Serving with a servant’s heart

September 5, 2018 in News

By Othor Cain,

Editor,

Jemison

Jemison

With absolutely no thoughts of taking on a leadership role in 2005, when he transferred his membership from Theta Sigma Chapter at Dillard University in New Orleans to the Beta Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi in Jackson, Miss., Will Jemison was prepared to be financially active and simply support programs.

Those thoughts quickly vanished and his time of rest came to an immediate end when his work in New Orleans and service to Jackson was observed by David Marion, who was serving on a state level for the organization at the time.

Marion recognized Jemison’s ability to “get things done,” and asked him to serve on various committees, including one where he [Jemison] lead the 7th District in an extraordinary outreach effort and reclaimed more than 3,000 inactive members. “This was the largest effort of reclaiming brothers in our history,” Jemison said.

Jemison has been an Omega since 2001. “I knew this was my path,” he said. “I remember as a kid being on the campus of Jackson State University with my brother-in-law Robert Woodson, who became an Omega in 1981 and watching the camaraderie these guys shared and the impact of their work; I knew then that I wanted to be a part of this group,” he said. “When I got to Dillard, the Omegas were leading on the campus, they were the ones receiving most of the academic awards and leading several different efforts on campus…for me it was a no brainer.”

Jemison is excited about the next chapter for the organization. “I’ve been connected to David for a long time and I know he serves with a servants heart, so its easy to buy into his vision,” Jemison said.

He envisions the organization becoming more than a sleeping giant. “We do a lot, but only our organization really knows it.,” he said. “I want to see us really engage more in the community and I want the Omegas to help all of the other members of the Divine 9 to do more.”

Jemison reflected on the history of the Divine 9. “I know we were all founded during segregation and at a time when we were dealing with other monumental civil rights issues,” he said. “It seems we are at a time where we are facing some of those same issues again and I want to see all of us become more than sleeping giants, become more engaged with the community, become more impactful; together we can do it.”

Marion tapped Jemison to serve as international chief of staff, a position he serves with a great amount of preparation and pride. “I’ve served as his assistant, chief of staff and in other roles for him,” Jemison said. “I’m ready and honored to do it.” As international chief of staff, Jemison will act as an advisor to the Grand Basileus, ensure his programs are executed, serve as a liaison to all cabinet members and ensure they have what they need to succeed. “I’m almost like a connector in this position, while my job is to ensure our programs are implemented, I’m also here to make sure that everyone is successful,” he said. “I’ll also work directly with all of our corporate and government partners.”

Jemison shares the vision that Marion has cast for the organization. “It is simply about service,” he said. “I knew this when I worked with him in other roles and that’s why it was easy to chair his election this year. Marion was elected the 41st Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi in New Orleans in July.

Marion has already set the tone for his administration and for the fraternity at large. Since July 24, the organization has given $40K to HBCUs and has formed an HBCU initiative committee to support more HBCUs across the country.

During the inauguration of Quinton Ross, who serves as president of Alabama State University (ASU), Marion bestowed a gift of $10K to him from the fraternity. ASU joins the ranks of Jackson State University, Tougaloo and Rust Colleges as the first group of HBCUs to benefit from the newly formed alliance.

The best is yet to come.

With more than 60,000 living members, Jemison is excited about the economic impact this organization will have on Mississippi. “This is historic, not only with the Omegas, but with all of the Divine 9, to have this much leadership in Jackson…in Mississippi, its a major opportunity to do some really good work,” he shared excitedly. “If we are to remain relevant, we must serve in a relevant type of way and not lose focus,” Jemison said. “The community and all of these organizations must be connected…its about service.”