January 30, 2023

Last Thursday, Concerned Black Students (CBS) held a panel discussion to, as they described it, debunk the myths surrounding Black Greek Life.
The event, titled “Fact vs. Fiction: The Truth about Black Greeks,” featured Brian Richardson, Sha’Dawn Battle, and NaQuiana Moore — all of whom were involved in Black Greek organizations while in college. The talk was moderated by Kamyia Fletcher, ’17, a member of CBS, who said that the presentation comes amid a growing interest on campus to establish Black Greek organizations.
The panelists shared their personal experiences to correct what they described as the misconceptions on Black Greek life.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made in life,” said Battle, a Wittenberg adjunct English instructor, on joining the Delta Zigma Theta sorority at Central State University. Battle said she most enjoyed the community service component of her sorority and the life-long relationships she formed.
Richardson, who was one of the founding members Kappa Alpha Psi at his Alma matter, said he most valued the brotherhood and campus leadership elements of his fraternity.
“[It was amazing to be] a part of something greater than myself,” Richardson explained. “We set a standard to live by on campus.”
Moore, a first year success advisor at Wittenberg, said she could not imagine what life would be like if she had not joined her sorority.
“It was fate that I joined,” Moore said, citing both the relationships she built within her sorority and those she formed with the other nine Black Greek organizations on her campus as her favored experiences. “We were like a whole family.”
The panelists also said that Greek life presented challenges — but challenges that helped them grow.
“I had to learn how to juggle 1,000 different things at once,” Battle explained, noting that this challenge helped her prepare for professional life.
Moore recounted the ways in which she advanced within her campus chapter and in her sorority’s national organization:
“I was forced to learn a lot of leadership skills,” she said.
During the question-and-answer portion of the panel, a local community member with the Springfield chapter of the Peacekeepers — a global initiative aimed at promoting “peace, love, and unity in communities plagued by crime and gun violence,” according to its website — raised concerns about the function the organizations serve.
“Other than the educational aspects of your organizations, you guys are just gangs,” he said.
From the audience, Mia Simpson, ‘15, president of CBS, responded by saying that Greek organizations can be a positive force that brings students together.
“[Greek organizations] are started to create a bond among people who share values,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean they are single-minded.”
Battle said that painting Black Greek organizations as gangs can be harmful to their presence on campuses.
“It’s hard to establish Black Greek organizations on campus when you have false stereotypes like that,” she said.
The panelists also discussed the potential of non-black people joining Black Greek organizations.
“As long as you understand the historical context in which the organizations exist, I think it’s fine,” Battle said in reference to the role the organizations have played in fighting racism. “But at the same time, you can’t come in and change the core ideals of the organization.”
Richardson shared a similar sentiment.
“If you can fully align yourself with the ideals, I don’t see a problem with it,” he said.
The event also included a historical overview of Black Greek organizations, a brief explanation on the formalities of joining a campus and a demonstration on stepping delivered by Battle and her former Greek sister, Brooke Johnson.
The event was the last in CBS’ Black History Month programming.
 

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