Black fraternities, sororities discussed - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Black fraternities, sororities discussed

Black History event

Devon Flournoy, the diversity project coordinator of the Cesar Chavez Learning Center at LCC, speaks during the panel discussion about the significance of Black fraternities and sororities on Feb. 14.  Photo by Mallory Stiles

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

The Cesar Chavez Learning Center at LCC held an interactive discussion about the significance of Black fraternities and sororities, also known as the Divine 9, on Feb. 14 from noon to 2 p.m.

The director of the Cesar Chavez Learning Center, Dr. Olga Correa, spoke first to welcome everyone and reiterate the purpose of the panel.

“Thank you so much for coming out today,” Correa said. “This is one of our first programs for Black History Month.

“Our goal was to really engage with students who may be very familiar or not familiar at all with Black fraternities and sororities, understanding the history of such organizations, why they were founded in the first place and then getting some first-hand accounts from the people you are seeing up on the big screen as members of Black fraternities and sororities, what their experiences were like as a college students, and where they are now because of their involvement in these Black organizations.”

She introduced six accomplished and esteemed individuals who gained traction in their lives through these organizations.

Ryan, a graduate from Bowling Green State in Bowling Green, Ohio, introduced himself as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Incorporated and shared a bit about himself.

“Where am I in my current life?” he asked with a smile. “I live in between Shanghai and Beijing, China. I just started a new job actually about a month ago. I work for CGTN Television News. I am an on-air copy writer and copy editor, so I write things being fed into the teleprompter that goes to the anchors to read live on air.”

Another panelist, Ronnvey Price, jumped in and told a little bit about where he was at these days. He said he remembered how it all started at LCC.

“The cool thing is I took classes at LCC,” Price said. “Then I did my undergrad at Michigan State University, then I went to Illinois State University for my masters, then I got a doctorate from Concordia University Chicago. Currently.

“I am vice principal over in Shenzhen, China, with an international school. I chartered a chapter here with help from others in December of 2018. Currently I teach Chinese martial arts, public speaking and debating.”

Next, panelist Rita Little spoke about herself and some of the different educational facilities that have defined her path.

“I am a member of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated,” Little said. “I joined April 12, 2008, on the Saginaw State University campus. I am currently a community health program manager for Core Well Health East in the Metro-Detroit area. I work in the public health field in general in the area of paternal infant health.

“I am also a professor at Oakland University and Wayne State University part-time. I got my master’s in community health education from Eastern Michigan. I am all over the place and have touched a lot of universities in the state of Michigan.”

Panelist Shaquille Pruitt, who prefers to stay closer to home, spoke next.

“I am a part of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated,” Pruitt said. “Currently, I am in the graduate chapter over in Saginaw. I currently live in Detroit. I am a correction officer; I work at a level 4 prison as a sergeant.”

Panelist Kendall Young followed suit and shared where his involvement in the Divine 9 had led him.

“I am a member of Phi Beta Sigma Incorporated,” Young said. “I went to Central Michigan University and graduated in 2014 with a double major in marketing and logistics. From there, I was regional management for Target as an executive team leader. (I) did some hopping around and ended up with Ford Motor Company doing some data analytical work with their prototype vehicles.

“I worked on the Ford Bronco and some of the newer vehicles you see today on the road. When the pandemic hit, I transitioned my career and that led me to Atlanta. Right now, I am on a procurement doing business analytics for a company called Race Track.”

Finally the last panelist, Devon Flournoy, a current diversity project coordinator of the Cesar Chavez Learning Center, took the stage.

“I am a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated,” Flournoy said. “I graduated from Saginaw Valley. Shaquille is one of my FRAT brothers from my school and Rita is a Delta that also crossed my path on campus.”

From there the conversation turned into what it meant to a part of these organizations, who it could help and why it was important.

Each panelist agreed they would not change their decision. They said they made memories that have truly lasted a lifetime. They said the sense of community and comradery was unlike anything they have ever felt, especially in predominately white communities.

Lastly, each panelist discussed the different responsibilities of membership and the stress that will always come with a full plate.

“Yes, there is going to be pressure but don’t run away from it,” Young said. “That’s what makes you, that’s where you find out who you really are and what you can really become.”

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