By Evan Barnes Sentinel Staff Writer
Kappa Alpha Psi., Inc., the second oldest predominately Black fraternity in America, will host its 3rd Annual National Founders Day this weekend in Los Angeles, marking the first time the event has traveled to the Western Province.
According to Los Angeles Chapter Polemarch Damon M. Brown Esq., close to 600 members will be in attendance including Grand Polemarch Dwayne M. Murray, Esq., past Grand Polemarchs, national officers and other Kappa dignitaries.
“As a new inititative from the fraternity, it is of great significance that the Grand Polemarch would choose the Western Province and Los Angeles to host such a large and significant event,” Brown said.
“As we approach our 100th anniversary, every event that we do on a national scale becomes more and more significant.”
Inglewood City Councilman Daniel Tabor added that the decision is attributed to the work that the Los Angeles chapters have done “in the spirit of Kappa Alpha Psi” within the community and the organization.
While Founder’s Day has been celebrated in local chapters for many years, it was only recently that it became a national affair where Kappas around the country could congregate and celebrate their rich tradition.
“It’s an opportunity for us to solidify our fellowship in Kappa and acknowledge those who have gone before us,” Tabor said.
Kappa Alpha Psi was founded on January 5, 1911 at Indiana University, five years after Alpha Phi Alpha was founded at Cornell University. While Kappa was the second fraternity established, it was the first predominately Black fraternity to become incorporated as a national body.
Saturday night will be the official 97th anniversary of Kappa and it will be commemorated by a black tie banquet and social event. Renowned talk show host and journalist Tavis Smiley will be the event’s keynote speaker and Past Grand Polemarch and Laurel Wreath Laureate Randall C. Bacon will be paid tribute for his contributions in the community and the organization.
This year’s theme is Creating Inspiration – A Call to Service and the final event carries out that message in full force. On Sunday, the organization will kick off their inaugural National Sunday of Hope at Faithful Central Bible Church.
The national campaign will coordinate the efforts of each chapter and their local churches to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the leading hospital in treating pediatric cancer and sickle disease in children. Last week, the group pledged to raise $500,000 this year for the hospital.
It’s fitting the event comes to the city where one of the fraternity’s most celebrated local members made his mark. Former mayor Tom Bradley made plenty of history in Los Angeles during his 20-year tenure but just as he began his political career on the City Council, he served as Grand Polemarch from 1964-67.
The legacy of local Kappa political figures continues in Rev. Eric Lee, president/CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles; Assemblyman Mike Davis and Tabor, who added that he hopes the event encourages brothers who may have lost touch to renew their commitments and “get more involved in helping the fraternity serve their community.”
He added that for the greater L.A. community, the event will give them a chance to see the benefits of being part of a fraternity or sorority and how you can use the connections to better serve the community.