This is the second of a two-part sharing of information related to Omega's historical involvement in civic engagement vis-a-vis voter registration, education, and mobilization (VREM). Last week we reported on the number of instances of VREM references in the Oracle from 1919-1959, and related trends. This week we report on the same between 1960-2018.and related trends, Our objective, given the importance of the upcoming mid-term elections, is to provide Brothers with a historical point of reference with the expressed purpose of motivating all Brothers to honor the legacy we have inherited by doing our part to GET OUT THE VOTE. In this second part, the Committee combed through 104 Oracles published between 1960 and 2018 looking for all references to VREM activities and related trends here in the Third District and fraternity-wide. Our research revealed the following:
From 1960-1969 VREM activities/content appeared 55 times. From 1970-1979 VREM activities/content appeared 41 times. From 1980-1989 VREM activities/content appeared 66 times (however, the majority of these instances (53) occurred from 1980-1984. Early 1980s activism and the 1984 presidential election, which included the campaign of our own Brother Jesse Jackson, were contributing factors. After 1984, there is a noticeable drop off. From 1990-1999 VREM activities/content appeared 22 times. From 2000-2009 there were 37 instances (many of which were related to the 2004 presidential election). From 2010-2018 there were 18 instances).
From 1960-1982, VREM was a priority program. Beginning in the early to mid-1980s, the tone of the VREM reporting began to change from enthusiastic, purposeful, and hopeful participation fraternity-wide to concern over voter and programmatic apathy.
Beginning with the 32nd Grand Basileus Dr. L. Benjamin Livingston, calls from leadership to amplify our VREM activity in response to voter apathy and mediocre programming began to appear in the pages of the Oracle.Other leaders who lent their voice to the cause were Benjamin Hooks, Vernon Jordan, James Nabrit, Roy Wilkins, Grand Basileus I Gregory Newton, Grand Basileus Anthony Knox, and Benjamin Mays.
VREM reporting increased during presidential election years but decreased during mid-term election years.
VREM reporting related to local and state elections was limited and typically appeared when a fraternity brother was a candidate.
There was comparatively little VREM reporting prior to the 2008 presidential election when Obama was elected. There were only three reports of VREM activity between 2008-2010.
Reporting of undergraduate involvement in VREM activities has notably decreased over the years and is almost non-existent in the last decade.
As we combed through the Oracles, we "extracted" the VREM references to make it easier to quickly access the information. In many cases, we highlighted the content of interest to further help quickly identify the reference. Because the references are many, we have attached just a few here. All references can be downloaded by clicking on https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ElgoPYwA02F72-sf-fQmjxnXO37HbGcp. We urge to browse through/read all of the information as you can...perhaps there are lessons in the arc of our VREM activity over time.
The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we'd very much like to hear from you. Please send all communication to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read More - 1960 May, Oracle Read More - 1973 Summer, Oracle-2 Read More - 1979 Summer, Oracle-2a Read More - 1980 Summer, Oracle-3 Read More - 1980 Fall, Oracle Read More - 1984 Summer-Fall, Oracle
F.I.E.T.T.S. 3rd District History and Archives Committee
History and Archives Monday Pearl 11/5/18 – OMEGA VOTES 2