Last Tuesday, Sept. 23, marked the date of the 2nd Annual Divine 9 Yard Show hosted by the Black Student Union at the University of Michigan – Dearborn’s College of Business courtyard.
This yearly event featured a number of historically Black Greek organizations dedicated to maintaining the likes of tradition that their organizations have held on to for decades.
Each organization had a unique routine that is specific to that organization, while giving a brief history about the founding members and the principles that they strive to uphold as associates of these organizations.
For Anton Barnes, member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, these are notions that he strives to instill for the understanding of Black Greek fraternities and sororities at UMD’s campus. “Stepping gives us a chance to display our unity and bond without it necessarily being in the party setting that it is usually associated with.”
Considering this specific dance has a history behind it, Barnes continues with, “Stepping has been around since the days of slavery and by carrying on that tradition it is a way for us to pay homage. It’s also cool to have the opportunity to entertain our peers while also displaying an aspect of Black Greek life to prospective students.”
This year’s step show featured performances from members of Phi Beta Sigma, Kappa Alpha Psi, Sigma Gamma Rho and Alpha Phi Alpha with the first two organizations having an active presence on campus as well as in the Black Student Union.
Being an underrepresented group on campus, it is imperative for Black Greek organizations to show up, participate and support each other at events such as these to ensure continued cultivation of the Black Greek population.
Jerel Jones, who is the Vice President for the Black Student Union, as well as a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, understands the yard show in a deeper light. “We are building Black Greek Life on campus,” he says. “We’re showing the campus a tradition that has been around for decades that happens to be new and emerging to UM-Dearborn.”
“These organizations are working to evolve the culture of student life by bringing something new to the table. The yard show gives a glimpse of what brotherhood and sisterhood looks like for Black Greek organizations.”
With help from organizations who understand this mission, such as the Black Student Union and the Greek Life Office at UM-Dearborn, this is an idea that is not too far from becoming a reality.