We Are The Atlanta Alphas
The fraternal year 2019-2020 will go down as historic in many ways for the brothers of the Eta Lambda Chapter. The plan initially was to showcase and highlight 100 years of service, leadership and brotherhood through year-long events and celebrations anchored by a spectacular weekend of activities towards the end of May. On May 20, 1920, the Eta Lambda Chapter was chartered in Atlanta, Georgia not long after the conclusion of World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic. Racial tensions throughout the Jim Crow south were commonplace and there was a small but growing number of college educated black men in Atlanta insistent on establishing a unified presence.
The date, Saturday, May 31, 2020 was to be the night for our Centennial Gala- themed ‘Upward”, held at the Delta Flight Museum. Planning for this event began in early 2019 and a dedicated team of brothers laid out an Alpha Weekend like no other. Despite these challenges, the brothers of the Eta Lambda Chapter were able to persevere and have a lasting impact in the city of Atlanta.
Like everyone else, Eta Lambda felt the negative effects of COVID-19. However, we refused to allow this pandemic to deter us from fulfilling our mission to serve our community and our brothers. Through the ingenuity of our brothers, we utilized virtual platforms to host our monthly board and chapter meetings. We still accomplished our goal to get 10+ brothers certified as poll workers for Georgia primaries and the general election. As well, we remained steadfast in our decision to register our community to vote. This resolve helped to get 1,135 mostly African-American Males registered to vote.
The brothers of Eta Lambda were also committed to finishing what we started. This includes seeing our high school mentees through their journey from high to college. This commitment was well worth it, as our graduating class of Washington HS mentees amassed $3,500,000 in scholarships.
Another highlight of our 2019-2020 fraternal year includes the amazing work done by our Boys, Books, and Brotherhood mentees. The brothers of Eta Lambda helped 13 young men write, publish, and sale several literary works. These gifted and dedicated youths generated $16,900 of revenue through the sale of their books, which went directly into scholarships for them.
Even though we tried to adhere to the call for social distancing, the brothers of Eta Lambda refused to stay silent in the midst of social turmoil. The brothers heeded the call from our community to stand up for social justice. We marched, we peacefully protested, and we comforted our community. After the tragic shooting of Rayshard Brooks, acting as pallbearers and ushers during the 2-day memorial service, Eta Lambda once again showed that we are always ready to advocate for our community.
Finally, the Brothers of Eta Lambda resolved to maintain our role to provide Omega Services for families that requested it. Adhering to the recommendations of the medical and healthcare industries, the Brothers completed over 10 Omega services in 2020.
Ultimately, the cautions induced by COVID made the chapter make some difficult decisions. Cancelling the centennial festivities, moving to virtual meetings, and reducing our community events were heartbreaking. However, we refused to quarantine this chapter from our mission and our community. When we were needed by our mentees, our community, and our fellow brothers, we donned our masks, washed our hands, and served.