Attorney Rasheed Ali Cromwell delivered an inspirational, intellectual and anti-hazing message to Greek and non-Greek students in Grambling Hall Wednesday night.
The North Carolina A&T alumnus and member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., challenged students to reconsider reasons for joining Black Greek letter organizations. He admitted that the state of today’s Black Greek is concerning.
“We’re facing some challenges,” Cromwell said, regarding national trends with Black Greek organizations and administrative concerns with the sororities and fraternities.
The riveting speaker was not unfamiliar with Grambling State University. As a high school student Cromwell traveled from Baltimore to Grambling and participated in the high ability mathematics and science program. To date he’s completed 90 collegiate presentations, he said.
Part of the night’s presentation included highlights of various incidences of near fatal and fatal hazing.
In addition to citing incidents at Morehouse, Prairie View and other universities, Cromwell cautioned Greeks against disobeying administration.
His undergraduate chapter was suspended for eight years after failure to adhere to instutional warnings, he said.
He cited “The Mis-education of the Negro” by Carter G. Woodson and applied Woodson’s theme of challenging one’s thoughts to influence one’s actions, to his Grambling discourse.
“There’s a disconnect,” he said of today’s organizational practices, compared with African centered initial practices.
He attributed a shift from physicality to membership intake to too many unnecessary and unintentional hazing related deaths.
Cromwell not only cracked well-received jokes and spoke to a rapt audience, but also cited historical and media influences that permeate throughout modern culture. He offered a real time criticism of applying gangster rap mentalities to collegiate atmospheres.
He told the audience that the average American has seen 200,000 violent episodes by the time he/she turns 18. This leads to desensitization and can ultimately hurt people who pledge, he said.
Cromwell asked students to focus on the founders’ ideals of academic excellence, uplift, community service and sister/brotherhood. The advocate asked students to leave the lecture with at least three key points. They are as follows:
Leave a legacy. (He said that his legacy included not interacting physically with his brothers in a violent manner.)
Challenge yourself. (In order to do so, he said one must first know who he/she is.)
Continue to learn and avoid complacency.