Psi Alpha Alpha Presents…
“A Celebration of Motherhood”
Brother Sheldon Schanck
To most men, the word brings up memories of our childhood. Mom, as she is affectionately known, was our protector, our mentor, our motivator and teacher, but, most importantly, she was our “first love.” Mothers are God’s special gift that brings forth the life to our children; the next generation of sons and daughters that carry on our legacies. A mother’s love, despite all the challenges life may bring, is everlasting and eternal. To the men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., mothers are very special and should always be loved, protected and honored.
The Brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., through the (two year) vision and perseverance of Brother Cornelius Beidleman, decided it was time to honor Motherhood and mothers everywhere. On May 5, 2018, the Chapter hosted their first annual Mother’s Day event entitled: “A Celebration of Motherhood: We Exist Because of You!” This event was designed to celebrate and honor mothers as well as those who “stand in the gap” as mothers and “mother figures.” Many of the Brothers invited their own mothers, wives, aunts, sisters and women important to them in their lives. As well, the Chapter invited guest from the public, women from the homeless shelter they support and they even sent out a special invitation to some local churches to participate. In all, almost 200 people were in attendance for this momentous inaugural occasion.
A special occasion of this magnitude also called for a special guest speaker, and thus the Chapter invited Dr. Lonise P. Bias, mother of the late University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias, to be its inaugural guest speaker. Dr. Bias is the founder of Bias Speaks and has been both a national and international motivational speaker for over thirty years. To make the occasion even more special and memorable, the Chapter invited two of it’s 2018 Talent Hunt winners to participate in the event and Mr. Sam Ford, DC Bureau Chief for WJLA ABC7 and News Channel 8 (now WJLA 24/7 News) served as the Master of Ceremonies.
As the guest were escorted to their seats and the event began, Brother Keith “Kool-K” Wilson serenaded the audience with his saxophone concluding with “Everyday is Like Mother’s Day” by Shirley Caesar. Next, Brother Michael Taylor gave an uplifting reading and rendition of “Mother to Son,” by Langston Hughes, a poem that is near and dear to all Omega Men. As the crowd waited in anticipation the event then featured it’s two outstanding Talent Hunt guest, Ms. Kayla Anthony, who amazed the audience with her piano performance of “Misty” by Erroll Garner and Mr. Nicholas McCatty, who brought the audience to a resounding applause after he sang “A Mother’s Love,” by Kem. Now it was time for the special guest speaker to take the stage.
Dr. Lonise Bias delivered a message that was absolutely timeless, uplifting and inspiring. She brought forth a message of HOPE embedded within her own personal story of the pain and tragedy of loosing two of her sons. Len Bias, whom the world knew as the outstanding University of Maryland basketball star who, only two days before his untimely death in 1986, had been drafted by the Boston Celtics and Jay Bias, who was murdered in an drive-by shooting in 1990. Dr. Bias spoke on the hard life lessons she was forced to face through these two tragedies. The theme for this occasion was simply this “Life is Hard!”
As Dr. Bias said, “Life is a bowl of honey and lemons; sometimes it’s sweet, sometimes it’s bitter!” The audience was reminded that it’s the hard times in life that, when they come, help to develop us, strengthen us and give us the direction to move and push to a better, higher level. It is these hardships and challenges that also help us to maximize our potential, keeping in mind that, “running from it will not save you because life will find you.” Dr. Bias told the audience that there was some good news and that is you must stay encouraged and have faith to know that the best is yet to come! “Do not throw in the towel,” she proclaimed, “hope is not extinct!”
As you surveyed the room it was easy to see how touched many had been following the impactful speech by Dr. Bias. A spirit of joy had filled the room as Brother James Williams took to the stage and offered up a special prayers to the mothers. Ms. Kayla Anthony once again took to the piano and honored us with another musical selection, “Last Spring” by William Gillock. With the spirt of joy still filling the room, Brother Pete Burnett focused everyone’s attention to the single table and place setting off to the side of the stage. A single small round table, adorned in a white table cloth; a crystal vase holding a dozen white roses; and a single place setting with a beautiful purple glass rose with a pure gold trim. A place setting to honor all the mothers that have “gone before us.” Brother Burnett eloquently described the table and the meaning of each item that adorned it. Tears of happiness and joy in the hearts of so many, there was one last thing to do. Dressed in their formal Omega Attire, Black Suits, White Shirts, Royal Purple Ties, and with their white gloves on, Brother Sheldon Schanck led a team of Brothers around the room handing out a very special gift for all the mothers. A white box, graceful adorned with a purple and gold ribbon with “Happy Mother’s Day” written on it. Inside each box was a glass purple rose, like the one on the “Mother’s Table,” a copy of the poem “Mother to Son” as a refrigerator magnet, and a pen and bookmark set. As well, the “senior Mother” at each of the twenty tables was given a spell gift bag, complements of the Brothers on the committee. Brother Reverend Courtenay Miller, Chaplain, Third District blessed us with an heartfelt benediction, and the program was concluded. Brother Conrado B. Morgan, First Vice District Representative attended the event as well.
What a beautiful and amazing event! But for Dr. Bias, it wasn’t quite over yet. Her impact on some of the guests was immediate and overwhelming. Several guests approached her after the event to congratulate her on her amazing speech, others simply just hugged her, saying nothing, but just cried in her arms for a moment before walking away. A week after the event concluded Dr. Bias shared with Brother Cornelius Beidleman, event Chairman and personal friend, that as she was leaving the event she met a couple outside the venue. The couple was in tears and told Dr. Bias that they were “just about ready to give up on their son” before they heard her words earlier. Dr. Bias sat with this couple, in their car, for about thirty minutes to council and pray with them before they parted ways. Wow… What a testimony!!