Provided below is a general overview of my coming to AKA and the moments that eventually led to my renouncement. As indicated in the first post, this is primarily for those who proclaim to be Christian and strives to live a life surrendered to that. More specifically, this message is for all Christians in Black greek-lettered organizations (BGLOs), regardless of the process you took to become a member.
I do not have all the answers, but I do know what I'm about to share to be true according to God's standards for His children. But should you have questions along the way, seek the True source, which is God ☺️. But you're also welcome to reach out afterwards, if needed.
Lastly, there are a few superscripts (e.g. ¹ ) throughout the text. Be sure to read them as they provide additional context or commentary.
Members of BGLOs are prevalent within my bloodline and home community. At an early age, I received the impression that being in one of these organizations was an impactful endeavor. The given and assumed narrative was that BGLOs were prominent within the Black community because of their leadership and involvement in addressing systemic discrimination and creating opportunities for the marginalized, namely, Black people. The fortified network they built, both locally and globally, was widely admired. Expectedly, many in my vicinity, non-greeks included, had high regards for BGLOs.
Throughout my youth, those closest to me would ask or insinuate my interest in joining a sorority one day. ¹Most times, this was framed by saying "Your (insert relative) is a (insert org)" or "I'm a (insert org), I know you're going to pledge that." I had no idea what that actually meant at the time and therefore could not give it any serious consideration. But what I did understand was that somehow, my proximity and relations to existing BGLO members invited reoccurring inquiries of my one-day association. In hindsight, such suggestions (especially without transparent dialog of experience and expectations) planted seeds in my mind and heart that showed itself to be ineffectual over time.
High school - circa 2010
In high school, I joined an organization that was founded by and mirrored members of Black sororities. Undoubtedly, the advisor (a member of a BGLO) and the student-leaders, used the initiation process of BGLOs as a template for our own process. While it generally took on an amicable mood, there was an underlying temperament of the process that I soon learned was indicative of the experiences of its "parent" organizations.
I recall many of the current and incoming members talking about their various family members who were in a BGLO, and for most of them, they intended to take the same route. Obviously, they were more cognizant of the latest, most acceptable initiation process than I was. My awareness of it was limited, but this motivated me to research what it took to do the "real thing," to join a BGLO as an undergraduate student.
I immediately took to the internet to start digging. For context, this was in the inaugural stages of social media. YouTube was fairly new and Instagram was just released, and I was engulfed in both. This new phenomenon of sharing your life with the world provided access to "secret" information. As individuals would join these organizations, they would often share in excitement of their new identity. However, it was in the comments of these posts that viewers started to expose an alternative truth of these organizations. So hearing the excitement of new BGLO members, juxtaposed the skepticism of viewers' comments, I found the information about the process of joining to be, at the very minimum, inexplicit and mysterious.
There was a formal, legal process that was presented to the public. But there was also some validity to the perspectives shared by non-greeks who rejected their "service to all mankind" persona. To me, what I was reading and hearing was beyond the stories shared with me from older members in my family/community who described their process as simply "funny" and perhaps "slightly embarrassing." Even more, I could never fathom my family and community members whom I honored, subjecting themselves to the mental, physical, and emotional hazing the BGLOs were accused of. ²Whether it was true or not, I'd resolved within my 14/15 year old self, that there was no level of "status" worth compromising my integrity, dignity, wellbeing, or morals over to any extent.
I started college in 2012. The campus was inundated with members of BGLOs from day one. They greeted freshmen as they first entered campus and some even assisted with moving them into the dorm. Throughout the first few weeks, they could be seen in their paraphernalia, strolling, leading initiatives, and being respected by students and faculty alike. You couldn't not see them. There was no doubt that they were regarded as the "upper echelon" of the student body.
Being in the daily vicinity of active BGLOs was very different from encountering them periodically like when I was much younger. On campus, I had more insight to their internal dynamics. I'd see who hung out with who, who was popular and well-respected, who seemed to be isolated for whatever reason, etc. But I also had opportunities to know some members, and even the advisors, one on one. My one on one experiences with them was very pleasant prior to joining the organization. In most cases, we had classes together, worked together, or knew each other prior to attending our university. It was all very cordial.
A group of friends at the time who knew that I was considering AKA, would insinuate that my engagement with the (very few) members of the org gave me a "shoo-in" to becoming a member. Of course, while it was an unspoken rule to be discreet with your interest in a particular sorority, we openly shared within our select group of friends – everyone did. Anyway, they deemed my cordiality with some members (literally like 3-4 of them) as having a "shoo-in". But such opinions didn't hold much weight to me because I'd never played into what I felt like was the "kiss-up culture." In my mind, I thought...
I have a 4.0 GPA. I'm in Honors College. I'm active on campus and within the community. I'm a leader in multiple organizations, and I have a great reputation amongst students, faculty, and administrators. Why would I need anything outside of that to have a "shoo-in?" I'm the asset.
Yet, members of that friend group sought the council of ladies we all knew, admired, and respected. They wanted "advice" about what it took to make themselves stand out to current BGLO members of their desired org, so that they may be recognized and deemed acceptable during the application process. They informed us that we needed to make ourselves seen if we really wanted to be in — show up to their events and participate, support them in their activities, speak to them whenever you had the chance, etc. That was just the basics; but the idea propagated, even outside of this conversation, was that you wanted to be chosen. That was different than simply qualifying for membership based on the criteria set by the organization — you know, the asinine, divisive culture of "paper" vs. "made".
Overall, I was quite indifferent about the "advice" given. I would only attend their event if my schedule permitted and if I was genuinely interested. I would also speak to members on campus if they happened to be in one of my classes or I already knew them from a different space. But it was unnatural and unappealing for me to vie or grovel for someone's attention in order to be accepted — so I didn't.
But I found no fault with the proclaimed mission of the organization and over time, I seriously moved towards desiring membership. It was an opportunity to practically expand the work I was already doing. Not just in my community, but within my studies of advocating for historically marginalized people. It was also an opportunity to have a strong, extensive network of professionals as I transitioned into my career. But I decided, if I was accepted solely based on merit, great! If not, it would not infringe upon my inherit value or cause internal strife.
³ I finally decided to pursue AKA and things started to slowly shift for me internally. I became devoted to learning every detail of (publicized) information, every rule of governance, and every chant I could find. It consumed my thoughts throughout the day and appeared in my dreams at night. I acquired an intensity of pride. While it was not a posture of extreme defensiveness as so many fall into, it was an air of arrogance to protect what felt like was becoming mine. I was low-key obsessed. Even if I did not outwardly show it (I can have a stoic, no-nonsense expression lol), my infatuation grew by the day. All of ours did. Everyone I knew that wanted to join a sorority that year, had it at the foreground of their mind and hearts. It was all that was talked about...well, whispered about.
At this time, I'd already been a Christian. I was outside the safety net of my family and home church, and was learning to know God more intimately and how to be led by the Holy Spirit. I was having various experiences of what it meant to be set apart from the world as a true child of God, and to reject worldly practices even when they were commonly accepted as normal. Even still, I meditated on the things of AKA and my fervor for the things of God slowly dwindled.
Somewhere in my infatuation phase, the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray about my decision. Backwards, I know. It's something I should have done prior to coming to a decision about joining. But I was so engrossed in my now idolization of this organization that I bypassed even consulting God about it. When I finally decided to ask Him, the answer was "no".
That was clear to me. But I could not rationalize in my finite mind what the issue was. I already knew I would not demean myself to the hazing process, whether invited to or not, so I saw no issue with why I could not proceed. In the natural, it seemed like a great mission to support, but for whatever reason, God disapproved of my participation.
Still, I continued the process. But even in my blatant disobedience, God extended His grace through a series of events that gave me time to heed to what He'd said. The first was a severe ice storm that came and shut the state down. The roads were flooded, campus was closed, and all I could really do was sit there. Not even 48 hours later, I'm notified that an immediate family member of mine is severely ill and being transported through the flood to be temporarily hospitalized. The remaining family members had to resort to a hotel because all power went out in our rural town, and some family members were very vulnerable to developing hypothermia if they did not leave home.
All of this is happening as I'm sitting in my dorm room, going through information about AKA and simultaneously wrestling with my conviction. With everything going on, I questioned whether joining at that time, or even at all, was the right thing to do (even though God already said no). I discussed it with 1-2 close family/friends (even though God already said no) and they supported whichever route I decided to take. But they had no idea that I'd already heard from God and His answer was "no." I continued anyway.
I'm accepted to start the Membership Intake Process and things begin to unfold. From the onset, the most prevalent tone amongst and between the current and incoming members was that of condescension and guilefulness. From outward belittling comments to strife about frivolous things, I found it tasteless that this was the impression given by girls who would potentially become your "sister."
Majority of the members would continue this demeanor throughout the entire process. They embodied a heightened level of obnoxiousness, pride, cattiness, and duplicitousness for many reasons:
Because it is the nature of the organization, particularly when there is a power dynamic at play.
Because there were national stipulations at the time that forced the chapter to accept all women who qualified, and not just the few they wanted.
Because members wanted to force candidates into submission and loyalty.
Because majority of the members found their identity in the organization.
Because many of the potential members placed their value in the organization.
This is a very light, minuscule description compared to what some have done or allowed to be done, just to be accepted. Yet, many contend that that's just the members being "mean" or to "roughen you up." Some say it's meant to "tear you down to build you back up" or to "earn the respect of your prophytes and other greeks." Regardless of your vantage point about the matter, the actions and attitudes of the members were only symptoms of the spirit behind the organization. The spirit of BGLOs can most visibly be found in their rituals.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. - Ephesians 6:12
AKA Ritual Ceremony
Part of the process is the ritual ceremony. It's where one commits their life to the organization. They pledge their allegiance and guarantee state love and obedience to the org's credences. I'll break down the rituals in the upcoming post. But what took place during my ritual was something I've never experienced before. ⁴The members built an altar with candles, ivies to reflect the founders, and a coat of arms. We're instructed to kneel down and repeat our oaths as they are given to us. As I get ready to recite and agree to a particular part of the oath, I very distinctly, very clearly, heard the Lord firmly say "Do not repeat it." I briefly froze and refrained from speaking. The intensity with which I heard His instruction was of great severity. I knew at that moment, that whatever this was becoming with AKA would not be permanent.
I did not walk out of the room or end the process there (although I'm now curious as to what would've happened if I did). Rather, the oaths were sealed as we signed our name into their record book — you know, kinda like the Book of Life.
At the end of the ceremony, it was common for the candidates to reconvene in each other's dorm rooms. This particular night, I gathered with a few of the candidates who I knew identified as followers of Jesus. I asked them if they recited this particular part of the oath (the part I heard the Lord say not to repeat), and they each vehemently said that they did not.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. - 1 John 1:5-6
The Lord is merciful. I literally bowed down at the altar of a false god, and agreed to submit to them. I formed a covenant with a pagan god, ignorantly believing that I was still honoring God with my life. It'll be conducive to you, the reader, to study the consequences of idolatry. You cannot serve two masters. As I've matured in my relationship with God, it's become more inconceivable to believe that someone professing Jesus' name and professing to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit does not have:
conviction about their idol worship
an urgency to repent
BGLOs are not simply organizations, they are spiritual practices that answer to a supernatural being — who is not God/Jesus if you haven't learned by now.
In the next post, I look forward to briefly breaking down the rituals. I won't go as in-depth as originally planned, but I'll provide sufficient examples where you can dive deeper on your own.
¹ I believe that demonic spirits can be attached to bloodlines. Familiar spirits perhaps. This made me drawn to and a direct target for BGLOs. There is also a certain "look" and disposition associated with certain organizations. As I've been told, I'm perceived as "pretty," prissy, classy, etc., so people would say "oh you look like an AKA."
² I'd soon come to find out that the stories/accusations are true for many chapters of BGLOs. Through the experience of a close friend (of a different BGLO, not AKA), I'd witness the physical and mental abuse up close. It was to the point of needing to go to the ER and ultimately bearing the burden of being severely ostracized and embarrassed by those who were to become their sister/brother.
³ All the enemy needs for a covenant to form is your agreement.
⁴ There are quite a few altars throughout the process of joining AKA and afterwards.