Members of all nine historically Black Greek organizations came out for an afternoon of food, fun and fellowship during the Twin Cities Greek Picnic.
Pictured: Greek unity. Simon Ndely (Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.), Anthony Hines (Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.), James Burroughs (Omega Psi Phi), Lindsay Benjamin (Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.) and Nakeisha Ferguson (Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.) gather at the Twin Cities Greek Picnic.
The event, in its third year, was held Sat., Aug. 25 at Minnehaha Park. The picnic, which also attracted several attendees who are not affiliated with any of the organizations, drew over 150 participants. Many of the revelers said this type event is a needed social outlet in the Twin Cities.
Pictured: Ladies of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. hanging out at the Twin Cities Greek Picnic.
Elisa Rucker, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. said even though the picnic was a social gathering, it served a greater purpose.
"This is a way to help educate people about Greek life and the service we do," said Rucker. "Regardless of what Greek organization you're with, we're all about the same thing; service." As an example of service, representatives of AchieveMpls, a non-profit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools, were on hand signing-up volunteers to serve as mentors for area students.
Pictured: Ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. strolling during the Twin Cities Greek Picnic.
Kelli Jones, a transplant from Atlanta and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. agrees that even social events such as the picnic are great ways to promote the service aspects of the Black-Greek organizations.
"It's more than about just Black-Greek life," said Jones. "We represent a group of Black professionals and we're showing kids that education can be fun. A great way to do that is to have events like this where people can see the unity. It's really a good time."
Pictured: Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Kayiita Johnson and Brian Grizzell hanging out at the Twin Cities Greek Picnic.
Rucker said in years past, many of the organizations would host signature events that were supported by members of all Black-Greek organizations, but in recent times those events have gone by the waist side.
In its third year, the picnic was organized by Isaiah Potts, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Danielle El, a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Potts said the picnic helps to shed a positive light on the African-American community.
Pictured: The men of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. hanging out during the Twin Cities Greek Picnic.
"This event says people of our heritage can come together and have positive things going on," said Potts, who is in his second year of organizing the event. "It's a great atmosphere and you don't have to worry about violence or crime."
El said when people think about Black Greeks, they tend to focus solely on the social aspect of the organizations.
"We need to show that Black Greek organizations do more than just party and stroll (a party dance performed by members of Black-Greek organizations)" said El. "We are doing things in the community. This (picnic) was all for the community."
Potts and El credit Tammy Etheridge, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and Brandon Vaughn a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. with starting the annual event.
Pictured: Corey Bullard, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. enjoying the Greek Picnic with his 5-year-old son, Bryce Bullard.
Charles Hall, a member of Iota Phi Theta, Fraternity, Inc., believes events such as this will thrust a needed spotlight on Greek life for the "Divine Nine" (as the collective of the Black-Greek organizations is commonly called).
"We need to have more events like this," said Hall. "It's nice to see a bunch of Black folks together and it's safe and it's for all ages. We need something like this in the winter."
The nine organizations are all a part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. (NPHC). The NPHC consist of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and Iota Phi Theta.