By Jason T. Smith
Miami-Dade County members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated celebrated the fraternity’s 117 anniversary on Saturday, December 4, by serving the residents of the Overtown community in Miami.
The Iota Pi Lambda and Beta Beta Lambda chapters hosted the service event at The Green Haven Project, 1160 NW 2nd Ave, Miami. The Green Haven Project is a community garden created to combat the epidemic of urban food deserts found in low-income communities. Members from both graduate chapters worked to remove weeds, compost, harvest, and maintain the garden space.
“Our fraternity was founded to provide service and advocacy for our communities. This was a great way to honor our legacy of our founders and our continues commitment to the community,” said Leslie Elus, president of the Iota Pi Lambda chapter.
The Green Haven Project is a nonprofit with a focus on creating community gardens and sustainable ecosystems in areas that are predominantly known as food deserts. Food deserts are urban areas where residents generally reside in low-income housing with little to no access to fresh produce within a ten-mile radius.
Green Haven also focuses on educating youth on horticulture and nutrition. Residents have the opportunity to learn more about various types of plants, fruits, vegetables, and the basic skills necessary to grow healthy crops.
Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African American Men, was founded on December 4, 1906, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York by seven college men who recognized the need for a strong bond of brotherhood among African descendants in this country.
The fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially, at Cornell. The Jewel founders and early leaders of the fraternity succeeded in laying a firm foundation for Alpha Phi Alpha’s principles of scholarship, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity.