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Divine 9 Encourage Increased Support during Black History Month

Students reflect on engagement and share hopes for improvement
Members+of+the+Divine+9+want+to+see+more+students+and+faculty+at+Black+History+Month+events.+
Deja McKenzie
Members of the Divine 9 want to see more students and faculty at Black History Month events.

  UMKC hosts nine historically African American  sororities and fraternities that advocate for activism, academic excellence and community.

  The students involved believe the UMKC community could step up the efforts to support Black History Month and Black students. 

  Zeta Phi Beta member, Angela Vetaw, a senior majoring in studio arts, said the work starts with our peers. 

  “The entire student body could be better at showing up to Black led events, which would showcase their unity, while helping Black students feel like they belong on campus,” Vetaw said. “If other groups aren’t present, especially at events during Black History Month, how do we know we are supported?”

  Sigma Gamma Rho sorority member, Bri Miller, a junior majoring in elementary education, stated that support from the school doesn’t always feel genuine. 

  “The faculty in higher positions of power being present at events and showing up in our spaces would help with community unity,” Miller said. 

  Miller said her chapter diligently works with people of color in health education to help eliminate healthcare disparities, especially for mothers, while pushing initiatives like Operation Big Bookbag and Project Cradle Care.

  Delta Sigma Theta sorority member, Nadiah Johnson, a senior majoring in health sciences and nursing, voiced that the Divine 9 had direct cultural significance to Black History Month and to African-American culture as a whole. Her chapter wants to bring more history and programs to campus to help broaden the student and faculty view. 

  “Our ancestors and roots started in Africa, so our chants, strolls, and meetings are cultural traditions we have practiced for centuries,” Johnson said. “What the Divine 9 represents is deserving of appreciation and campus support.”

Follow UMKC National Panhellenic Council on Instagram.

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