Ashburn, VA – On November 14, 2021, the Brothers of Sigma Mu Mu Chapter, Third District of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., held their virtual Achievement Week Awards Brunch. The brunch recognized exceptional Brothers and community leaders who served tirelessly during the past Omega year. Notable Brothers in attendance were: James Clyburn – South Carolina Congressman and U.S. House of Representatives Majority Whip; Dr. Andrew Ray – former Grand Basileus; Ricky Lewis – 1st Vice Grand Basileus; Conrado B. Morgan – 3rd District Representative; and other District Officers. Their participation made the program the signature event among Sigma Mu Mu’s Achievement Week celebration and community service activities. Other activities included the chapter’s annual High School Essay Contest in October, its Dr. Charles R. Drew Blood Drive – held at the Inova Blood Donor Center in Sterling, VA on November 6, and the Tuscarora High School Virtual HBCU College Showcase on November 17. Additionally, there was an Adopt-a-Highway community service project, a Christ Redeemer Church Food Drive in Sterling, VA on November 20, and a chapter worship service at The Temple of Healing Waters Church in Dulles, VA on November 21. Sigma Mu Mu Chapter’s brotherhood and commitment to the community were on full display as the Brothers successfully executed the events under the leadership of Brother Basileus James Banks and Achievement Week Chairman, Brother Van Corbin.
While Sigma Mu Mu’s Achievement Week observance included the uplifting community service activities, the Awards Brunch was the most highly anticipated activity once Brother Clyburn was confirmed as the keynote speaker. Excitement and anticipation grew when Brothers learned that former Grand Basileus Dr. Andrew Ray also planned to speak during the program. These Omega giants did not disappoint! During his remarks, Dr. Ray commented on the relevance of the Achievement Week theme, “Omega Men Protecting Life and Liberty,” observing that Omega men always lead the way. He used the sports analogy of a relay race baton handoff to illustrate the importance of perfecting the handoff in life: if the handoff is botched in a race, the relay team loses the race; similarly, if Omega men and other responsible citizens fumble the handoff in life (e.g., fail to pass along meaningful values and traditions), precious lives are lost to the ills of society such as gun violence, drug addiction, and lack of education, among others. Brother Ray stressed the need to hand off vision informed by hindsight (history), insight (the present), and foresight (the future). The former Grand Basileus’ remarks provided a nice segue to Brother Clyburn’s keynote speech.
Brother Clyburn commented that he studies and uses history as a guide, emphasizing the need for Omega men and African Americans, in general, to stay vigilant in protecting rights and institutions. He cited existential threats to HBCUs and attacks on democracy as examples of why vigilance is needed. To underscore the importance of preserving the integrity of HBCUs, Brother Clyburn shared a conversation he had with Brother Ronald McNair prior to his untimely death in the Space Shuttle Challenger accident. Brother McNair observed that the PhD degree he earned from MIT always seemed to get highlighted during public introductions. Still, Brother McNair said, it was his North Carolina A&T experience that enabled him to achieve. Brother Clyburn concluded his keynote message by encouraging everyone to participate in the democratic process and treat each other with respect. He noted that friendship cannot exist without trust, honor, and respect.
Another program highlight was the introduction of Sigma Mu Mu’s High School Essay Contest winner, Mr. Ryan Myers, who read his winning essay to the program attendees. Additionally, the chapter Achievement Week award winners were announced. Additionally, the former Grand Basileus installed the newly elected chapter officers. Sigma Mu Mu Chapter award recipients were Mr. Brian Mitchell (Citizen of the Year); The Burg Family (Community Partner of the Year); Brother Derrick Clarke (Superior Service Award); Brother Curtis Hollie, Jr. (Colonel Charles Young Military Leadership Award); Brother Robert Myles, Jr. (Founders Lifetime Achievement Award); and Brother Van Corbin (Omega Man of the Year). The newly elected Sigma Mu Mu Chapter officers are Brother James Banks (Basileus), Brother Reginald Parker (Vice Basileus), Brother Alaric Corbin (Keeper of Records and Seal), Brother Rayfus Gary (Keeper of Finance), Brother Brian Johnson (Chapter Reporter), Brother Kevin Wiggs (Parliamentarian), and Brother Robert Myles, Jr. (Immediate Past Basileus).