim Kaine took the Democratic black vote for granted, which he concluded was Sen. Kaine’s reason for missing the forum. The unfiltered exchanges allowed for deeper insight into the candidates’ positions on issues and their passions. The Libertarians expressed their gratitude to be invited, because they generally do not have a seat at the table, even though they are on the ballot.

Attendees were asked to check their voter registration status, on the Vote.org website and also to encourage their networks and associates to also check their status and share the website during their voter registration, education and mobilization efforts.

“Events like this are so important for the community to have a chance to see and hear from those who say they want to represent us in Congress. The opportunity to meet and question their views is crucial. I am especially happy that this event is being held on the campus of a fine HBCU institution. It is import that the students here and members of the community at-large can participate,” stated Brother Ted Braggs - Chairman of the Upsilon Nu’s Voter Registration Education and Mobilization (VREM) Committee.

Submitted by Bro. Miguel Johnson                            Pictures by Bro. Miguel Johnson

Upsilon Nu Supports Habitat for Humanity Restore

RICHMOND, Virginia, Saturday August 18, 2018, Upsilon Nu Chapter came out to support the Richmond Habitat ReStore. Upsilon has partnered with ReStore and comes out quarterly to offer support. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.

Fourteen homes have been built in the Richmond, Virginia area in 2017, using supplies purchased and donated to the Richmond, Virginia Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  Based on the current building pace, that number will be higher this year. One would be amazed by the size of the facility in Richmond, Virginia. Countless shelves and isles of goods needing to be cataloged and inventory stored. During the course of the day the Brothers of Upsilon Nu moved pallets and unloaded trucks.

In the past we have been on-site to assist in building homes, but we have found that our efforts go a lot further and provide more value when we work with ReStore, that does not preclude Brothers from working at home building sites if they elected to do so.

Many times, the community thinks only of the home building component when they hear Habitat for Humanity. Working in the ReStore gave some of us a new reality about the other components of this tremendous program.

Last year the efforts of Upsilon Nu and the total hours provided greatly assisted the Brown family to gain a home of their own. “These donations of hours toward helping families realize their dreams of home ownership is something we take pride in doing. I am very proud of the participation from the chapter in this program and we look forward to our continued partnership,” stated Chapter Basileus Michael Swain.

 

Submitted by Bro. Michael Edwards                                                             Pictures by Bro. Michael Swain

Kavansa B. Smith Memorial Scholarship Recipients

RICHMOND, Virginia, Thursday June 7, 2018, this was a banner year for Upsilon Nu’s Kavansa B. Smith Memorial Scholarship. We had tremendous interest from students for our annual scholarship. We received scholarship applications from seniors across the Greater Richmond area. The Upsilon Nu Scholarship and Social Action Foundation Upsilon Nu Scholarship Committee are proud to announce that in April 2018 they awarded $12,000 in scholarships to high school seniors who are college bound in the fall of 2018 academic year on behalf of the Kavansa B. Smith Memorial Scholarship program.

“This year we had 38 recipients apply for our scholarship. 24 girls and 14 boys in 2017, we continue to try and work our relationships with high schools counselors to encourage more students to apply. These funds will help reduce some of the financial burden of pursuing higher education and assist in the dreams of these young people”, stated Scholarship Committee Chairman Bro. Stephen Wilson. The increase in the number of young men is noteworthy.

Upsilon Nu laid out the red carpet for its 2018 Scholarship recipients, the recipients were recognized by members of the chapter. They were welcomed by Basileus Michael Swain whom gave them words of encouragement and thanks. Scholarship Chairman Bro. Stephen Wilson welcomed the recipients and their parents to the program and thanked them for their participation. Bro. Wilson recognized Ms. Kendra Johnson, a scholarship recipient in  2008-09, whom attended Hampton University and is now pursuing her Doctorate in Education at Virginia Common Wealth University. He also recognized Ms. Keisha Smith, the daughter of Bro. Kavansa B. Smith for whom the scholarship is named. Ms. Smith gave a very heartfelt thanks and congratulated the recipients of this year’s scholarship awards.

Bro. Fred Shuford provided a seminar on “Time Management, Preparing for College and Tips” on the adjustments to college life. He stressed to the recipients, they should plan on studying at least 25 hours a week.

“We wanted to recognize and celebrate the 2018 scholarship winners' academic achievements and community service, a reception was held to formally introduce the awardees to the chapter. This allows us to publicly display our fraternity's cardinal principle of scholarship. In addition we wanted the awardees to meet one another and begin an academic network”, stated Bro. Wilson. We wanted to emphasize to them the importance of scholarship and that their hard work, perseverance and commitment to service was being rewarded.

The following Colleges and Universities will enroll our scholars in the fall.

 

 

Name                                    High School                        College Attending

Parker Watts                         James River                          Barnard College at Columbia University

Lauren Taylor Parker           Henrico High                       University of Virginia

Drew Acquaye                     Trinity Episcopal                  University of North Carolina

Nyla Jones                           Richmond Community         Clarke Atlanta University

Jordan Anderson Murray     Highland Springs                 North Carolina A&T

Tyrone Nelson Jr                 Highland Springs                 VCU Integrated marketing Cinema

Jordyn Walters                     Meadowbrook                      James Madison University

Marlin L Osborne Jr            Richmond Community         Randolph Macon College

Milleena McNeil                  Midlothian                            Virginia Tech

Ria Holloman                       Hermitage                             North Carolina A&T

Article by Bro. Michael Edwards                                     Pictures by Bro. Daren Exum

Upsilon Nu Supports Relay for Life 2018

NORTH CHESTERFIELD, Virginia, Clover Hill High School, June 1, 2018. The Upsilon Nu Chapter has continued its ongoing support of the Relay for Life for the 10th year.  This commitment is far more than a photo opportunity as the team achieved Gold status this year, raising over $5000.00 for this year’s event and a cumulative total of over $45,000 in ten years of active participation in Relay for Life.

Brother Freager Sanders, Team leader, has been actively involved with Relay for Life since 2003 and has personally raised over $75,000 for cancer research.

Upsilon Nu has established itself as a great team.  Ms. Adrienne Rich from the American Cancer Society commented “We can tell when Omega Psi Phi gets here!  They always bring positive energy”!

A total of twelve (12) Upsilon Nu Brothers participated from start to finish as others came by to offer support..  Special thanks to wives Sherry Sanders and Gayzelle Thomas for their support.

First time participant, Brother Roderick Walker said, “This is a great event! We are able to fellowship and support a great cause”.

Brothers Ray Fitts and Michael Swain used this as an opportunity to make it cross fit training, doing sets of push-ups and squats.

Brother Donald Bentley, a Survivor, provided inspiration for each Brother in attendance and serves as a reminder to ensure you are getting your scheduled prostate exams.

 

Article by Bro. Freager Sanders                                       Pictures by: Bro Jarome Jackson

Upsilon Nu Supports Adopt-A-Street

RICHMOND, Virginia, Upsilon Nu conducted it’s quarterly Adopt-A-Street clean-up program in downtown Richmond. Upsilon Nu has been conducting this program for over ten years.

The Adopt-A-Street is designed to help clean up Richmond. Individuals, organizations and businesses adopt a street, intersection, lot, park, most anywhere. The participants agree to keep the area cleared of litter for at least two years. The program is a partnership between the city of Richmond and it’s merchants, organizations and residents.  The Adopt-A-Street program creates a cleaner, more pleasant environment for everyone who lives, works and shops in the adopted areas.

The program also strengthens community ties as neighbors and merchants work together to keep Richmond clean. Many times Brothers have brought members of their families to participate in the clean-up. “It is good for our children to see these types of efforts and community give back”, says Bro. Johnson, a member of the committee. Upsilon Nu as part of it’s commitment to this program has adopted two streets, 2nd Street and West Duval Street.                      

 

Article by Bro. Michael Edwards                               Pictures by  Jerome Jackson

Upsilon Nu Supports Mobile Truck

RICHMOND, Virginia, Thursday, May 24, 2018, Upsilon Nu continued its partnership with Mobile Food Truck to feed members of the Churchill Hill Community. This program is conducted bi-monthly by the chapter. Upsilon Nu helps unload the food trucks, set-up food stations and assists in the distribution of food to those in the community.

This community effort normally provides several hundred families with an assortment of food items that includes canned vegetables, meats, soup, crackers and personal hygiene products. Most of those in line are women with their children and we are seeing more elderly as well, The Brothers arrived at the site at 10:30 am and normally finish at 1pm or until the food supplies are exhausted. Today we provided food for over two hundred families (200) before our donated food supplies were depleted.

The food distribution program fills a vital need for so many in the Richmond community whom are having difficult times economically. “I feel so blessed that this program exists and helps me and my family” stated one of the participants. It is just hard sometimes and food cost so much, this really is a blessing. These sentiments were held by most in attendance. Though this event is held during the middle of our work day, I am gratified to see the Brothers rearrange their work schedule where they can to come out and support he community like this,” stated chapter Basileus Jeff Tarpley. For us it is gratifying to be known and accepted by the community.

Submitted by Bro. Michael Edwards                               Pictures by Bro. Jerome Jackson

Upsilon Nu Feeds Less Fortunate

RICHMOND, Virginia, Saturday May 12, 2018 Upsilon Nu Chapter continues its partnership with 2nd Street Baptist Church to support “Feed the Less Fortunate” program. Upsilon Nu has continued its affiliation with this much needed community outreach effort. Feed the Less Fortunate program has served lunches to hundreds of area residents. The program serves not only the homeless, but many that are economically challenged or just

need a healthy hot lunch. The Upsilon Nu affiliation of the program is conducted on the 2nd Saturday of each month. The members of Upsilon Nu arrive at 10am for set-up, assisting with the cooking and stay to the conclusion at 1:00pm.

 

Upsilon Nu not only distributes healthy lunches, but also makes it a point to sit and talk with those that come to take advantage of the food program. All of the people that come through the program have a story; most of them are middle aged men but we are starting to see a younger group as well and more diversity. “We look forward to seeing these men come out, they always have a kind word,” stated Basileus Bro. Jeff Tarpley

Submitted by Bro. Michael Edwards                            Pictures by Bro. Michael Edwards

Upsilon Nu’s St. Jude Support Continues

RICHMOND, Virginia, Sunday, February 4, 2018, The Brothers of Upsilon Nu chapter came out to answer the call from the District Representative Kevin Brown. Thanks to the efforts of Brother Michael Swain who set up our webpage and kept the Brotherhood constantly updated with our fundraising efforts. We also thank Brother Jeff Tarpley the 3rd District coordinator appointed by 3rd District Social Action Chairman for the event, for his leadership in pushing this event to the chapters of the Third District and galvanizing support. Each chapter was asked to raise $500.00 for the St. Jude Game Day Give Back effort.

Upsilon Nu continued its support by raising a total of $1,985.00. That is over 30% of the goal set for the chapter. “The amount we raised this year is just an ongoing step toward our continued efforts going forward to support the fraternity’s partnership with St. Jude’s”, stated District Coordinator Brother Jeff Tarpley.  I am pleased that Upsilon Nu has been one of the top fundraising chapters in the 3rd District. Each year we look forward to increasing the amounts we raise for this worthy cause. For the past seven years, 82 cents of every dollar received has gone to support the treatment, research and future needs of St. Jude. The hospital costs about $2.4 million a day to run, and there is no cost to be treated.

About 7,500 patients are seen at St. Jude annually, most of whom are treated on a continuing outpatient basis and are part of ongoing research programs. The hospital also has 78 beds for patients requiring hospitalization during treatment. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world.

“The Third District continues to lead the way in raising funds and we expect to be one of the top performing districts when the funds are counted

 

Article by Bro. Michael Edwards                                             Pictures : Bro. Jeff Tarpley

Team Change Recognizes Upsilon Nu

Henrico, Va, Tuesday, December 19, 2017, Upsilon Nu was recognize for their support of Team Change at their annual appreciation ceremony. Team Change is a group of African-American women working together to help children in Highland Springs affected by missing black fathers due to mass incarceration. Lisa Robinson is the creator of Team Change which mentors young students.

Upsilon Nu was recognized for two of their efforts that have been of great assistance to Team Change. One event was Upsilon Nu’s financial support and help acting as chaperones for the bus trip and tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The second effort is the on-going tutoring program that is conducted weekly at Highland Springs Elementary School. Several of the children that attended the tour to the museum spoke about the event during the program and expressed their thanks.

Upsilon Nu was represented at the event by Bro. Michael Edwards. Mrs. Robinson asked Bro. Edwards to come up and address those in attendance on behalf of their Basileus Bro. Jeff Tarpley. “In my remarks I wanted to thank Team Change and all the other organizations that were present and receiving recognition for their support. I gave them a brief history of Upsilon Nu and mentioned some of the activities we have been conducting throughout the Greater Richmond Area,”stated Bro. Edwards.

Article: Bro. Michael Edwards                                          Pictures: Bro. Michael Edwards

Young Gentlemen of the Creek Necktie Program

Richmond, Virginia, Wednesday, November 15, 2017, Upsilon Nu came out to support the 4th Annual Necktie program as part of the Young Gentleman of the Creek Program. This is the fourth school year for the boys mentoring program at the school. “We are very grateful for the continued support and necktie donations from the Upsilon Nu chapter. The Young Gentlemen gratefully appreciate Upsilon Nu members taking the time to assist with the necktie and bow tie tying tutorials at the ceremony. The teacher advisors for the group have some exciting activities planned for the boys, including: community service opportunities, cooking with a professional chef, field trips, reading fiction books together as a group, and we're even going fishing next April,” stated Ms. Angela Harris, the mentoring program coordinator.

The purpose of this program is for selected boys in grades 6th, 7th, and 8th to participate in a youth empowerment, mentoring, and academic support group. Full participation from December until April is required. Brother James Hunter, Upsilon Nu’s Social Action Chairman and Vice-Basileus Michael Swain led several tutoring sessions for the boys. “They get the hang of it after a few times; the bow tie seemed to be more popular than the necktie this yea,” stated Brother Swain.

The ceremony included guest speaker Lance Watson Jr., the boys shopped from hundreds of donated neckties and engaging with men in the community during necktie tying tutorials. A central component of participation for each young gentleman is to dress in professional attire two Wednesdays per month.

In previous years, neckties have been donated by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Mark Warner, Sen. Tim Kaine and former Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney, along with many other notable male figures in the Richmond region.

Article Submitted By Bro. Michael Edwards and Bro. Michael Swain         Pictures by: Bro. Michael Swain