Alphas boycott Arizona; move annual confab to Vegas

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Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the oldest integrated and historically Black Greek-lettered organization in the world, has announced that it’s moving its 104th Anniversary Convention from Phoenix, Ariz.

“Late Thursday, April 29, our national board of directors voted unanimously to rescind the location of Phoenix, Ariz., as our meeting location of the 104th Anniversary/90th General Convention in July, and to denounce the egregious immigration act signed recently by the governor of Arizona,” said Herman “Skip” Mason Jr., the fraternity’s national general president.

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SKIP MASON

“It was the full opinion of the board that we could not host a meeting in a state that has sanctioned a law which we believe will lead to racial profiling and discrimination, and a law that could put the civil rights and the very dignity of our members at risk during their stay in Phoenix, Ariz.”

The event, which was scheduled to take place from July 21 to 25, will be moved to Las Vegas, Nev. The convention, and the fraternity’s special Summit on the African-American Male, was expected to draw up to 10,000 visitors to Arizona—adding hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue to the Phoenix economy.

The fraternity, formed in 1906, at Ivy-League Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., is considered one of the most influential groups in the United States. It includes among its membership: civil rights leader and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Andrew Young; McDonald’s president and COO Don Thompson; National Urban League president and former mayor of New Orleans, Marc H. Morial; CNN political analyst Roland Martin; White House Deputy Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Michael Blake; and several high-ranking members of the U.S. House and Senate.

It is also the fraternity of the late Martin Luther King Jr. and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. President Ronald Reagan named several members to key posts during his presidency as did former Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.

“Our late Alpha brother the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, in a letter he wrote while sitting in the Birmingham Jail, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Alpha Phi Alpha’s decision to boycott Arizona continues that same fight, fought during the civil rights era.”

“We will not only speak with our voices and our feet, we will speak with our economic clout; and we will not spend our money in Arizona and urge other organizations and people who believe in equality under the law, to do the same,” said Mason.

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