Vice-presidential democratic nominee, Senator Kamala Harris took time during her acceptance speech last week to acknowledge her membership in the Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. (A.K.A.) sorority. But she also included the Divine 9, International Black Panhellenic Greek Council referencing all of the national sororities and fraternities. Her challenge was to encourage the many thousands of their combined memberships to be active collectively and individually as the nation faces a plethora of economic, political and social challenges.

Over the past several weeks, A.K.A.s have been seen strolling and promenading on Inkwell Beach wearing their pink and green, showing their pride in the historic position that Harris has achieved.

If serving as an executive in a national organization providing support for 2.5 million young girls counts, then A.K.A. member attorney Judith Batty is heeding the Harris call. Cottager president and A.K.A. Olivia Baxter announced that Judith has just been named the interim president of Girl Scouts of the United States. Ms. Batty has been a lifelong girl scout, board member and corporate trailblazer, giving her a strong background and experience in assuming her new responsibilities. No one is more proud of this announcement than Dr. Constance Batty, Judith’s mother and yes, she too is an A.K.A.

But across the street from the Batty family cottage on Narragansett, there was more Greek news being celebrated at the Jennings cottage. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. member Fred Lowery was making his own announcement.

Fred is senior vice president at Thermo Fisher Scientific and president of their Life Sciences Solutions and Laboratory Products division. Holding court on the porch of Omega brother Bob Jennings, Fred read from his company press release announcing that they will be donating $15 million in diagnostic instruments, test kits and related supplies to several historically black colleges to assist them in Covid-19 testing for all their returning students. Howard University, Harris’s alma mater, Morehouse School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Xavier University and Hampton University will be among the first H.B.C.U.s to receive the donations. The initiative is called The Just Project, named after pioneering biologist Dr. Ernest Everett Just, longtime Howard University professor and one of the founders of the Omega fraternity. As a 50-year member of Omega, I too shared in the pride of this announcement!

The Harris challenge has also been heard by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. On August 19, members of the Alpha chapter in Boston held a Vineyard fundraiser, this year virtually, to support the Edward Brooke Scholarship Fund. Each year, this event supports young students heading off to college. Scholarship recipients Ismael Mateo and Jonathan Dance expressed their gratitude for the financial support. Event leader and chief organizer, Oak Bluffs’ own attorney Minyard Culpepper introduced Alpha guest speaker, popular radio and television commentator, Roland Martin.

Independent of this event, Alpha Dr. Lou Sullivan of Harthaven penned an op-ed with Dr. Steven Kanter, recently published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, entitled Building a Health Culture in America. Sullivan, the founding president of Morehouse Medical College and Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush asserted, “we should also invest to create a more robust public health system – federal, state, tribal and local – to include better public health surveillance, enhanced health literacy and improved health behavior of Americans.”

There are many opportunities for Black Greek sororities and fraternities to rise to the Harris challenge as our nation continues to face the ravages of Covid-19, Covid-1619 and all that is important in the 2020 primary and national elections. Health disparities, food insecurity, unemployment, underemployment and housing shortages are some of the challenges threatening the core values of the American democracy. Let’s all work together.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting.