By Mark F. Gray
The Hyattsville/ Landover alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity has been one of the most impactful in its community since its inception in 1979. Their 40th anniversary provided them with an opportunity to laud those who were pillars in the foundation and who have helped it become one of the most influential chapters in the nation during the ceremony at the Hotel at the University of Maryland in College Park.
As a chapter that began much like a startup company, Hyattsville/ Landover has leveraged the professional success of its brothers to form the direction of its vision. It is also a chapter that gained political capital through its four decades of community service. During its 40 year existence they have remained committed to the youth of Prince George’s County through a “strong organizational foundation that serves both the community and provides programs for youth,” says 18th Chapter Polemarch Michael K. Pitts.
This chapter’s local influence has been noteworthy through various initiatives that began without fanfare and remains behind a silhouette of the many lives it has touched. High school students in Prince George’s County have benefitted from the chapter’s Guide Right Program, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) preparation and financial aid workshops. The progressive vision of the chapter has been an example for others throughout the fraternity nationwide.
“Our achievements over the last four decades demonstrate how the chapter established a paradigm for community service for fraternities and sororities I Prince George’s County,” says Clarence Jones, the chapter’s historian and chairman of the 40th anniversary of the Awards Planning and Celebration Committee. “We crossed a mediocre threshold, creating a new threshold and a new threshold of helping others. These four decades tell the story of how a new era of in community service began to take hold.”
During a, sometimes, emotional evening among the brotherhood, laughs and spirits flowed with memories and camaraderie they forged through the years of its volunteer work in Prince George’s County. The chapter’s precedent was acknowledged for how it’s standard has raised the bar for other alumni chapters around the country. This chapter has been noted for being at the forefront of supporting Kappa Alpha Psi’s national level and has been supportive all around in working with the divine nine. which is the consortium of Black Greek fraternities and sororities.
Thomas L. Battles, Jr., the 33rd Grand Polemarch of the national organization, was the keynote speaker and gave credit to this local alumni chapter for evolving from its humble beginning, where it gave men who were interested a chance to pledge to become a member of the vanguard of civic impact. The men of the Hyattsville/ Landover alumni chapter developed much of the mentoring programming that many national undergraduate and graduate chapters utilize regularly.
“This chapter has been at the front of young and old training for leadership,” Battles Jr. said. “We have always been able to count on the Hyattsville/ Landover alumni chapter to support what we are trying to accomplish through our work in conjunction with the divine nine.”
Battles, Jr. also challenged the chapter to continue its leadership in mentoring, especially leading up to the 2020 presidential elections. While he and the rest of the leaders of the divine nine are moving towards establishing a political action committee to ensure that challenges facing HBCU’s, he was resolute about equipping a new generation with skills necessary to advocate for themselves and to try to change the direction of the country.
“We’ve got to teach kids how to tell their story,” Battles, Jr. said. “Kids are dying these days because they can’t express themselves to authorities.”
This article originally appeared in The Afro.