Phi Beta Sigma, National Action Network Form National Coalition To Stop Hazing

May 31, 2012, 10:02 ET from Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity

National Coalition Led By National Action Network's Rev Al Sharpton Seeks to Eradicate Culture of Hazing and Push for Federal Anti-Hazing Legislation

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Phi Beta Sigma and the National Action Network are leading an effort to form a national coalition of civic organizations, academic institutions, politicians and concerned citizens to stand together to denounce and stop the culture of hazing.

The initiative will be announced today at a press conference at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, in Washington, D.C., at 11:00 A.M.  Jimmy Hammock, international president, Phi Beta Sigma, and Rev. Al Sharpton,  a member of Phi Beta Sigma and President of National Action Network and Host, MSNBC, will outline plans to eradicate the culture of hazing through a combination of awareness campaigns about the dangers of hazing.  The coalition will also announce its support of federal anti-hazing legislation and its efforts to work with Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) to strengthen her bill and help it become federal legislation. 

"Hazing is an injustice to all of us and we need to raise awareness within organizations who may be harvesting this culture and let them know that hazing is unacceptable," said Rev. Al Sharpton.  "We also want to send a message to those who think it is tolerable for them to be hazed to belong, that they have support from collective groups.  At the end of the day, the goal is to eliminate the culture of hazing."

The initiative will also include introducing an Anti-Hazing Curriculum that will be taught by trained sensitivity instructors from within the coalition to high school and college students all around the country, and beyond.

"Phi Beta Sigma wants to start a movement that will eliminate the culture of hazing," said Phi Beta Sigma international president Jimmy Hammock.  "At the end of the day, Phi Beta Sigma's main objective is to be the leader in destroying the culture of hazing, not only within the African American community, but also within the mainstream community."

Also at the press conference, Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson will discuss the importance of passage of federal anti-hazing legislation that she has authored and is fighting to get approved. Other public figures, as well as academic, social and civic organizations who have joined the coalition will also be at the press conference to show support of this coalition. 

Rep. Wilson announced late last year her plans to introduce a federal anti-hazing bill. A staunch fighter of bullying and hazing, she decided that action is needed at the federal level to combat hazing incidents like the tragedy that claimed drum major Robert Champion's life at Florida A&M University in November.

"Hazing is demeaning, dangerous and, sadly, deadly," said Rep. Wilson. "It's time that we put an end to this horrible and humiliating ritual once and for all…"

Rep. Wilson fought hazing throughout her four-year reign as the South Atlantic Regional Director for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first sorority founded by black students on the campus of Howard University in 1908. Rep. Wilson was nicknamed by a Miami Herald reporter "THE HAZE BUSTER" because of her very public stance to stamp out hazing on college campuses.

Hazing, the practice of forcing new recruits to an organization to perform strenuous, humiliating and dangerous tasks to gain entry, is an injustice that creates a culture of senseless violence. While it has been most prevalent in academic settings, it is not uncommon among other groups, such as the military.

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., January 9, 1914, by three young African American male students who wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would exemplify the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, and service. Today, Phi Beta Sigma has blossomed into an international organization that includes the Phi Beta Sigma National Foundation, the Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit Union and the Sigma Beta Club Foundation.

National Action Network, NAN is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the nation with chapters all across the country. NAN works extensively to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes a standard of decency for all people regardless of race or sex, social justice for all communities, and improvement of race relations. Through the years NAN has served as a megaphone for the voiceless and an advocate for those in need. The organization has taken on issues relating to voter registration, jobs, education, immigration, health-care, anti-violence and much more.

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SOURCE Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity