By Keyonna Jones > Senior > Broadcast Journalism > UMD
What’s a better way to reward yourself for a long year of charity events, community service and academic stress than to kick back, relax and party in the sun beams of Atlanta, Ga.?
Members of the National Pan-Hellenic (NPHC), a cohesive organization that is made up of historically African-American Greek fraternities and sororities, traveled from all over the United States to do just that. Atlanta Greek Picnic, the highlight of the Atlanta Greek Weekend, has been flourishing in popularity since it’s humble beginnings in 2004 when just over 1,000 Greeks came together to see old friends and relive their college days. The event has grown to well over 10,000 participants and this year, NHPC members gathered on the historically black Morehouse College campus to fellowship and cultivate new bonds.
The NPHC is made up of nine fraternities and sororities: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Collectively, they are referred to as the “Divine Nine.” Despite their respective Greek letters and colors, and most of all, competitive spirit, Greeks unified for an exciting weekend fostering new relationships, networking and just having plain fun. MiKeisha Allen, a senior sociology major at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, drove nearly six hours for her first ATL Greek Picnic experience. “For my first time I thought it was a great experience, especially to see the unity that was expressed throughout entire weekend.”
Starting at noon, with the sun at it’s peak, fraternity brothers and sorority sisters filled Morehouse’s yard. The “bruhs” of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity fired up the grill passing out burgers, hot dogs and chicken as countless vendors prepared for the crowd selling everything from t-shirts to bags to hats to paintings, all illustrating the involved organizations. Most members paraded around in Greek paraphernalia or their organization’s colors as they indulged in chants, strolls and hops exhibiting their pride for sorority or fraternity. Deltas in crimson, Omega men in purple and gold, and so on…
In spite of the negative attention that sometimes seems to find young African-Americans, ATL Greek Picnic is and has been one of the best demonstrations of unity and cohesion within the young black community. “I was amazed to see so many young, educated African-American men and women enjoy each other’s company,” said Jaimie Miller, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and now an alum of Spelman College, who has been in Atlanta four years and attended the Greek picnic for her first time this weekend. “Especially with all the negative media our generation receives, it was nice to see us breaking down all of the stereotypes.”