The Divine Nine Fraternities were the first organizations established for African-Americans. These organizations began their influence in the community when Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., became the first national fraternal organization. In the decades following, each organization has grown tremendously, contributed countless hours of community service and created programs that have empowered generations. The Latino Greek movement started in 1975 with Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. . They enlarged the scope of greek life by welcoming Latinos. With all of these accomplishments of these organizations, why would a member become interested in joining a non collegiate fraternity ? We hope to provide some insight.
Although each organization has a specific plan that guides fraternal activities, members can feel a disconnect when causes that need attention are not within the scope of the organization. A similar situation happened when one of the members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. created Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc. He was driven to focus on the needs of the Latino community. He was able to keep his letter as a member of Phi Beta Sigma. But others may find themselves having to make a choice. As members evolve, their goals in life can lead them to seek an organization that matches their journey. Religious, Sexual orientation and military focuses have led individuals to join non collegiate fraternities.
Need for Connection
In college, having constant access to your fraternal brothers is a daily source of strength. For those that relocate to other areas and get involved in building a career, the fraternity takes a back seat. Once out of the loop, it can become difficult to find a local chapter or sector that welcomes you. One man relayed his disappointment to find that most of the members in his alumni chapter pledged together in college. He was not fully welcomed into the group. Feeling abandoned, he joined a non collegiate fraternity after trying to resolve the issue within the organization.Within his new organization he had access to the founders , teleconferences with brothers around the country and local events that kept his calendar full.
The Opportunity to Contribute
The NPHC and Latino fraternities are large. A member may not have enough leverage to convince their brothers to try a particular service project. Your initiatives may not be given consideration. The only choice available after voicing your concerns is to stay unhappy or find an organization that is looking for your particular skill set. This was the case with our founder Jahaziel Perez. As his Latino Fraternity grew, he became an outsider. The large amount of bureaucracy made it impossible to push service agendas that could get support. There were cultural differences that caused him not to be included in local activities. After working to establish the organization in the region, he felt like a stranger in the house he helped to build. Conferences with regional officials didn’t create change.
He had a strong desire to serve the needs of low income communities and unite men who were left out of the fraternal system [ Trade School, Military, Technical and Community College ] . He wanted to establish programs to help the youth. And a focus on helping homeless veterans. His sector didn’t share the same goal. They were a strictly collegiate fraternity. Having met other men who lived a life of service and volunteered on a consistent basis, they decided to create Sigma Lambda Xi Fraternity, Inc. And have welcomed any men who may share this experience.
Divine Nine and Latino fraternities have given their lives, finances and time to making a positive impact in the community. As they grew, their organizations became more complex adding multiple layers of authority. Unfortunately, men fall through the cracks and are become outsiders.
A Non Collegiate Fraternity can offer the opportunity to serve and develop connections that are in line with your stage in life. They are not in competition but complementary. Should you find yourself in the same situation, a non collegiate fraternity like Sigma Lambda Xi is worth a look.