Earlier this week, it was revealed that the nation’s oldest African American sororities has issued directives to members ordering them not to wear official paraphernalia while participating in protests, something that troubled both members and non-members of Black Greek-lettered organizations alike. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated were both critiqued for taking this position in the wake of international protests following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Today, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated has revised their guidelines and changed their stance on wearing letters while protesting. In a letter to members, the sorority’s National President Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson stated the following:
“We expect our members to be actively involved in solving the social justice issues raised by those cases. The immediate response throughout the country has been to protest, march, and/or rally. We strongly support and encourage our members’ peaceful and lawful participation in these activities and as such, we issued guidelines for participation in these events.
We do not want to be distracted from our mission of fighting for justice and equality for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Dontre Hamilton, and the countless other young black men across the country victimized by a criminal justice system that places little value in their lives. However, it appears the request to refrain from wearing the sorority's letters has become a distraction and a distortion of the sorority's position on these issues that is diverting attention and effort away from the broader fight to secure social justice and reform.
We are therefore relaxing our original position on the wearing of Alpha Kappa Alpha paraphernalia and attire."