BALTIMORE, April 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In wake of yet another African-American young man losing his life while interacting with police officers, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. is demanding that the investigation into Freddie Gray's death in Baltimore, Maryland be thorough, transparent and swift. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., a 101-year old community services organization, is admonishing the act of aggressive policing taking place against young men of color by some police officers in cities across the United States of America. The fraternal organization, one of the nine predominantly African-American Greek-lettered organizations, insists the deaths of these young men must cease immediately. Mr. Gray's death brings into focus the troubling questions which emerge every time a young African-American male is killed while interacting with police officers. Recent aggressive policing which resulted in the deaths of young men in Long Island, New York; Ferguson, Missouri; Charleston, South Carolina and now Baltimore, Maryland is extremely vexing to members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and the past outcomes exacerbate the community's frustration with the lack of justice in the deaths of the young men.
"We stand with Freddie Gray's family as they mourn the death of their son. Freddie's father, Fred Gray, is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. We plan on supporting his efforts to seek justice in the death of his son," said Jonathan A. Mason, Sr., International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. "We call on our members worldwide to stand with us as we stand with our members who reside in Baltimore. These brothers are at the forefront of the clean-up efforts taking place after the recent riots in the city of Baltimore, they are helping with organizing the peaceful protest marches taking place and they are attending the community meetings which are geared to bring positive systemic changes for the residents of Baltimore," Mason added.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. also calls for a special session of the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation altering the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, specifically the portion of the law that affords officers 10 days to get an attorney before they can be interrogated by superiors in internal investigations. It is this delay in the investigation of Freddie Gray's death that has fueled mistrust of the system and allowed the embers of social injustice to spark into the flames of social unrest.
Freddie Gray's death must bring aggressive policing front and center. Citizens, cities, states and the United States Congress must pay attention to this ballooning crisis taking place in cities all across the country. The aforementioned entities must be proactive and work to truly assist communities where poverty, high unemployment, mental health and declining education rates are prevalent. The young men and women who are trapped in underdeveloped communities are sons and daughters of the United States of America and thus should be afforded all of the promises of this great and blessed country.
Since 1950, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. has been doing its part mentoring young men through its Sigma Beta Club. This youth auxiliary club, the first of its kind in Greek-lettered organizations, has matriculated thousands of young men across the country. Ranging in ages from eight (8) to 18 years old, the young men learn the importance of serving others, establishing lifelong friendships as well as meaningful relationships. The Sigma Beta Club motto, "next generation of leaders accepting the responsibility and loving challenge," is a testament to one of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.'s goals of recognizing the importance the organization can play in the lives of young men. Sigma Beta Clubs also provide services to youths in their communities across the country.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., in keeping with its commitment to President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Initiative, introduced its "I Am My Brother's Keeper" program for 2014-15. Through this program, the Fraternity adopted a 10-point agenda to address issues impacting boys and men of color in communities internationally.
About Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Founded by three young scholars on January 9, 1914 at Howard University to provide black college students and professionals social and service outlets in their communities during a racially segregated America, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. today has a membership that spans ten decades, four continents, and includes members of all races, religions, ethnicities and nationalities. More than 150,000 men have become members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity over the past 101 years, represented in over 700 chapters. For more than 60 years, the organization has made manhood training for young boys a fraternity priority through its Sigma Beta Club founded in 1950. Its mission is to bring a responsibility mindset to instill a college going culture among young black males. To date, there are over 120 Sigma Beta Clubs nationwide. Furthermore, over the past 40 years, Phi Beta Sigma has focused on the health and wellness of its communities through national partnerships with the March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society and Centers for Disease Control.
SOURCE Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.