The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., standing in their tradition of social justice and service, has offered to pay the entire expenses associated with the memorial and funeral services for Michael Brown. Brown, the unarmed teen, was shot to death by Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer, on August 9. The funeral service has been set for Monday, August 25 in St. Louis and will be a public funeral with national leaders present to address the reason for the recurring protest surrounding the 18-year-old’s death.
Other notables such as Kimora Lee Simmons and Reverend Al Sharpton have also offered to cover the expenses. Alpha Phi Alpha, however, has asked that the cost of the service not be shared with any other party, but has yet to hear back from the family regarding their offer. The letter which was sent from Wayne C. Harvey, General Counsel of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. reads as follows:
Please be advised that ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY, INC., the fraternity after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, with its longstanding history for seeking justice and quality for African-Americans and its commitment to social change, will pay the entire cost for the memorial and funeral services for Mr. Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. It is also Alpha’s desire to not share this expense with any other person and/or organization. I would ask that you comply with this request.
This will confirm our conversation this morning at the request of the General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Mr. Mark S. Tillman.
We are proud to provide his service for the family in this unfortunate time, along with the condolences of the Men of Alpha. I in fact will be your contact person. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Anthony Gray, Brown’s family attorney, has asked that everyone take a break from the protests. He explained it is time to focus all energy on the big memorial service needing to be planned. Gray added,
The violent protests divert all of the attention from the family honoring their child and allowing him to begin the process to rest in peace. That’s not how they want him to be remembered. They do not want that to be their son’s legacy.
The celebration of Michael’s life will be held at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church. Reverend Michael Jones is the officiating minister for the services with Reverend Al Sharpton delivering the eulogy.
Alpha Phi Alpha has a history of activism and has helped work with civil rights activist such as W.E.B. DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall, among others. The fraternity’s motto is “Alpha Phi Alpha develops leaders, promotes brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities.” It is this motto that supports Tillman’s reason for wanting Alpha Phi Alpha involved in the teen’s memorial service. Tillman said his message is:
I wanted our organization to really be injected into the fabric of the discussion, and to support a family that is obviously very distraught. Moving forward we have to protect our young men.
Alpha Phi Alpha’s membership is predominantly, but not limited to, African-American in composition with brothers in over 680 college and graduate chapters in the United States, District of Columbia, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe, Asia and Africa. Since its founding in 1906, more than 185,000 men have joined the fraternity and a large percentage of leadership within the African-American community in the 20th century originated from the ranks of the fraternity.
The fraternity has offered to cover the cost of the funeral services for Michael Brown. The funeral service is being held at Friendly Temple Baptist Church on Monday, August 25 in St. Louis and will be a public funeral with national leaders present in order to address the reason for the recurring protest surrounding the 18-year-old’s death.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)