Coronavirus COVID-19 Greek Life Higher Ed Higher Education Social Justice Student Affairs Uncategorized

Don’t be like black Greeks. Take social distancing seriously.

Originally written on March 15, 2020

BG4BLgroup (1)
Black Greek for Black Lives an initiative that promotes black Greek commitment to uplifting the black community through social change work. Learn more and shop products at, and follow @blackgreeksforblacklives.

The world has stopped. This time a week ago, most of us would not have imagined that our lives would literally be shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 7, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) re-defined social distancing to mean “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.” From there, we saw events and conferences cancelled, even staple conferences like SXSW. We also began to see colleges and universities suspend in-person classes and transition to online learning. Then, the NBA cancelled the remainder of its season, followed by the NCAA, MLB, MHL, and many more sports organizations cancelling or postponing in various ways. Mayors and governors of various cities and states also began to mandate that no “large gatherings” be held, with the primary goal of preventing COVID-19 from spreading rapidly, and the biggest fear being an overwhelmed healthcare system.

So, on Wednesday March 11, the night before my sorority’s regional conference was scheduled to begin, I didn’t worry about packing. I was certain that I would receive an email any minute saying that …out of care for our sorors and greater society, we have made the decision to cancel/postpone our regional conferences. While this is disappointing to us all, this is the right and necessary decision. But, that email never came (prior to the conference starting).

This specific regional conference, as well as multiple other Black Greek-Letter Organization (BGLO) regional conferences (with two being held in the same city) moved forward according to schedule. Thousands of sorority and fraternity members traveled to the respective hosting cities, despite social distancing being urged from government organizations and leaders; despite the precedent that had been set by many other organizations prior to the start of the regional conferences.

So why didn’t BGLO leaders cancel? What made us think we were exempt from taking the same precautions?

I am not certain of the ultimate answer but I can’t help but wonder if BGLO leadership was more concerned about money (loss) than the safety of our members and fellow citizens. Various actions taken by the organization leaders lead me to this thought. For example, prior to one of the conferences being cancelled, allegedly, undergraduate members were told they would not receive registration refunds, even though they could no longer attend due to their university prohibiting all student organization travel. Additionally, one organization sent out an email to its members postponing an upcoming national service initiative due to COVID-19, but did not postpone their regional conference that was happening at that exact moment. And, after ending their conference early, one organization (that I am aware of) kept the vendor area open for members to patronize. Maybe it’s just me but the theme seems clear and consistent.

While I appreciate that some of the conferences were cancelled on the second day, the cancellation was too late. By this point, thousands of members had come in contact with thousands of other people through travel, restaurants, shopping, hotels, conference luncheons, conference meetings/receptions, hugs, handshakes, coughs, and so much more. These interactions and points of contact impacted not only the conference attendees but also the citizens of the hosting cities. So even though the conferences were eventually cancelled, the damage was already done. The risk that would have been mitigated by social distancing was already activated, and even though the thousands of members (possibly) headed home early, they were already exponentially more likely to carry the virus as they dispersed to cities all over the country, putting themselves, as well as their loved ones, co-workers, friends, neighbors, and community members more at risk. And for the BGLOs that did not cancel and executed their regional conferences in their entirety…well…that could be an entirely separate op ed.

This social distancing thing is no joke. If we look to other countries, we can see what happens if we don’t practice it. Italy experienced a 20 percent increase of new virus cases in one day, and “they cited irresponsible behavior by many citizens, who despite the earlier warnings not to gather in large numbers, headed to beaches or ski resorts, and hung out together in town squares, especially after the closure of schools.” Gathering in large numbers exponentially increases the risk of the virus not only spreading, but spreading quickly. So, it was completely irresponsible for our organizations to move forward with hosting regional conferences. If someone who attended any of these regional conferences ends up testing positive for COVID-19, trying to pinpoint all who that person has come in contact with (and all who those individuals have come in contact with, and so on) would be essentially impossible; and the responsibility of the virus spreading at a faster rate, and any health complications that those people experience from the virus, would be on us.

It is disappointing and upsetting to see our BGLO leadership miss the mark here. We pride ourselves on being leaders in our communities; people who show others the way. Instead, of leading the way and modeling a commitment to social distancing, we contributed to the idea that social distancing and the spread of COVID-19 are not to be taken seriously. Instead of modeling decision making for the greater good of our society, we modeled selfish decision making, and we may now be part of the reason that the virus continues to spread rapidly. 

People making selfish decisions like ours will lead to us essentially being on complete lock down. Social distancing recommendations have been made but like us, many are ignoring the recommendations, still hosting large events and gatherings; still going out to clubs and other social venues; still traveling. This has caused the recommended number of people gathered to continue to decrease, with the CDC now recommending no events over 50 people for the next 8 weeksIf we do not voluntarily consent to these recommendations, we will be forced to follow mandates that are even more strict than the initial recommendations, causing us to sacrifice and lose even more than we already have.

We are organizations with a mission to serve our communities. It is important that we center that value at all times and above all else. There will never be a welcome reception, luncheon, business meeting, gala, step show, chapter member selfie, conference bag, vendor exhibit, or registration fee that is more important than the safety and well-being of our society; more important than us doing our part to be responsible citizens. Unfortunately, it looks like this may only be the beginning of this pandemic in the US, and I am hopeful that naming this misstep now will help us to be the servant leaders that our communities will need us to be as we continue to combat this pandemic.


20171116-IMG_8832Aleidra Allen is a social entrepreneur and founder of Purpose In Everything (PIE), an online retailer of ethically made products that adds purpose to purchases by donating 5 percent of the net sales to social change work. She is also the creator of Black Greek for Black Lives, an initiative that promotes black Greek commitment to uplifting the black community through social change work. Aleidra has a background in diversity education and facilitates diversity workshops and trainings, and gives keynotes. Learn more and shop products at and, or follow @piemovement and @blackgreeksforblacklives.

#BlackLivesMatter Allyship Me Too Politics Race Sexual Assault Social Justice Women

My sister asked, ‘Why are people so focused on black versus white in this Cosby situation?’ This was my text back.

Between Bill Cosby’s sentencing and Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing, social media timelines are full of opinions and perspectives regarding sexual assault and the American justice system. Honestly, instances like these are very triggering for me so I have not said much, and have often elected to ‘sharing’ posts made by others.

But today, my sister texted me and asked, “Why are people so focused on black versus white in this Cosby situation?“, and because she’s my sister I did not mind speaking on the subject with her.

I think that others may have this same question. I also think that many people who are highlighting race in regard to Cosby’s sentencing do not realize the root of their perspective. So, I’m sharing the full text message (yes, I texted a book lol) that I sent to my sister, in hopes that it will provide maybe a different perspective and contribute to the start/continuation of a very important conversation on what it means to be pro-black, pro-women, and pro-justice overall. Please note that this is an unedited, informal text message to my sister so please forgive any typos, incomplete thoughts, etc.

Text message response:

Because of white supremacy and misogyny…we don’t always realize it but whiteness is our measure of everything. What white privilege grants people is what everyone else desires; which makes sense in a way because privilege is what should be everyone’s normal. 

But people struggle to understand intersectionality…how multiple identities intersect with each other. So add gender in with race, and some people fail to acknowledge male privilege along with white privilege. And male privilege is honestly what some black people are actually protecting, but they are doing it through race. So they know that racism exists and can acknowledge that the system often works against black people but when they say “black people” they really mean black men. They aren’t acknowledging how male privilege is at play here and how it causes them to not believe women because “they weren’t there” but in that same breath, believe men even though “they weren’t there.” So that’s the misogyny. 

This is why the struggle for black women is even more complex because black women typically get erased. When people are talking about race and black lives matter, they often are only talking about black men. They don’t say it bluntly and it’s subconscious but situations like this show it…because these people’s arguments are not sympathetic of or considerate of women…even though black women are also women and victims survivors.

This is complex and I’m trying to articulate it but basically these people subconsciously are not for women but they “are against racism”….at least when it comes to black men. This is why you see black people protest when black men are killed or brutalized by police but not black women. We have a limited perspective of what justice would be and it’s basically based on the white male experience and for black people, the black man is the closest to that. So what oppression has subconsciously caused us to do is to measure justice based on the white man and not actually right or wrong. Our definition of justice has become what the white man experiences. Many of us are more committed to being able to do what he does and willing to accept his lifestyle as justice, even if it isn’t actually justice for the victim. Because again, often times, black people don’t acknowledge our bias against all other identities outside of race, even though there are BLACK women, BLACK lgbt people, BLACK Muslims, black disabled people. Our advocacy as a people is rooted in advocacy only for the black man so a situation like this hits us to the core. 

This is a powerful black man that “made it.” In many peoples eyes, he had pretty much gotten to the level of a white man (even though I completely disagree with that perspective)…until this. So people don’t know how to act and can’t see how their support of him in this moment actually shows that they are not pro-black because them not wanting him to be held accountable actually shows that they condone the oppression that he and people like him cause to women, including black women. Because they are misogynist, and don’t know it. 

So I guess that’s the answer to your question. Why is this being made about race? Because misogyny. These people are not pro-women so in this situation they advocate for Cosby based on race and its confusing because no one is actually saying that they are bias against women…they’re all saying they are pro-black…but really the root of their pro-blackness is based on the black man and not inclusive of black women. So their pro-blackness is misogynistic

If these people identified as both pro-black and pro-woman they wouldn’t be able to side with him. Period. But these people (maybe subconsciously) value men more than women so in a situation that involves both race and gender…they lean towards race. They “pick the side” of race. But for those of us who are both pro-black and pro-women, we’re not choosing a side; we’re choosing justice, even if that means someone who we are “for” is found guilty because we’re also “for” women (the victims survivors).  

I’ll just stop there. Lol. 

About the Blogger

Aleidra Allen is the founder/owner of Purpose In Everything (PIE) LLC, a start-up social PIE_IGphotos_TShirt_ActRight_Silverenterprise that sells every day products, adding purpose to the purchases by donating 5% of its net sales to fund social change work. The products are also ethically made, being sweatshop-free, and many of them are environmentally friendly.

PIE is committed to social justice, with the goal of inspiring consumers to contribute to social change through conscious and intentional buying. You can follow PIE on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @piemovement, and visit the PIE website at to #BuyOnPurpose. If you are interested in having Aleidra facilitate diversity and inclusion trainings/workshops for you school, organization, or corporation, please email

#BlackLivesMatter Greek Life Police Brutality Social Justice Super Bowl

This is a Call In NOT a Call Out: Why are Kappas Hosting a (Pre) Super Bowl Party?

This is a call in NOT a call out. I am not writing this to attack Kappa Alpha Psi or “put them on blast” or anything like that. I am writing this out of a place of concern and accountability, and because I have the privilege to be able to say something. I am a member of the Divine Nine so that gives me a little more room to be critical of the black Greek community. As wrong as it may be, we do not typically welcome feedback or critique from non-greek individuals…but that’s a whole other blog for a whole other day.

IMG_1911So to the issue at hand: yesterday, I cam across a flyer for a pre-Super Bowl party on Facebook. I read it to see who was hosting it and to my surprise, it was a chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. I was shocked. I was like, hold up (insert thinking face emoji)…how? I immediately had lots of questions.

I think most of us know that Colin Kaepernick is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. And many of know that he is still a National Football League (NFL) free agent, with no teams signing him this season, despite him being statistically “better” than other quarterbacks who were signed. Some believe that Kaepernick has been blackballed for sparking protests during the national anthem before the start of games.kaep

Ironically, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. believes Kaepernick has been blackballed. In August 2017, the Grand Polemarch of the Fraternity sent a letter to the NFL Commissioner stating that he believes that Kaepernick has been “blackballed solely for exercising his Constitutional right to free speech,” and he expressed understanding for why Kaepernick kneeled stating that “enough is enough.” The letter ended with an urge for a public statement signaling an “all clear” to all the NFL teams in regard to Kaepernick, and the Grand Polmarch also offered Kappa Alpha Psi’s (pro bono) services to engage in dialogue regarding the issue.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 10.15.34 PMThen, later in August 2017, members of the Fraternity showed up in masses at the United We stand Rally, a protest in solidarity with Kaepernick in front of the NFL Headquarters in New York. Kappa members from the New York area were present, as well as members from various parts of the nation. Members also showed support through social media.

This is why I was shocked to see a chapter of the Fraternity hosting a pre-Super Bowl party, a celebration of the same organization that has “blackballed” a fraternity brother and that many members have protested. To host this party is contradicting to the stance of the international organization and shows zero cares for what Colin Kaepernick has and is still experiencing with the NFL.

(Note: I am not naive enough to think that all Divine Nine members, let alone all black people, are boycotting the NFL. I know that some people are watching and that’s each individual’s business. But if there’s going to be a Super Bowl party, can we at least not host them in the name of the organization that Kaepernick is a member of? Or any of our organizations, for that matter?)

Again, this is a call in NOT a call out. And it’s honestly not just to the Kappas; this message is for all of us because this could have been any of our organizations, and there will probably be members from all of our orgs at this party so we’re all responsible.

I’m gonna go ahead and say something that we don’t like to hear but as wrong or right as it may be, it is the perception and perception is reality: some non-Greek people question our commitment to uplifting the black community. They say we’re self-serving and elitist, committed to uplifting our members but looking down and distancing ourselves from the rest of the black community and the issues they face. Of course, many of us see it differently and think they just don’t understand.

We often run down our list of honorable mentions to “prove” that we are indeed about black liberation and are even the leaders of it: Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Nikki Giovanni, Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Huey P. Newton, just to name a few. And recently, many of us have added Colin Kaepernick to that list. But what does it mean when we proudly claim these members so that our organizations are viewed in high regard but we don’t actually support them or take action that carries on their legacies? 

While I personally think it’s past time for us to take a stronger stance in this movement for black lives, I know that that perspective is debatable. But when we can’t even support our own members, I am very concerned. If we don’t even care enough to support our own members who are leaders in this movement, is it unrealistic to expect that we’ll take action in other ways throughout this movement?

I honestly pray that the answer to that question is no because I believe that we have the power, privilege, influence, resources, numbers, education, and more to make a huge impact; and I think it is our duty. But in order to do that, this kind of stuff has to stop. We have got to care. We have got to be mindful. We have to be intentional. And, we have to be consistent.

This is a call in NOT a call out.

#BlackLivesMatter #STLVerdict Ferguson Freedom Police Brutality Race Social Justice St. Louis Uncategorized

#STLVerdict: Let’s Talk About Vandalism and “Peaceful Protests”

Three years after the murder of Mike Brown and the St. Louis region finds itself in a similar situation. Another police officer has walked free, a family is reliving the pain of their loved one’s murder while being denied justice, and the community has taken to the streets to show that we will not tolerate the continuous killings of black people by police, nor officers doing so without conviction.

What’s also the same is how elected government officials and the St. Louis Police Department (STLPD) are responding. Before to the verdict was released and prior to any protests occurring, the governor of Missouri activated the National Guard and the STLPD announced that they would be moving to 12-hour shifts. Then, as soon as the protests began, multiple transit buses of STLPD met protestors outside the courthouse dressed in riot gear with shields and batons, in broad daylight. The police showed up with the intention to antagonize, literally from the moment people arrived to protest…before ANYTHING had happened.

Photo of STLPD officer, surrounded by rows of other officers in riot gear, on 9/15/17, about 3 hours after the verdict was released.

So knowing that, it’s by no surprise that the police and the media are pushing the same narrative from three years ago: the protestors are violent and vandalizing property. I really don’t want to spend a ton of time on this point because I really feel like the conversation has been exhausted. But I’ll say it one more time, briefly: we are not doing this. The people who come out and protest are not interested in nor do we condone vandalism. However, there are agitators who come to our spaces of protest and do these things. You all should notice that this typically happens after nightfall. If you all pay attention to our protests, we don’t begin at nightfall. We have literally been protesting all day for the past 48 hours. The large majority of the time, you hear and see no reports of anything being vandalized, because nothing is being vandalized. But when a window gets broken at 11 pm the police and the media use this as an opportunity to change the narrative and make it about violent “protestors” instead of focusing on how hundreds of people of all different backgrounds have continued to show community and take a stand against the continuous non-convicted murders of black people by police.

But again, I’m not surprised by this. The police are a part of the system and the system is guilty. So of course they’re going to try to turn this around and divert the attention from their corruption. But what I am so frustrated by and tired of is the people buying into this narrative. All the statuses and comments about how you don’t understand what breaking things is going to do only elevates this false narrative that the police and media are trying to create. You are helping them achieve exactly what they want because now we’re all talking about vandalism instead of the fact that this officer murdered a black person and walked free. The protestors are not the ones vandalizing property. It’s a small group of agitators. Understand that and stop mentioning it in association to the protests. Every time you do, you are assisting the police and media in smearing this movement.



However, while we do not condone vandalism, we understand that people are hurting and hurt people hurt people. So try to be less judgmental and think more about what has happened that has caused people to resort to vandalism. A broken window matters less than a life taken by police brutality. So for every post or comment you’ve made about vandalism, I hope you have 50 times more posts and comments about black people being killed by officers, and the officers walking free.

And also, don’t believe that all of the vandalism is coming from the agitators. There’s video of police breaking the window of a local business in the Central West End on 9/15/2017.

Lastly, I want to request that everyone stop saying “peaceful protest.” Our goal is not to be peaceful. There is nothing peaceful about a protest– that would not be a protest. You can say non-violent protest, but not peaceful. As the familiar protest chant goes, “no justice, no peace.”

Simply put, Anthony Lamar Smith did not receive justice so St. Louis will not have peace. Traffic flow will be disrupted and people will not commute in peace. Neighborhoods will be disrupted and people will not lounge in peace. Malls will be disrupted and people will not shop in peace. Restaurant strips will be disrupted and people will not eat in peace. Business will be disrupted and profit will be lost. But that’s the exact point. The judicial system did not render justice so we will continue to disrupt and keep the attention on this unjust situation, impacting people and profits directly until we get justice. Because we know that, unfortunately, people often tolerate injustice until it impacts them directly. Once it impacts folks directly, they are then motivated to act and make decisions that render the justice we’ve been demanding all along.

Any disruption that people experience from our protests pales in comparison to the disruption of the lives of the families of victims of police brutality. We just want justice. The sooner we get it, the sooner there will be peace. Know justice, know peace.

#BlackLivesMatter Culture Entertainment Jesse Williams Social Justice Women

I’m Not Here to Tell You What to Think about Jesse Williams…

I’m not here to tell you what to think. I’m just here to help you think critically.

There’s been a lot of discussion around Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee’s divorce. This very unfortunate situation has rendered various responses, specifically from the black community and especially because Jesse is now dating Minka Kelly, a white woman. While this dialogue started around Jesse and Aryn, this blog post is less about them and more about unpacking what our reactions/responses mean for “the movement,” and expressions and definitions of blackness.

Do personal shortcomings discredit one’s advocacy work/activism?

Some believe that Jesse’s actions show poor character, a lack of integrity, and warrant us to revoke our support of him. It is important to acknowledge that this perspective is based on the assumption that Jesse cheated on his ex-wife, which he has denied. However, this brings up an interesting notion: do we expect activists and leaders of “the movement” to be faultless? Is perfection required for them to be credible and receive our support?IMG_0407

I think about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While we hold him in very high regard for his work and advocacy for civil rights, we’ are aware of his infidelity allegations. Does Dr. King cheating on Coretta Scott King discredit his work? Should we cancel Dr. King?

With great power comes great responsibility so leaders will be held to high standards. However, no one is perfect and we all (continuously) make mistakes. While one may be an “expert” in one area, they may not have it all together in another. So where is the threshold? What shortcomings will we tolerate and which will we not?

Can a black person be pro-black but date/love someone who is not black?

Some are challenging Jesse’s (pro)blackness, finding his divorce from a black woman and/or dating a white woman to be hypocritical and negating of his advocacy for black lives, and more specifically, for black women (listen to his words about black women during his 2016 BET Humanitarian Award acceptancIMG_0409e speech).

Blackness is often put in a (small) box.  Depending on how you speak, eat, your hobbies, neighborhood, being multi-racial…your black card comes into question and it just may be revoked. Could this be another example of this? Does dating/loving a non-back person get your black card revoked? Can a black person be pro-black without dating/loving someone who is black? Do we see black people who date non-black people as credible activists and advocates?


Do black men really get on and leave our a** for a white girl?


Now that Jesse’s relationship with Minka is public, some black women suspect that this is another example of a black man leaving for a white woman. The fact of the matter is that it may not be. Maybe this is just how love is happening for Jesse— maybe this is truly someone he has hit if off with and who he cares about. And he is totally free to pursue that.

However, that fact that this thought crosses the minds of many black women speaks to something with much deeper roots.

After quoting Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” lyrics, Michael Harriot explained,

There is always truth in humor. The reason Kanye West’s line is so memorable is that we’ve all seen it happen. The idea that white women have always been a graduation present or lifetime achievement award for black men has become an accepted trope among black people. We quietly talk about it among ourselves, in barbershops and at cookouts.

The thought that rich, successful and famous black men eventually trade in black women for white women is such an acknowledged fact that we don’t even bother pointing out that the guy who wrote and rapped it left our ass for a white girl.


IMG_0410Again, this may not be what’s going on in Jesse’s situation, but it is still something to think about. How do we react to black men dating non-black people? How do we react to black women dating non-black people? What causes those reactions?  Why do some black men get on and leave our a** for a white girl?




And after you’ve thought through all of that, ask yourself, would we even be having this conversation if Jesse was now dating a black woman? What does that mean?

I’m not here to tell you what to think. I’m just here to help you think critically. We must think beyond the surface. Take this information, think, and determine your truth.

#BlackLivesMatter Ferguson Police Brutality Race Social Justice St. Louis

2 Years Later: Anniversary of the Murder of Mike Brown, Jr.

8.9.14. The day that changed everything. 2 years.

I’ve been anxious about this day coming ever since August arrived. I could feel the heaviness of my heart as soon as I opened my eyes today.

I’m thankful for Mike, and for everyone who refused to be silent about his murder. I’m thankful that the movement (that’s always existed) was ignited on a new level. I’m thankful that we are no longer tolerating the racial injustice that very much exists in what so many want to believe is a “post-racial society.”

But I’d be lying if I said I’m not impacted or concerned by the trauma that black people have relived over and over in just these 2 years alone.

2 years of police murders, hashtags, protests, non-indictments in a never ending cycle.

2 years of listening to the media criminalize the victims and prove they deserved to die, in a way that we never see done to non-black victims.

2 years of our friends, people we grew up with and love, showing us their bias and racism through social media posts.

2 years of the overall society constantly reminding us that our lives don’t matter, through the condoning and justification of our murders.

2 years of selective grief, where America can mourn and show empathy for the deaths of animals, police officers, and victims of foreign terrorism but show not an ounce of those feelings for black lives.

2 years of people bringing up “black on black crime” as if black people have this phenomenon of killing each other when statics tell us that the majority of ALL crime is intraracial (not to be confused with interracial…I literally have had to explain this to people).

2 years of debating #BlackLivesMatter and all lives matter but then those same people say blue lives matter, proving that it’s solely the ‘black’ that’s the issue.

2 years later, all these feelings are pouring out of my eyes. I’m tired. I’m traumatized. I’m hurting. I’m grieving. Im educating. I’m fighting. And I’m thankful for all the people who are on the ground, organizing, educating, running for office, and any other effort towards freedom.

2 years later, the movement lives and we will win.

#AltonSterling #BlackLivesMatter #PhilandoCastile Police Brutality Social Justice Uncategorized

Your Unity Posts Aren’t Saying What You Think 

I’m struggling so I’m gonna have a vulnerable moment with y’all, and I know many won’t agree and that is totally fine.


 I can’t take much more of y’all posting these pictures and videos of black people hugging and praying with (white) counter protestors, black people smiling with the police, little black and white kids being friends, etc. I mean, it is wearing me out.



It’s not because I don’t believe these things happen or should happen. It’s just that clearly, these things do not keep black people from experiencing injustice. So clearly, they are not the solution. Even with “good officers” and black people and white people being friends, black people are still being murdered by police, receiving harsher sentences in court, going to under resourced schools, making lesser wages in the same positions as white people, and experiencing many other forms of injustice. None of these posts and videos acknowledge or address this. These color-blind, “we’re all one” videos and posts are not going to get black people free.


They actually are keeping us from freedom. Every time you post these things (and I see both black and white people doing this), you give people the opportunity to ignore the plight of black people. You are sending the message of, “see, it’s not that bad. There are still good people.” And that causes you and others to ignore the injustice and issues that ARE actually happening. This only causes people who don’t understand #BlackLivesMatter to further believe that this movement is not necessary. These messages are so neutral and we know that if you’re neutral, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.


Stop being neutral. Your neutrality does absolutely nothing for those being oppressed. Your neutrality is not helping the families of #AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastile, or any other police brutality victim get justice. It’s actually making it harder for them to because you’re countering what their loved one experienced. You’re basically saying, “yeah I know an officer killed your family member but look at this officer playing with this cute kid…everything is fine.” This stuff is the biggest slap in the face to these families and this movement.


Change will require us to acknowledge and call out these issues directly, not generally or subliminally (that’s the problem with #AllLivesMatter). If you were at work or having an issue at home, you would not go about developing and identifying a solution in a indirect way. If you were sick, you wouldn’t want your doctor focusing on less relevant, indirectly related parts of your body to heal you. You would want them to address the problem head on. So why do we think this is an appropriate solution when it comes to the injustice of black people?


Some of you need to realize that you are in denial. And honestly, I get that. No one wants to accept that our world is this messed up. It’s hurtful, depressing, frustrating, all of that. But we know that the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting that we have one. So please, if you really want change to happen, please get out of denial and call it what it is.


I am not anti-unity but what I am not going to do is promote (a neutral) unity as the ultimate solution at the expense of us ignoring the real issue. No. Not when people are being murdered. Unity is necessary but what’s really going to bring justice and keep more people from becoming hashtags is acknowledgement and change to the systems, like police organizations, that are systemically racist. Not your little touchy, feely video.


If you want to promote true unity, unite with us and stand up against these racist and unjust systems. People coming together and fighting against wrong, regardless of their race, socio-economic status, religion, nationality, sexuality, and any other identity, will show organizations and our government officials that it’s truly time for change. And that’s the radical type of unity we need. 


Cultural Appropriation Greek Life Higher Ed Higher Education Social Justice Student Affairs

3 Ways to Share Our Stepping & Strolling Traditions without Giving Away Our Culture

Aleidra’s piece is featured on

Should Black Greek-Letter Organizations (BGLOs) teach white, non-BGLO people how to step? This is an ongoing question and debate within the BGLO community, and honestly, I understand all the various perspectives.

With that, I understand that teaching stepping and strolling to non-BGLO members has become a popular collegiate norm. So for our members that are partaking in this new college tradition, here’s my piece,  3 Ways to Share Our Stepping & Strolling Traditions without Giving Away Our Culture, to help you do so in a meaningful way.

#BlackLivesMatter #EverydayBlackHistory Black History Black History Month Black Panthers Police Brutality Politics Race Social Justice Sports Super Bowl

#EverydayBlackHistory Day 9- Who were the Black Panthers?

bp.jpgSince Beyonce’s Super Bowl 50 half time performance, there has been lots of conversation around the Black Panthers. Many (white) Americans seem appalled that Bey would pay tribute to such an organization,  falsely comparing the Black Panthers to the Ku Klux Klan (the Black Panthers were NOT terrorists who bombed, murdered, and lynched innocent people like the KKK). But do we really know who the Black Panthers were? Unfortunately, the American education system has a way of painting historic black leaders and organizations in a negative light, and/or watering down the truth to fit its preferred narrative. So let’s educate ourselves and learn who the Black Panthers truly were.

Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party. The two had worked together for years prior through activism in black politics. Bobby  Seale was involved in RAM (Revolutionary Action Movement) and both of the men were in the Soul Students Advisory Committee, a collegiate organization. The philosophy for the Panthers was developed through these experiences.

But the Panthers were not just about philosophy. They had demands and outlined action to achieve them. Recently, people have talked about the Panthers possession of guns. The Panthers did indeed exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. This was done to implement Malcolm X’s self-defense philosophy and patrol the police. At the time, police brutality was rampant, with officers beating and killing black people randomly. Police departments were even recruiting officers from the racist south to police the northern ghettos.

The Socialist Alternative recalls this instance:

On one occasion, whilst on patrol, they witnessed an officer stop and search a young guy. The Panthers got out of their car and went over to the scene and stood watching their guns on full display. Angrily, the policeman began to question them and tried to intimidate them with threats of arrest. But Huey P. Newton had studied the law intimately and could quote every law and court ruling relevant to their situation.

During these situations, the Panthers made it clear that they did not want to have a shoot-out with the police and that they would only use their guns in self-defense. They would also hand out information, to the crowd that formed, about the Black Panthers philosophy and meeting details.

Outside of their self-defense, we rarely talk about the notable community programs that the Panthers organized. They organized many “revolutionary program,” as they called them, such as free breakfast for children, health clinics, and shoes for children. Bobby Seale explained, “A revolutionary program is onset forth by revolutionaries, by those who want to change the existing system for a better system.”

The Black Panther Party grew to have 5,000 full time employees and 45 chapters throughout America. They sold 250,000 papers a week. At the time, polls showed that the organization had 90 percent support from black people in major cities. The group was largely impactful, with the FBI describing them as “the number one threat to the internal security of the United States.”

Today, we remember the Black Panther Party, for being one of the most widely know black political organizations that protected and met people’s needs through programs that provided food, clothes, medical care and more. We thank them for showing us what we can accomplish through organization. Today, unfortunately,  we still see many of the same issues that they combated. We can learn much from them.




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#EverydayBlackHistory Day 8- Visual Artist John Jennings

jjThere’s a space and place for all of us in this movement. How we express our perspectives and seek justice and freedom will look differently for each of us, and that’s okay. Some of us will educate, some will protest, some will open non-profit organizations or businesses, some will meet with government leaders…and the list goes on. But one man, John Jennings, is using his art to start a revolution.

John Jennings is a visual artists who challenges the typical portrayal of black expression by creating work that goes outside of that confine. He bases his work on these questionsHow can we show the work of underrepresented artists, especially those who do comics (see list of books below)? How can we go beyond the racial stereotypes of traditional comic art to show the rich expression of black artists, past and present? John Jennings explains, “we have to understand that stereotypical images are designed to function in a particular way. They all have purposes in how the Black body is perceived. The work that I do and that my colleagues create offer alternatives to those constructions and gives the Black audience choices on multiple levels.

Black TwitterYou may have come across some of John Jennings work withoutmother even realizing it. John Jennings is the creator of #BLKPWRTWITTR, a remake of the Twitter logo that was created after the murders of nine innocent black lives at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. John Jennings was looking for a way to express his range of emotions and show unity. He also created the piece, Tears of Mother Emanuel.

Today, we celebrate John Jennings for using his gift to tear down stereotypes, create a space for underrepresented artists, and giving us a visual component to the movement. We are thankful to experience this black history in the making.


Here are some books by John Jennings:

Black Comix

What “black,” “art” and “culture” mean to a group of African-American artists.




Graphic novel is science fiction/horror story about buying and selling of race.



 Out of Sequence

 Underrepresented voices showcase their imaginative comic art.