As a child I thought my Dad was loony. Whenever it was his night to cook, my siblings and I asked what was for dinner only to be given random responses like camel humps, bird pectin and monkey’s brain.
When he left the house without us it was usually to see a man about a goat or a cow. Random reactions were routine in our household.
Sometimes he’d spontaneously bark. I often sat feet swinging from the bar stool, munching on Froot Loops and watched the spectacle.
Occasionally I hopped behind him and flailed bony limbs and swung my ponytails to a personalized beat that no one else heard.
A stream of solo chants followed. If it was a good day, he would step.
As veins bulged on brown hands he formed hooks and his tongue flew to the side.
I watched with a combination of confusion, intrigue and amusement.
I walked past his purple shield a million times. I discovered the brand on his arm.
I was about eight years old when I asked him if cows were branded.
Yes, he said.
They branded slaves, I said.
“They also brand bruhz,” Dad said patting the puffy skin and smirking.
I knew that my Dad was an Omega man, but I wasn’t able to conceptualize that identity until I came to Grambling State University.
It crystallized when he introduced me to the Gamma Gamma bruhz my freshman year and asked them to look out for me. They did.
I knew that my mom was a Delta, but as a child, I was more annoyed that I had to dust elephants when we did chores than able to understand the power of sisterhood and service.
This is not a recruitment column. It is a celebration of rich history.
I haven’t been a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. for a week and my life has already changed.
I’ve begun building sustainable bonds with sorors.
I’ve received love from friends since freshman year most of whom strutted and stomped at different organizational probates prior to mine.
We came out Tuesday and I’ve already grinned, chuckled, sobbed and embraced.
I now feel closer to the men who everyone who knew nothing about my family encouraged me to avoid on campus.
If that faux wisdom had prevailed, my mom and dad never would have been.
The personal significance of continuing the legacy of two complementary old school in love Greeks is an incomparable feeling.
Now all the homecomings make sense. Meeting my parents’ line brothers and sisters also proved to be valuable experiences.
My mother flew from Florida for my initiation into the sorority. We crammed into my room, chatted and giggled like second grade besties.
As I greeted my former big sisters in a line, I locked eyes with the most powerful, influential Delta I know.
At that moment I remembered that this experience is a platform for positive interaction.
This network will serve as a catalyst for much needed campus unity and Greek life revitalization.
This is an opportunity for long-standing beefs built without merit, to be squashed. I’ve been friends with people with multiple and minimal associations. That doesn’t stop now.
I respect every person on this campus and in this community until given reason for revocation. I request the same in return.
I am concerned that some students believe that their non-supportive opinions about my decision are warranted and that it’s proper for them to tell me so.
While we’re all part of a collective group, the beauty in being an individual is free will.
I ask that no one allow my group affiliation to dismantle the identity I’ve worked ceaselessly to create.
I’m still the overly analytical, sporadic, pseudo-hippie conversationalist with limited rhythm, a thrift store addiction and too many steno pads.
I just found a place to insert that hodgepodge composition and placed my polka dotted toes on a trail blazed by greats.
Imani Jackson is a junior mass communication major from Jacksonville, Fla.