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Iota Phi Theta Blog

Content blog for Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.

Does America Care About its Children?

We Should All Be Outraged about the Texas Shootings

The killing of eighteen children and three adults, and the injuring of others, by a shooter at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas is a national disgrace. Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. extends our deepest sympathy to the families of all those affected and expresses our outrage over the inaction of Congress in confronting gun violence in the United States. 

If we cannot protect our children, what does it say about our nation? Parents and families should have no fear in sending their children to school. Yet, in this present environment of gun violence, there is no guarantee that a child who walks out the front door will return home safely at the end of the day. What type of country do we live in when our most precious souls are deemed expendable, and when their bloodshed only results in 'thoughts and prayers?' A nation that cannot love and protect its children, is a nation that has lost its soul. 

When will the bloodshed be enough for adults in our nation's political leadership to cease their petty differences and arguments, and stop hiding behind archaic Constitutional amendments, and confront the epidemic of gun violence? We are burying our future with each mass shooting, and it should come as no surprise when children express doubts over the integrity of our nation. What confidence can children have in their future when we cannot protect them today? 

We need leaders in our country, real leaders, who take seriously the responsibility to protect children. If we continue down our current path of easy access to guns, no strong background checks on gun owners, and ignoring mental health issues, this nation will not see another century. We have accepted 'death by gun violence' as a normal occurrence and grown numb to the tears and heartache of parents who must bury their dead children. This is a political problem, but a moral failure. 

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. calls upon Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to take the necessary measures to reduce the incidence of gun violence in America. 

Sean D. Housen, Sr. 
23rd International Grand Polaris
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. 
"It takes a Man, be that Man" 

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Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Mourns the Victims of Buffalo Mass Shooting

America must confront White Supremacy

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. was founded just days after one of the most horrific incidents of racially motivated violence in the history of our nation. Four days before Iota came into existence, four little Black girls were murdered in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama by White supremacists. Now, almost 6 decades later, we have witnessed another episode of racist hate when an 18- year-old White supremacist walked into a Buffalo, New York supermarket and shot and killed ten Black people, with the intent of murdering more. This was a pure act of evil, rooted in racial paranoia. 

The Brotherhood of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. extends our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of this horrendous crime. We also extend our prayers to the people of Buffalo and the community that has been directly impacted by this act of domestic terrorism. 

America has a problem. It is a problem that is rooted in this nation's history of oppressing Black people and the perpetuation of White supremacy. The assailant in this case, a teenager, traveled two hundred miles with hate in his heart, determined to murder Black people. His every thought, evidenced by his 180-page White supremacist manifesto, was preoccupied with the idea that Black people were expendable and a threat to the White race. President Biden called that thinking a "sickness,' and the president was right, but it is so much more. It is tradition, extending from the violent enslavement of Africans, the inhumane treatment of Black people during the Black Codes and Jim Crow, the lynching and White mob violence targeting Black people, and the brutality we experience at the hands of law enforcement daily. America's problem is racism, and it was racism that drove Payton Gendron to Buffalo with murder on his mind. 

As we pause to remember the ten lives lost, those who will never return home again to their families and friends, we also urge states to act against hate crimes and to close loopholes in gun ownership laws. We also believe that it is imperative for public school districts' curriculum to offer Black history courses and a truthful accounting of American history. For an 18-year-old to harbor such hate is a clear indication that he was indoctrinated with misinformation that helped shape his warped ideas and racist ideology. While the prospect of federal action is remote at this time, we believe states must step up and implement legislation that will deter such heinous acts or impose penalties of significance that will offer a true measure of justice for victims and their families. 

Iota chapters across the nation stand with the people of Buffalo, and this fraternity will continue to challenge, push, and work for a better America in which Black people will stand as equals under the law and be treated as such. Sean D. Housen, Sr. 23rd International Grand Polaris Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. "It takes a Man, Be that Man" #oneiota

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Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. applauds Brother/Rep. Bobby Rush’s Anti-Lynching Legislation

Historic bill codifies lynching as a federal crime after 200 attempts since 1900

(Baltimore, MD) On February 28, by a vote of 422-3, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 55, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act sponsored by Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), that for the first time would designate lynching as a federal hate crime. Voting "no" against the bill were Republican Representatives Andrew S. Clyde (GA), Thomas Massie (KY) and Chip Roy (TX). There had been more than 200 unsuccessful attempts since 1900 to codify antilynching legislation. According to a report from the Equal Justice Initiative, more than 6,500 Americans were lynched between 1865 and 1950. 

The legislation honors the life and memory of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Chicago boy who was brutally lynched in 1955 during a visit to Mississippi. Till's death was a turning point for the civil rights movement. 

Representative Rush had this to say about the historic legislation. 

"I was eight years old when my mother put the photograph of Emmett Till's brutalized body that ran in Jet magazine on our living room coffee table, pointed to it, and said, 'this is why I brought my boys out of Albany, Georgia.' That photograph shaped my consciousness as a Black man in America, changed the course of my life, and changed our nation. But modern-day -more- lynching like the murder of Ahmaud Arbery make abundantly clear that the racist hatred and terror that fueled the lynching of Emmett Till lynching are far too prevalent in America to this day." 

The Emmett Till Antilynching Act was first introduced by Representative Rush in the 115th Congress. The bill was passed in the House with bipartisan support in the 116th Congress but was blocked in the Senate. 

Under the bill, a crime can be prosecuted when a conspiracy to commit a hate crime results in death or serious injury. The maximum sentence for a perpetrator convicted under this Act is 30 years, and the Act applies to a broad range of circumstances. On the same day, the legislation passed in the House, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced companion legislation in the Senate to make lynching a federal crime. The two senators had previously sponsored a bill with then-Senator Kamala Harris in 2018. The bill was previously held up in the Senate by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). 

Representative Rush is also the lead sponsor of bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2252, to award the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously to Emmet Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, as well as a bill, H.R. 4581, directing the United States Postmaster General to issue a commemorative stamp in honor of Mamie Till-Mobley.

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Statement on Bomb Threats at HBCU Campuses

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. is deeply troubled by the recent bomb threats targeting some of our nation's historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). As an organization founded on the campus of one of our nation's oldest Black institutions, Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, we are outraged that students on our beloved campus and other HBCUs have been targeted in this way. We applaud the quick response of state law enforcement agencies that mobilized to protect these students and we commend the administrations of these institutions for their quick response to these heinous threats. 

It is our understanding that the United States Department of Justice has deemed these incidents 'hate crimes' and has mobilized the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces to apprehend those responsible. We consider these threats acts of domestic terrorism and want the individual(s) or group(s) responsible to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. It is not lost upon us that the latest incidents occurred on the first day of Black History Month and are part of a growing trend of retro-racism aimed at reversing the gains Black people have made in America. Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. was founded at the height of the civil rights movement, just days after four little Black girls were killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, so we are well aware of the cowardice behind the hate. 

We know what these threats represent. Racial resentment is at post-Civil War levels and there are some in this country that want to suppress the aspirations of Black students. This is occurring in our K-12 schools with the irrational wave of book banning and attempts to whitewash American history, and the wave of hate sweeping across college campuses. This fraternity will do everything within its power and reach to affirm that Black lives matter and protect our youth. 

We stand behind all of our students and Brothers on the campuses of our nation's HBCUs. We encourage them to stay focused on their academic goals but vigilant in their daily routine. If you see something amiss on your campus, such as a stranger walking the campus or in a building, or an unattended package, please report it to your campus security. If you receive a strange package or a parcel with no identification, do not open it. Stay observant. The best advice we can offer is if you see something, say something

We will not allow racism and hate to interfere with the aspirations of Black youth. Iota will work with its undergraduate chapters to make certain our Brothers are safe and that they are doing their part to keep their campus safe. We encourage Black college alumni around the nation to check on their Alma mater and offer moral support during this time of great anxiety. Our children and their families need to be assured that we are all doing our part in keeping our students safe. Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. calls upon our federal government and state governments to provide the resources to historically Black colleges and universities to secure and protect their campuses. 

If you are aware of a threat against a historically Black college or university, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324). 

For further information contact Director of Communications, Walter L. Fields at [email protected] 

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., one of America's 'Divine 9' National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities was established on September 19, 1963, on the campus of one of the nation's great historically Black Colleges and Universities, Morgan State University (nee College) in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Supports the Appointment of a Black Woman to the High Court

Statement of the International Grand Polaris on the retirement of Justice Stephen A. Breyer

With the announcement that United State Supreme Court Justice Stephen A. Breyer will retire, the nation is poised for the historic appointment of a Black woman to the high Court. During his campaign for the presidency, candidate Joe Biden committed to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court. Now, President Biden has an opportunity to fulfill that promise and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. expects him to do so. For too long, the voice of a Black woman has been absent from the nation's highest tribunal. Now is the time to correct that historical omission. 

Black women have borne the burdens of our nation, often with quiet dignity and too frequently in public pain. The value that a conscious Black woman would bring to the Supreme Court is beyond debate. The fact that a Black woman has never been appointed as one of the nine justices is a grave injustice. The United States will never be the nation it purports to be if it continues to discount its Black and brown progeny. This pending appointment will represent a significant course correction in our nation's quest for real justice under democratic rule. 

We can recall the historic nature of the appointment of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court and how the addition of that brilliant jurist brought a new perspective to deliberations before the Court. During Marshall's tenure on the court, the nation's most disadvantaged populations – Blacks, Latinos, and women – knew he would protect their constitutional rights and he never wavered from his belief that the Constitution existed to protect the powerless as much as the powerful. Iota Phi Theta was founded during the period when this nation benefited from Justice Marshall's jurisprudence. The appointment of a Black woman will be no less significant. In many ways, considering the tenor of this Court, the addition of a Black woman will not change the ideological bend of the Roberts Court but it will inject a world view that has been missing since Justice Marshall's retirement from the bench in 1991. 

We are faced with significant challenges to our voting rights, environmental protections, elections security and civil rights, and these weighty issues are coming before the Supreme Court. We need the assurance that our concerns will be heard deliberations before the Court and that we have a justice who recognizes the need for the Constitution to be more than just words on parchment. 

As a fraternity with a large membership of Black men, Iota Phi Theta is excited for our sisters in the struggle as they are on the verge of gaining a voice on the highest legal body in our government. Let there be no mistake. Their time is now and we stand 100% in agreement that the next appointment to the Supreme Court should be a Black woman. There are a number of highly qualified and accomplished Black woman who can honorably serve this nation on the United State Supreme Court. 

President Biden, we call on you to keep your campaign promise and nominate a Black woman to replace retiring Justice Stephen A. Breyer. 

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

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