Black fraternities and sororities have the economic clout to power the next Black Renaissance
By James Clingman | NNPA Newswire Columnist | 4/27/2017, midnight
Remember the scene from “New Jack City” when Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) told Scotty (Ice-T), “This ain’t personal; this is business?”
And at the end of the movie, Scotty said to Nino, “This is personal,” as he proceeded to give him a beatdown. Well, this article is both personal and business. It’s a call to the Alphas, Omegas, Kappas, Sigmas, Deltas, AKAs, Zetas, Thetas, Iotas, known as the “Divine Nine,” and the fraternity I was apart of back in the 1960’s at North Carolina College at Durham (now North Carolina Central University), “Groove Phi Groove.”
The latent collective power within these organizations is mind-boggling. Their members are conscientious, which is demonstrated by their friendship and loyalty to one another. They rally around their members during crises; they support one another when they get married and have children; they work together, locally and nationally, on community projects across this country. They even formed a national collective organization, The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc.; the group’s stated purpose and mission is “Unanimity of thought and action as far as possible in the conduct of Greek letter collegiate fraternities and sororities, and to consider problems of mutual interest to its member organizations.”
I especially like the part about “mutual interests.” I know it’s a hard question to answer, based on our individualistic and proprietary approach to solving many of our problems, but what are the mutual interests among not only sororities and fraternities, but all Black organizations? Is there one thing that all of us can and should do together without compromising our various missions and such? I believe there are several things we can do together, but reality tells me that all Black people will never do any one thing together. So in light of that reality, we must come up with something that is simple yet powerful and will demonstrate our collective resolve, not just to the world, but to ourselves and our children. Keep in mind I said, “Simple.”
On the business side of things, this is a call—a challenge—to each member of the above mentioned Black, proud, historic, and venerable organizations to purchase at least one bag of Sweet Unity Farms Tanzanian Gourmet Coffee. The coffee is grown by family co-ops founded by Jackie Robinson’s son, David, 20 years ago. April 15, 2017 was the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in major league baseball; we can break the economic barrier by collectively propelling his son’s company to unimagined heights by purchasing his coffee. In case you didn’t know, Jackie Robinson went to work for a coffee company when he left baseball.
On the personal side, Black folks are taking an Ice T beatdown like Wesley Snipes received, only ours is an economic beatdown, much of which we are doing to ourselves by not supporting one another more than we do presently. What could be more personal than family? Again, one simple solution is for our Black sororities and fraternities, comprising millions of members around the world, to take this challenge personally and buy at least one bag of David Robinson’s coffee, a fitting tribute to his father’s legacy. By doing so, the world would witness a Black-owned company, operating in Africa and the U.S., become a billion-dollar firm virtually overnight, all because a group of conscientious Black folks individually spent a very small amount of money on a Black owned product. A veritable, Black economic renaissance.