Upsilon Nu Supports District Social Action Project

Richmond, Virginia, Thursday April 4th, 2019. Each year the 3rd District sponsors a District wide Social Action project based on the recommendation of the Hosting chapters. For the 86th District meeting Mobile Hope of Loudoun was selected. In response to this request from support from the chapters in the 3rd District, Upsilon Nu Social Action committee chairman Bro. James Hunter rallied his team.

Each chapter was asked to provide backpack containing personal toiletries to help young homeless persons. The items are to be delivered to the District Meeting headquarters site on April 11th, 2019 in Herndon, Virginia.

 I want to thank the members of my committee as well as the Brothers of the chapter at large for their great support of this event. The Fraternity helps so many groups and here in the 3rd District especially. So when these types of events occur it also enlightens us about the work being done by the chapters across the district. I had never heard of the Mobile Hope of Loudoun, but Brothers in that community had and were working to support their community activism which is very much in line with ours.  Some of the supplies were brought to our monthly chapter meeting and the majority was dropped off at designated locations. We look forward to meeting the leadership of Mobile Hope of Loudoun during our meeting later this month.

Mobile Hope of Loudoun is the only organization in that community that supported the needs of homeless young people. It became apparent that a much broader array of services would be required to address the needs of these homeless and precariously housed children and young adults, stated CEO and founder, Donna Fortier,

Mobile Hope…….

The young people served by Mobile Hope of Loudoun include those: 1) living in conditions that are not stable, 2) living without healthy eating options, 3) living without stable medical alternatives 4) living in an atmosphere of stress, distrust and despair 5) living without the needed tools to perform well in school 6) living in an atmosphere which is influenced by violence and crime, 7) living in an atmosphere where illiteracy is a prevalent 8) living with little knowledge about what it takes to manage daily life.

Upsilon Nu Supports “Relay for Life”

 

Midlothian High School, Midlothian, Virginia, Saturday, May 18, 2019. Upsilon Nu Chapter made its presence felt at the Chesterfield Relay for Life, raising over $4500 for cancer research.

As a result of multiple community service and fundraising commitments for the Chapter, representation and participation was handled by a small team. The Chapter was represented by team captain Brother Freager Sanders, Brother Dalee Thomas and Brother Rodrick Walker.

Adrienne Rich, Relay for Life coordinator, complemented the team saying. “This wasn’t your normal crowd, but we still knew you were here”.

This represents the 10 year that Upsilon Nu has participated in the Relay, raising over $50,000 for cancer research. Brother Sanders said “It’s a passion and I’ll always support the American Cancer Society.”

Special thanks to Sherry Sanders, Gazelle Thomas and Team Ebony for their support to the Upsilon Nu Team!

Article by Bro. Freager Sanders       Pictures by Bro. Freager Sanders

Upsilon Nu Supports Barack Obama Elementary

Richmond, Virginia, Saturday, May 18, 2019. Upsilon Nu Chapter supported Barack Obama Elementary by helping set up their playground area and beautify it with mulch for the playground. Debris was removed from all around the site, to prep it for the laying of piles of mulch.  Brother Tim Brown organized the effort for the chapter. I am happy we were able to come out and support this effort, the renaming of the schools was a very observed event in Richmond, the community was out in force which just shows what the community can do when they raise their voices, stated Brother Michael Edwards.

The Richmond School Board in Virginia voted to rename an elementary school honoring a Confederate general to Barack Obama Elementary. The result was reached on Monday June 18, 2018 when the board voted 8-1 to drop the name J.E.B. Stuart Elementary.  This is the 18th school named after the former presidentThe school is was the only one in the city named for a Confederate.

The school serves nearly 500 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. About 95 percent of the students are African-American. A selection of names were submitted by parents, student and administrators ranging from local civil rights legends like Oliver Hill and Barbara Jones to more sentimental names like Northside and Oliver Hill Elementary.

The fact that nearly 95 percent of the student body is African-American, reinforced the suggestions for the name change. The board's lone vote against the new name explained how she wanted the new name to give respect to the town's local legends. Ultimately the community settled on renaming the school after President Barrack Obama.

Article by Bro. Michael Edwards

Upsilon Nu Conducts Risk Management Training

RICHMOND, Virginia, Saturday April 20, 2019, Upsilon Nu Chapter held a session of the “Risk Management” training program. The training gives insights into areas that can and are impacted by society at a social, and technology level. As we are a service-based organization, it is incumbent upon us to beware of societal issues that may impact those we serve, including members of our local chapters.

In keeping with the challenge from our founders, we must do everything we can to take care of Omega. This will allow us to increase the impact of our brand and our service to the countless lives of others in our community. Being aware and attending training sessions like this, is invaluable, as we carry out our oath of community service, stated Brother Michael Edwards, the chapters Recommendations Committee Chairman.

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

Upsilon Nu Chapter Acknowledges Two Accomplished Members

Richmond Virginia – In recognition of Black History Month, Upsilon Nu Chapter recognizes the accomplishments of two of its members, The Honorable Brother John Charles Thomas and The Honorable Brother Roger Gregory.  Brothers Thomas and Gregory were initiated into the Upsilon Nu Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc in 1980 and 1981 respectively.

Brother John Charles Thomas is a retired former Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court.  Brother Thomas is the first African American to be appointed to this position.  Thomas received his Bachelors and Law degrees from the University of Virginia.

Brother Thomas was appointed to this position in 1983.  Not only was he the first African American appointee to the Virginia Supreme Court, he was also the youngest at age 32.  Brother Thomas retired seven years later and became the first African American law partner at Hunton and Williams, one of the South’s most prestigious Law Firms.

Other accomplishments for Brother Thomas include the NAACP Lifetime Award, named as member of Court of Arbitration for Sport and Board of Visitors at William and Mary University

Brother Roger Gregory currently serves as the Chief United States Circuit Judge of the United States, serving the 4th Circuit.  Gregory, a native of Philadelphia Pennsylvania received his undergraduate education at Virginia State University in 1975 and his Law degree from University of Michigan Law School in 1978.   In 1982 Brother Gregory served as an associate partner with Wilder and Gregory, a law firm with the Honorable Brother L. Douglas Wilder. Brother Wilder would later become the first African American Governor since reconstruction.

Brother Gregory also served as Rector at Virginia Commonwealth University and served on the Board of Visitors at Virginia State University.

Brother Gregory was nominated as the First African American to serve on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2000 by then President Bill Clinton.  Gregory was confirmed by President George W. Bush in 2001.

Sources: https://www.law.virginia.edu/faculty/adjunct-profile/jct2ub/2708803

https://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/judges/judges-of-the-court/chief-judge-roger-l-gregory

https://columns.wlu.edu/chief-judge-roger-gregory-to-give-mlk-day-address-at-wl-law/

 

Fraternally Submitted by Brother Jerome A. Jackson

February 23, 2019

Upsilon Nu Reads Across Richmond

Richmond, Virginia, Friday, March 1,2019. Upsilon Nu Chapter joined other groups and neighbors in the Read Across America program. The Brothers of Upsilon Nu selected Highland Springs Elementary School as the location for their participation. We have formed a relationship Highland Springs, so it became an easy choice for us from the many requests we received, stated Social Action Chairman Brother James Hunter. Next year we plan to expand our participation to several more schools as we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

For those not familiar with the program, the National Education Association's (NEA) Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading. In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA's Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials recognize the role reading plays in their communities with proclamations and floor statements.

It is an amazing experience for me reading to the first-grade class. They were transfixed on me from the moment I sat down with my assigned book, “Pig the Winner” by Aaron Blakey. The kids were seated around me and I asked each of them to give me their name and then I introduced myself. As they introduced themselves, I thought to myself, wow, was I ever that young. I made it a point to stop during the reading and asked them questions about what I had read, the hands went up quickly and each student was heard.

Brother John Rivers, also read to a first-grade class as well. His assigned book was “Rainbow Fish”. He also thought the experience was amazing. When he finished, he had the class discuss lessons learned from the book. he read. Though the books we read were not that long, we found ourselves engaged with our classes for over an hour. The teachers were very gracious and let us continue to interact with the kids. Each student was encouraged to speak about the books and were very enthusiastic.

Upsilon Nu Youth Academy Conflict and Black History Program

Richmond, Virginia, Saturday February 23, 2019, Upsilon Nu Youth Academy hosted its Conflict Resolution and Black History session.

Brother Don Bentley led a session on conflict resolution. Brother Bentley’s presentation to the students was derived on multiple levels. Level one: Conflict at school, level two: Social conflict and level three: Conflict at home.

Brother Bentley engaged the students to talk about conflicts they have encountered, when and where it took placed. The students talked about how they have experienced conflict at school with their teachers and classmates and how they have dealt with those situations. In some cases, they have responded back and it has caused issues with negative outcomes and in some cases, they have just shut down within the class environment.

The social conflict has been mainly with peers and in some cases even their friends. Brother Bentley asked them how they coped with the conflict and if they could have handled the conflict differently. The students gave examples and how they handled the conflicts. In some cases, they thought they did the right thing and in other cases could have responded differently.

The students discussed conflicts they have had at home and how they coped with family members. Those conflicts were more personal because as some of the students stated, you can’t win because their parents have all the control, so they just go along and do what their told.

Brother Michael Edwards led the session on Black History. He started with video on the origin of Black History Month. The video focused on Dr. Carter G. Woodson, his life story and how he dedicated his life to the study and documentation of black life in America. The students took notes and there was a conversation about Dr. Woodson. Brother Edwards led several role-playing sessions on the movement of Africans throughout the world. The students were given an information package with a series of questions about the contributions of African-Americans to American life. Part of the program included the students taking the information package home to share with their family, compile the answers and bring the answers back at the next session.

Program Chairman Brother Patrick Patrong led the online Black History contest, which really engaged the students and was very fun filled while being very informative. The students were divided into two teams including the mentors that were present and the friendly competition began. The students really got into the contest and learned more about their story.

Article and Pictures by Bro. Michael Edwards

Upsilon Nu Omega Academy Mentoring Meet Aviation

Sandston, Virginia Saturday February 2, 2019, Upsilon Nu Omega Academy Mentoring program, was in full session with aviation. Program Chairman Brother Patrick Patrong and members of the committee and other chapter brothers, took the mentees to Richmond International Airport. Richmond International Airport is a joint civil-military public airport about 7 miles southeast of downtown Richmond. One of the modules of the mentoring program is to introduce the kids to types of careers they may have not thought about and hopefully spark interest.

The students were the first group to be part of the inaugural program, where the Richmond Airport provides tours of the facility. The students got change to actually see a Black Hawk helicopter maneuver and land. They were able to go aboard and strap in while being given a presentation on the helicopter and some of its capabilities. I was excited as much as the kids, when I saw the Black Hawk come flying in, it was really cool, stated Brother Donald Bentley. There was an added treat for the students, they got to sit in the Black Hawk and touch the controls of one of the most powerful air vehicles in the world. Members of the staff welcomed the kids and they were briefed about our mentoring program, which delighted them. During sessions the staff stressed to the kids the importance of school and the opportunities that can be available if they are prepared. The students asked them questions about how much flying does the staff do and how did they learned to fly.

One of the staff Mr. Charles Woodson told the students he used to be afraid of heights, but when he traveled with his family he always wanted to sit by the window and look at the clouds. This brought a laugh from the students. Mr. Woodson told the kids that the Black Hawk cost $5.9 million to build and named after the Native American war leader Black Hawk. The students got really excited about the opportunity to fly some of the drones and see how they were assembled. This trip is one of the many the students will have during the mentoring program.

Upsilon Nu Omega Academy Mentoring

Richmond, Virginia Saturday February 2, 2019, Upsilon Nu chapter came out to support and serve as judges for the Delta’s 29th Annual Oratory Contest. The competition drew over two hundred students who participated in the competition. With the supporters and family members the gym was standing room only. Since its inception, thousands of students have competed. The theme this year was Listen: To a New Generation: Our Future Speaks.

Submitted by Bro. Michael Edwards                                     Pictures by Brother Michael Edwards

Upsilon Nu Chapter High School Support Deltas Oratory Contest


Richmond, Virginia Saturday February 2, 2019, Upsilon Nu chapter came out to support and serve as judges for the Delta’s 29th Annual Oratory Contest. The competition drew over two hundred students who participated in the competition. With the supporters and family members the gym was standing room only. Since its inception, thousands of students have competed. The theme this year was Listen: To a New Generation: Our Future Speaks.

This annual contest provided students with an opportunity to develop and receive recognition for their public speaking skills. Contestants were judged based on a set of criteria that measured their creativity, demonstration of intellectual thinking, and positive expression in an original written and oral presentation of the annual theme. Upsilon Nu has become a supporter of the annual event. It is a part of the Social Action Committees programming. Ms. Vanessa Evans, Vice President for Membership Services, worked with Brother Michael Edwards to outline the nature of the partnership. The Annual Oratorical Contest was presented to Social Action Chairman, Brother James Hunter, and his committee for approval.

It was wonderful to watch these young people as they lined up in the hallways practicing their presentations. There was a buzz throughout Franklin Military Academy, as the classrooms filled up with excited contestants. I was really impressed by the numbers of schools that attended the event and the enthusiasm shown by the contestants. “We look forward to supporting this event and extending our relationship with this effort,” stated Brother George Goldsborough.

The contestants are judged on several categories, such as Originality of the body of work, Delivery, Poise, Interpretation and Eye Contact, to name a few. “This year I was one of the judges for the 11th through 12th grade students from the various schools. I must say, the students came prepared and ready to compete. “You can tell that someone has been putting in long hours with these students; their performances were at a very high level,” stated Brother. Michael Edwards.

Submitted by Bro. Michael Edwards                                                            Pictures by Brother Michael Edwards