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Top 10 Black Greek Success News Stories of 2017

I love a good Black Greek Success news story. It is important to me that my fellow Divine Nine members see where our brothers and sisters are making an impact. For your consideration, here are the top 10 news stories about Divine Nine chapters and members from 2017.

1. Philanthropy over Football

While many protested the NFL for blackballing Colin Kaepernick, others praised him for his philanthropy. The Kappa Alpha Psi member represented a cherished Divine Nine value, service, by pledging $1 million to organizations that support social change. He followed through on that pledge and was honored by Sports Illustrated and the NFL Players Association for his commitment. In the process, his Know Your Rights Camp picked up lots of steam.

Kappa Alpha Psi member Colin Kaepernick's philanthropy. Photo:

2. Myth of the “Angry Black Woman”

Zeta Phi Beta decided to address one of African Americans’ biggest complaints about media representation. The Zetas teamed up with the American Advertising Federation’s Mosaic Center for Multiculturalism to produce a study about media images of African American women. According to the survey, common adjectives used to portray black women in the media are “argumentative,” “lazy,” and “corrupt.” Even worse, only 12 percent of African American and Caucasian women believe there are positive images of African American women in media. The study was released during the 47th annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus and at Advertising Week.

3. Sisters in Law

Three Divine Nine women made history in law enforcement. Two Delta Sigma Theta members, U. Renee Hall and Andrea Boone, became Dallas’s first female chief of police and the Delaware State Police’s first African American female lieutenant, respectively. In Oregon, Alpha Kappa Alpha member Danielle Outlaw became Portland’s first African American police chief.

4. The Burning Debate About “Burning Sands”

Omega Psi Phi member Gerard McMurray drew the ire of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and others when Netflix released his film “Burning Sands”. On the other hand, other Black Greeks, including yours truly, argue that the film’s honesty about hazing is needed.

5. Divine College Presidency

Black Greeks maintain their traditional presidential presence at HBCUs but Gregory Vincent did something different. The Alpha Phi Alpha member became the first African American president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, one of U.S. News and World Report’s top liberal arts colleges.

Chirlane McCray with Sisters Thrive initiative supporters including Divine Nine sorority chapters. Photo: Office of the Mayor of New York City.

6. Black Women’s Mental Health in NYC

Chirlane McCray created ThriveNYC to increase mental health services in New York City. The wife of Mayor Bill DeBlasio also added a component called Sisters Thrive to engage black women. To pull it off, she reached out to chapters of all four Divine Nine sororities—Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho. She also recruited Jack and Jill of America and The Links’ Eastern Area which both see significant involvement from Divine Nine women.

7. Friends, Sorors, Rhodes Scholars

Camille Borders and Jasmine Brown have been friends since they were freshmen at Washington University in St. Louis. Later, they became sorors when they joined Alpha Kappa Alpha. The two are now both Rhodes Scholars in the elite company of only 30 other students in America.

8. Divine Nine Complete at Austin Peay

To have all Divine Nine organizations represented at a predominantly white college or university means that more representation of diverse black voices on campus. Iota Phi Theta made nine when they initiated their newest members at Austin Peay State University.

9. From TMCF to SHRM

Johnny C. Taylor Jr. is credited with raising the profile of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund by increasing its fundraising, forming corporate partnerships, and creative programming. As result, the Kappa Alpha Psi member was tapped to lead the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest human resources professional society.

10. Took a Bullet

Alpha Phi Alpha member David Bailey became a hero when he jumped into action against a shooter who opened fire on a group of legislators practicing for a baseball game. A member of the United States Capitol Police, Bailey returned fire but also took a bullet, earning praise from his fellow Americans.

Of course, there are more newsworthy moments for Black Greeks and Divine Nine chapters. Do you know of a Black Greek Success story from 2017 that should be shared? Please, share it in the comments below!

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