Last month, I was reading the General Listings at the bottom of KING's Break section. Quite a few I agreed with, but one I did not. It basically equated joining a fraternity/sorority as a way to buy friendship.

This isn't the first time I've heard this statement, but most of the time I hear it from people who are not members of a Black Greek-Lettered Organization (BGLO). Everyone has their own personal reasons for joining any organization whether it is a fraternity, Girl Scouts, etc. My reason for becoming a part of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc was for the sisterhood and the principles the organization stands for. I am also a part of a lot of different organizations as well. I had friends before I joined and I've gained friends after joining and they all weren't members of a BGLO.

In my opinion when two or more people get together and identify themselves with a title it's an organization. If there was no fee to join would anyone still have an issue? You have to pay a fee to join the NAACP, does that also equate to buying friendships? For some reason BGLO's do not get the benefit of the doubt especially from non-members. A lot of these opinions stem from media related interpretations (i.e.,movies, TV, etc.). Anyone that's a member of a BGLO can tell you that movies like School Daze (I can't believe it's been 20 years since that movie was released) and Stomp the Yard are not accurate portrayals of BGLO's. Unfortunately, a lot of people watch these movies and think that's what they are all about. However, they are so much more than that.

Take the time to do the research or ask a member of one of the BGLO's also known as the "Divine Nine". These organizations have played an intricate part in Black History, most notably the Civil Rights Movement, either from direct participation or black pioneers being members of these organizations. With the majority of these organizations nearing or passing the 100 year mark of existence, it shows the longevity and impact they continue to have in society. Also, these organizations participate in a lot of community service and charitable activities as well as let their voice be heard in many noteworthy causes. Again, everyone has their reasons for being a part of an organization, but I don't equate it to buying friendships. Are there people who join these organizations to gain friends and be a part of something? Absolutely! What is so wrong with that? After talking to members of other BGLO's, most of them had different reasons for joining (principles, similar beliefs, growth, networking after graduation, etc.). Personally, I wouldn't change it for the world.

It's time to throw those stereotypes you see or hear about out the window. Don't assume because someone is in the same group they all think alike. That's like saying everyone at KING Magazine just cares about T&A. Truth is, their main concern is putting out quality magazines for their reading public.

For those of you, who are a part of a BGLO or have an interest in a BGLO, let me give you some advice. Nothing should define the person you are, "Make the organization; don't let the organization make you”.

"Let no man pull you low enough to hate him." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

*Special shout out to Daryl (Alpha Phi Alpha), Colangelo and Rob (Omega Psi Phi), Jackie (Delta Sigma Theta) and Micah (Alpha Kappa Alpha) for giving me their honest opinions on why they joined a BGLO.