By DL White
The coronavirus has caused many major conventions, national events, sports and life in general to navigate different paths to facilitate business.
The challenges were no less for the members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., that make up the massive and mighty 12th District, which stretches from the deserts of Arizona, to the sunny coastline of California, up the west-coast, to Oregon, Washington, Utah, Nevada and Alaska.
The largest land mass of Omega’s Districts, organized in 1941, under the leadership of then Grand Basileus (president) Z. Alexander Looby, the Mighty 12th District recently held its first virtual District Meeting.
“The business of Omega, with regard to the Mighty 12th took place as usual, only virtually,” noted Lourenco A. Lopes, Jr., Basileus of Phi Iota, the Phoenix graduate chapter of Omega Psi Phi.
Said Lopes, “We were honored and very proud how the leadership of the 12th handled the business and set everything up. It was great that the brotherhood was able to assemble (virtually) and carry out the business of Omega.”
Responsible for the critical coordination and connection across the massive 12th was District Representive (DR) Dennis Martinez and his team.
Martinez ended his two-term run as (DR) and relinquished the leader to his 1st Vice DR, Kwame Dow, who will assume leadership for the next two years.
Joining Dow on the 12th District executive team, Andrew Davis (Phi Iota) as 1st Vice DR, Beroke Negussie (Alpha Rho) as 2nd Vice DR, Nicholas Thompson (Omega Mu Nu), as District Keeper of Records and Seal.
Also, on the District executive team are Rafael Irving (Tau Tau) as District Keeper of Finance, William Edwards (Tau Alpha) as District Counselor, Michael Brown (Eta Alpha) as District Chaplain, Jason Jones (Theta Pi) and District Public Relations Director and Melvin Jones (Phi Iota) as District Marshall.
The Phoenix Ques will host the 76th Annual District Meeting in the spring of 2021, as Brother M. Jones and the brothers of Phi Iota, along with the undergrads at Arizona State University (Alpha Theta) will be charged with making the event productive, efficient and entertaining.
Following the financial, plenary sessions and mandated reports, the District Meeting as is the norm, provided the opportunity for members of the fraternity and community members to be honored for service to the fraternity and community.
The Brothers committed to donate thousands of PPE items to medical centers and emergency response units across the Massive 12th District.
Phi Iota earned a good portion of the “hardware” as the Chapter was recognized and received the District Representative Net Growth Award and Lawton Connelly was presented the Superior Service Award.
Davis, along with being elected 1st VDR, was also awarded the Founder’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Brother Carl Blunt, a former 12th District DR and 1st Vice Grand Basileus, was honored as the District Graduate Omega Man of the Year and Marcus Delgado was awarded a graduate scholarship.
Besides the Brotherhood earning notable recognition, the Chapter nominated Janelle Wood, the founder of the Black Mother’s Forum in Phoenix, who was presented the 12th District Citizen of the Year Award.
Wood and each honoree are now eligible and their names and accomplishments will be forwarded to represent the 12th District at the Fraternities Grand Conclave (national convention) later this summer in Florida (or virtually).
Phi Iota has a long history of service in the Phoenix community. Founded in 1946, by Omega men that came to the desert as part of their military service and searching for a greater opportunity for themselves and their families the list include, former Tuskegee pilot Dr. Lincoln Ragsdale, Dr. Lowell C. Wormley, Josh Bursh, Circe McClellan to list a few.