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Iota Phi Theta Blog

Content blog for Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Mourns the Passing of Delta Sigma Theta's National President

We Extend our Condolences to our Divine 9 Sisters

(Baltimore, MD) – The Men of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. are saddened to learn of the passing of Cheryl A. Hickmon, the National President and Chair of the National Board of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. We extend our sincere condolences to Ms. Hickmon's family and her sorors. 

Iota Phi Theta's 23rd International Grand Polaris Sean D. Housen, Sr., stated, "We are heartbroken over the news of Cheryl Hickmon's passing and we will keep our Divine 9 sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in our prayers. We know this is a challenging time for Deltas around the world and we want you to know we are here to be of assistance during this period of bereavement. Our Brotherhood shares your grief." 

Ms. Hickmon was a graduate of South Carolina State University, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. since 1982 and had served in various capacities in the organization before elected as the 27th National President in November 2021. She was a member of the Hartford Alumnae Chapter

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Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Upholding King's Legacy in a Nation Divided


(Baltimore, MD) – Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. recognizes the birthday of the great civil rights leader and humanitarian, the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr., on this King National Holiday. The legacy of Dr. King places him at the forefront of patriots in American history as his life serves as an example of the possibilities of our democracy. Today, now more than ever, as our country is being threatened by internal forces that seek its demise, we must summon the spirit of Dr. King and reengage in the fight for equality in our nation. 

On this Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday, the 23rd International Grand Polaris of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Sean D. Housen, Sr. reflected on the life and service of Dr. King. International Grand Polaris Housen recalled, "There is a symmetry between the apex of Dr. King's role in the civil rights movement and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. The year 1963 is recalled as a pivotal period in the fight for Blacks' civil rights, as the year was marked by political assassinations and racist violence, and a remarkable march in our nation's capital. During that year 12 Black men, students on the campus of Morgan State College, founded Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. just days after the murder of 4 little Black girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Our founding represented the restlessness of a people unsatisfied with the status quo and seeking a better path forward." 

Today, and every day, the men of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. are dedicated to community service and civic engagement. Iota's chapters throughout the nation actively participate in community impact projects designed to meet the needs of individuals and families in -more- communities our chapters represent. The fraternity promotes voter registration, works in partnership with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. on voter outreach, and calls upon Iota men to exercise their right to vote in every election. 

International Grand Polaris Housen added, "Dr. King was a man of the people, a leader committed to community and citizenship. Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc, shares those ideals and since our founding we have focused on citizenship and leadership as defining principles of our organization. Iotas around the country are playing leadership roles in community and civic organizations, and our organization encourages our Brothers to lead by example. As we honor Dr. King, we seek to show the nation the potential of true brotherhood and the benefits our society can gain if we judge all women and men by the content of their character, and not the color of their skin." 

Today, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. also recognizes and acknowledges that Dr. King was a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and part of the civil rights legacy of the Divine 9. Like so many other leaders in our nation's history, Dr. King, as a graduate of Morehouse College, understood the value of historically Black colleges and Black Greek life. We know that his fellow Morehouse alumni and Alpha Phi Alpha Brothers are remembering Dr. King with extraordinary pride today. 

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. was founded on September 19, 1963, on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, just days after the murder of four Black girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama and just a month after the historic March on Washington. Established by a group of older students, the fraternity has a historic commitment to community service and civic engagement given its founding during the civil rights movement. Today, as a member organization of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. continues to advocate for voting rights and is calling upon Congress to protect the voting rights of Black Americans. The fraternity maintains its national headquarters in Baltimore. ### For further information contact Walter Fields, Director of Communications by clicking here.

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Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Supports the John Lewis Voting Rights Act

Fraternity Urges Senate to pass H.R. 4


(Baltimore, MD) – Citing the urgency to protect the voting rights of millions of Black and Latino voters across the nation, the 23rd International Grand Polaris of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. called upon the United States Senate to pass H.R.4., the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The legislation restores many of the voting protections in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were subverted by state laws and the United States Supreme Court. 

International Grand Polaris Sean D. Housen Sr., declared, "The time has come for the United States Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. We agree with President Joe Biden that you either stand on the side of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or with segregationist Governor George Wallace. Across the nation, but particularly in southern states, the voting rights of Black and brown voters are being suppressed. We must not allow Jim Crow to rear its ugly head in America again." 

The United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 4 in August 2021 with no Republican support and the bill has faced opposition by the Republican Senate minority. There is not sufficient bipartisan support to overcome an expected filibuster by Senate Republicans. President Joe Biden has called upon the Democratic majority in the Senate to suspend the chamber's rules to allow a straight party-line vote on H.R. 4. However, two Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, are opposing any change in the Senate rules. 

Housen added, "This is a time for the Senate to rise above pettiness and put the interests of our nation first. We appeal to Senators Manchin and Sinema to drop their opposition to the rules change and join their fellow Democrats to pass this important bill. It is time for good trouble in -more- America and our fraternity is recommitting our efforts during this critical time in our nation's history. We cannot sit by silently as the rights fought for and won by our ancestors with their blood, sweat and tears is being systemically taken from us." 

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. was founded on September 19, 1963, on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, just days after the murder of four Black girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama and just a month after the historic March on Washington. Established by a group of older students, the fraternity has a historic commitment to community service and civic engagement given its founding during the civil rights movement. The fraternity maintains its national headquarters in Baltimore. 

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For further information contact Walter Fields, Director of Communications here.

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Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Mourns the Passing of General Colin Powell

International Grand Polaris Sean D. Housen, Sr. Issues Statement

(Baltimore, MD) - Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. mourns the loss of retired General and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, and we offer our condolences to the general's family.

General Powell was a true American patriot. Born and raised in the South Bronx in New York City, the general was a graduate of the City College of New York, where he participated in ROTC and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He was a White House Fellow under the administration of President Lyndon Johnson and rose to the rank of four-star general. General Powell served in Republican and Democratic administrations and in addition to being the first Black Secretary of State, served as National Security Advisor and the first Black Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff. The general also served as Chairman of America's Promise, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to mobilizing the nation's youth to public service.

General Powell twice received the nation's highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and also received the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal.

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. has a history of service in the military and recognizes the tremendous sacrifices of our women and men in uniform. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the Powell family and his many friends and colleagues, and the enlisted members of the United States Army.

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For further information, contact National Director of Communications, Walter Fields, at 973.738.7876 or [email protected]

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Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. called to "D9" White House Meeting

Meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss critical issues

(Baltimore, MD) – At the request of the 23rd International Grand Polaris of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Sean D. Housen, Sr., the immediate past Grand Polaris, Andre Manson, will join the other presidents of the National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations for a meeting this afternoon with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House. The NPHC organizations, popularly referred to as the 'Divine 9,' will meet with the vice president to discuss a myriad of issues impacting the Black community. Vice President Harris is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., one of the Divine 9 sororities.

International Grand Polaris Housen stated, "We are pleased that Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. will be represented today by my immediate predecessor, Brother Andre Manson. Iota is an organization that was birthed during the civil rights movement and continues, to this day, to have a very strong social justice orientation among our hundreds of undergraduate and graduate chapters." 

The meeting today will take place against the backdrop of several urgent matters confronting the Biden administration. The topics on the agenda include a discussion on voting rights and efforts in certain states to implement laws that will curtail access to the ballot for Black people and people of color; the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on communities of color, and equitable health care in the United States.

"These are all issues," remarked Mr. Housen, "that impact Iotas and our families across the country. I am pleased that our 22nd International Grand Polaris, Mr. Manson, will join with our fellow Divine 9 organizations to discuss these critical issues. We are thankful to Vice President Harris for the invitation to participate. As always, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. is prepared to do its part to uplift our community any and every way possible."

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., with its national headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland, was founded on September 19, 1963, on the campus of Morgan State University (nee College). Today, the fraternity has over three hundred chapters nationwide and overseas. Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. became a member of the National Pan Hellenic Council in 1997, formally transforming the NPHC into the 'Divine 9,' a designation for the fraternities and sororities that were originally founded to include Black students in Greek life.

For further information, contact National Director of Communications, Walter Fields, at 973.738.7876 or via email.

                                 These are all issues, that impact Iotas and our families across the country. I am pleased that our 22nd International Grand Polaris, Mr. Manson, will join with our fellow Divine 9 organizations to discuss these critical issues. We are thankful to Vice President Harris for the invitation to participate. As always, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. is prepared to do its part to uplift our community any and every way possible.

Bro. Sean D. Housen, Sr. - 23rd International Grand Polaris

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