The National Pan-Hellenic Council is a collective seated at various universities around America. The members? Black Greeks. These organizations first stepped onto the scene with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (my fraternity) in 1906, and next with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. The others (Kappa Alpha Psi:1911, Omega Psi Phi: 1911, Delta Sigma Theta:1913, Phi Beta Sigma:1914, Zeta Phi Beta:1920, Sigma Gamma Rho:1922 and Iota Phi Theta:1963) came together to be known as the Divine Nine. Although colors, mission statements, and step movements may differ across each organization, one thing that remains true is the bond it creates.
The bond begins to form during intake process and continues throughout life; however, it isn’t so easily given. Other bonds must be tested, challenges must be overcome and you must work everyday. Hard. But at the end of an intake process (which usually lasts a semester give or take), new members have one chance to show the world the passion and love they have for their organization. That show is called a probate. Below are images from the most recent probate I attended, hosted by the Kappa Kappa Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. seated at UNC-Charlotte.
The probate is the intro and action portion of the show. It is where initiates will walk in with their Dean (leader of membership intake) and line up. Once in line they will greet various organizations and VIPs in the audience. However, they put a twist on this. Not only do they recite this information in sync but they also have remixed it into a personal tribute by altering lyrics or adding certain gestures.
There are no real words that can describe the feeling of breathing under a mask, hearing your name being called while standing under the lights. The moment you’ve been waiting for, the chance to show the world not the new you, but the better you. This is when initiates are called out one by one to reveal themselves to the crowd. During this moment they have the chance to speak, dance, step or thank God for bringing them to the end. It’s truly an intimate moment you have with everyone, all eyes are on you…everybody is there to listen to your story.
This is the moment you will never remember but will always know it happened. When the poems and steps are completed and the prayer has been said initiates are allowed to reunite with friends and family members with new letters on their chest. These endings are accompanied by gifts and photographs where members throw up their respective hand sign and finally wearing the official colors. A time full of love and joy that only lasts as long as the torches are lit. Members return home with old friends by their side, and new sisters/brothers behind them.
The probate experience is what ties up the entire journey to Greek-dom. The tears, moments of frustration and obstacles eventually became the stepping stones to the next level. For my gamer fans, its as if your party splits for whatever reason; you go and grow your character on your own and come to find your party did the same. That’s the beauty of the probate, its that first moment when your party comes together. It is the beginning of family related not by blood, but by beliefs. The union of old and new bonds is what makes this a Golden Moment .
P.S. A Huge Congratulations to Kappa Kappa and Spring ’16!
Link to kris: https://kristensuzette.wordpress.com/
Link to eyeCPeace: https://eyecpeace.wordpress.com/