University looks to join Million Man March in Fall

Shannon Cleary and Shannon Cleary

The National Pan-Hellenic Council at the University is planning on participating in the Million Man March in Washington D.C. this Oct.

According to University NPHC’s website, the NPHC is a “coalition of the nine largest historically African American Greek letter Fraternities and Sororities.” The University’s council represents seven of these “divine nine” and is looking to participate in the Million Man March’s 20th Anniversary this year.

On Oct. 16, 1995, black males came together on the National Mall in Washington D.C. They listened to prominent speakers discuss policies, regiments and how they felt as a minority group. The 20th anniversary will be on Oct. 10, 2015, and NPHC President Elijah Brown hopes his organization will be in attendance.

“My ultimate goal by going to the Million Man March is just to form a sense of community between the people that go,” Brown said. “Just that shared experience will give people something to talk about when they see each other, or build relationships … and secondly, more importantly, just to develop the people that go. There’s just a lot of knowledge and experience that they’re going to get from hearing these people speak.”

He believes that hearing and interacting with others around the U.S. with the same struggles and concerns will be a monumental experience for his members. Brown is personally excited to hear Minister Louis Farrakhan speak. Farrakhan is a prominent and respected black activist, and Brown believes hearing him in person will be a “life changing experience.”

As of right now, the NPHC is still in the works of attaining funding and support through the University. Brown also said that other organizations on campus may be attending with them as well, including the Black Student Union, Queens of Color and NAACP. The travel plans include using a charter bus (one or more depending on interest) and driving to D.C. on Oct. 9. Brown hopes to use social media to keep students updated on the event and may possibly attempt to live stream the event on campus.

Sophomore Amia Gaines has heard of the NPHC and thinks the organization is more “known for social events”. Gaines said she believed she attended a blood drive for one of their Greek chapters and associates them most with events like recruitment and ice cream socials.

Gaines said, “It is surprising (that NPHC is attending the Million Man March) because Greek life tends to have more focus on one specific group of people.”

She generally thinks of NPHC as social, so an intellectual event like this march comes as a surprise. This intellectual view of the organization is something Brown wants for the NPHC.

Brown said, “I want to give NPHC a new reputation because like I said before, we’re normally boxed into that stereotype of any time we show our faces is to entertain — stepping and strolling. So an event like the Million Man March will really put us out there as intellectual.”

He hopes that attending this march will significantly develop the reputation of his organization.