By Jackie Hampton,
On Sunday afternoon, while the community was on edge due to the wind and rain threats of Hurricane Ida, The Metro Jackson Area Chapters of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) was moving full speed ahead with their program at 4 p.m. to honor Dr. David Marion, Ph.D for his outstanding contributions to the community as well as to honor HBCUs with scholarships totaling $100,000.
The event was held at the Tougaloo College Health and Wellness Center.
Dr. Marion was elected chairman of the Council of Presidents (COP) of the National Pan-Hellenic Council in 2020, the first Mississippian to hold this office. As COP chairman, he leads the organization comprised of over 2.5 million members in over 20 countries. Marion is co-owner and CEO of Marion Counseling Services, PLLC, a private mental health clinic.
The event also highlighted fifteen chapter members who were recognized as frontline/healthcare professionals who continue to provide generously to the community during the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. These awards were presented by Awards Committee co-chair, Maya Thompson.
Thompson stated that the awards were being given to chapter members who have made lasting impacts in his or her profession as a frontline worker during the pandemic. She said that the active member is a healthcare worker (i.e. law enforcement, teacher, truck driver, grocery store worker, etc. who excelled under relentless challenges.
These professionals included Dr. Demondes Haynes, Joan Course Lewis, RN, Quintella Luckett, BS,MA, Dr. Cindy Ayers, Tonja Murphy, MCLC, Dr. Ruby Denson, DNP, FNP-BC, Dr. Sandra Carr Melvin, Dr. Victor D. Sutton, Ph.D, MPPA, Khalilah Turner, Ed. S, Dr. Fred Kency, Jr., Dr. Reginald Rigsby, Lucius Lewis, Jr. CRNA, Dr. Keila Brown-Jones, Cheri Shannon-Archie, RN, BSN and Jeffrey L. Turner, BBA, MPH, MSW.
Thompson in her presentation of awards quoted Mary Anne Radmacher, who is an artist and writer, “Courage doesn’t always soar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Dr. Marion in his remarks stated, “I don’t want the night to end without me thanking you again for the honor that was bestowed on me today. To create this event during a pandemic and then execute it during a hurricane is absolutely phenomenal.”
He continued, “Let council members know I signed an MOU on behalf of the NPHC two weeks ago with the CDC and NCNW for $2.7 million. We want the Mississippi Chapters to be able to receive some of these dollars to be utilized for COVID-19 and vaccination messaging.”
The event culminated in the establishment of the Dr. David Marion-Metro Jackson NPHC Endowed Scholarship at Jackson State University with a $30,000 ($20,000 from the NPHC and $10,000 from Omega Psi Phi) contribution to be matched dollar for dollar by JSU for a total endowment of $60,000. This perpetual endowment will assist deserving JSU-bound freshmen from the local community. Additionally, Dr. David Marion and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. presented $10,000 contributions each to Tougaloo College, Alcorn State University, Mississippi Valley State University and Hinds Community College-Utica. These total contributions will have a $100,000 financial impact at MS HBCUs.
The event chairman was Dr. Juanita Sims Doty and the event co-chairman was Will Jemison. The Metro Jackson NPHC Chapter president is Kotonya Barfield.
Doty said that the event was amazing and awesome. “All the 18 chapters came together to support our HBCUs in Mississippi and to honor Dr. Marion.This wonderful committee was able to execute a great program in the midst of a hurricane and a pandemic. It was divine intervention.” Doty said, “God was in the plan.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council was established May 10, 1930 on the campus of Howard University. The Metro Jackson Chapter was chartered in 1950 to promote collaboration and civic leadership amongst the nine (9) historically Black Fraternities and Sororities including: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
The local chapter is led by Kotonya Barfield.