Brother *|LNAME|*, again we find ourselves mourning the loss of two more Black lives, Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, La. and Philando Castile of Falcon Heights, Minn., at the hands of police within 48 hours of each other. I express my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile.
In the last couple of days, I spoke to the presidents of Beta Iota Lambda and Xi Nu Lambda chapters [Baton Rouge, LA] and Gamma Xi Lambda chapter [Minneapolis, Minn.]. I offered support and direction as they are the boots on the ground in these cities representing the fraternity in the wake of these recent tragedies . Also, pray for Brother Melvin “Kip” Holden [Xi Nu Lambda], mayor of Baton Rouge, and the job he must do as the leader of that city.
We have seen far too often the killing of black and brown people at the hands of police. Now we have seen acts of violence that have led to more horrific acts of violence towards officers in Dallas, TX for whom I also offer condolences. No brother of the Dallas Police Department was harmed. Continue to pray for the safety of our brothers in law enforcement who are putting their lives on the line for us every day.
The cycle of social media outrage followed by the inserting of a name that becomes a hashtag repeats what we have seen before and will only change through action and accountability. There are clear reforms needed and steps that have yet to be taken to proactively address these situations and a long list of others. We must demand accountability of those agencies sworn to protect and serve while providing transparency for civilians and police. I encourage you to review the list of actions below to be informed and aware of what you can do to be a part of the solution.
Brother *|LNAME|*, our records indicate your status and affiliation within the fraternity:
I have stated this before--I need brothers to stay involved, stay financially active with the fraternity, and connect to a chapter in your area. The work of Alpha Phi Alpha is done locally in our communities where we can have the greatest impact. When you became a member you were asked, “What can you do for ALPHA?” I need you to be engaged, connected, and committed.
In the wake of the ceaseless extrajudicial killings of African-Americans, we take to the streets to vent our frustrations, and to be honest, I did too. Statements of condolence offer limited comfort, and for me, they have become too routine. Our statement on yesterday reflects this very point and it must stop. Otherwise, we are simply replacing names in a form letter. Alpha brothers have taken an oath to be servants of all. When we work together as Alphas, we can truly transcend all.
Mark S. Tillman