COVID-19 impact on ONECA

District Director Brother Marvin Venay’s COVID-19 Letter to Eastern Region – District II

Greetings Brothers,

COVID-19 is real! Whether it is impacting us personally by infecting family, friends, and colleagues or mentally through our local and national news broadcasting, it’s impacting us all.

On March 11th, I sent a note to encourage our district to support our elderly brothers as well as our college brothers that have been displaced from school. Shortly after that post, I (unknowingly) began experiencing symptoms associated with the Coronavirus. I initially thought I was coming down with a head cold. However, my health deteriorated rapidly. I experience burning eyes, a perpetual migraine, and a fever of 100+ degrees for several days straight. After a few days, my breathing became so labored, it was difficult to walk 20 feet without stopping to rest.

Two visits to the ER for severe respiratory issues LED NO WHERE!  Despite my terrible condition,  I was repeatedly reminded of my ineligibility to be tested per the CDC guidelines supplied to the ER. I was quickly discharged. I returned home the same as I departed; depleted, fatigued, and unaware of whether I was exposing my family to harm. By the grace of God, the effectiveness of prayer and a wonderful primary care physician, I was able to receive good private care. In one week, I was ruled out for COVID-19 testing twice. However, in the following week, I was administered the test through two different collection methods. The tests  returned two different results. Ultimately, while hospitalized, I tested positive for COVID-19, despite testing negative earlier in the week.

Initially, I felt low. Becoming this ill from symptoms that are killing thousands of people daily would shake anyone. However, I immediately prayed and went to sleep. The rest allowed me to relax and see God’s hand in the situation. Yes, I am now a part of the alarming numbers associated with this unprecedented pandemic; but unlike many other individuals, when informed, I was at the tail end of the virus. I am recovering well. I walked out the hospital on my own two feet (having not to be quarantined – exceeding CDC guidelines) and returned home healthy and victorious while knowing others did not fair as well. It is my belief, that I was I was hospitalized to strictly be exposed to the extreme circumstances so that I might begin earnestly praying!

Unfortunately, the disproportionate impact of society’s ills (health inequity, mental illness, poverty, food scarcity, etc.) are making this worse for black and brown communities. Nonetheless, many among us are not taking social-distancing seriously. We are not quarantining or taking the precautions required to protect ourselves and the vulnerable among us. The fact is, many of our Brothers and Sisters will not have my outcome if they become as ill. Those with pre-existing conditions need our prayers and commitment. We must encourage testing, advocate for our health needs, and help those affected navigate a healthcare system that may serve them inadequately without a fight.

In fact, there are a some of our Brothers, in the district, that have tested positive, and some that have tested negative yet are experiencing all of the associated symptoms. This is far from over and at this time while maintaining social distance we must support each other. Further, we must keep the loved ones of those that recently joined our Omega Chapter due to COVID-19 in our thoughts.
LET’s CONNECT – it’s time for a War Cry!
Please join Incoming – District Director Bro. Yves Salomon and I for a prayer call – Monday, April 13th at 7:06 pm. The call-in number is 1-602-610-2078  code 411113.
If you are well, begin researching foods and supplements that build your immune system. There is no cure. All you have is your immune system and the care you receive.  Get your body in order. If you have symptoms, begin the process of pursuing a test and do not accept No for an answer! Pray earnestly, drink plenty of water. Eat properly and stay connected emotionally and spiritually despite our distance physically. If you have preexisting conditions, make sure you are on top of those!

I am blessed! God rescued me, my wife cared for me, my children loved on me, my church encouraged me, my family, and many of you brothers, prayed for me. We are our Brothers Keeper! Thank you for keeping my family and I lifted–we still need those prayers!

Beyond Fraternally, I love you Brothers,

Methodologies to Prevent Unnecessary COVID-19 Exposure for Black People

March 26, 2020

Dear Brothers:

On behalf of General President Everett B. Ward, I greet you in the unwavering spirit of God’s everlasting love. In my dual role as chairman of the A. Charles Haston Brother’s Keeper National Program and cochairman of our National Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force, it is imperative for me, as your Brother, to provide you with unmitigated information about this virus. Our goal is to promote the health and well-being of our senior and vulnerable Brothers, widows, Alpha families, and the communities we serve.

Because we do not currently have immunity or a vaccination developed to combat COVID-19, most virologists believe it will be a year or more until this virus runs its course. Consequently, we, as Alpha men, will have to use innovative strategies more than ever to operationalize serving as our brother’s keeper. Together, our brotherhood will continue to provide brotherly love to its members, families, and the communities it serves.

A mass number of young men and women who attended spring break activities are now diagnosed with COVID-19. Although people over 60 years old and people with preexisting medical conditions are more susceptible to COVID-19-related mortality, no race, age, or sex is exempt from death as a result of contracting this disease. As Surgeon General Jerome Adams stated, “Everyone needs to act as if they have the virus right now. Test or no test, we need you to understand you could be spreading it to someone else or you could be getting it from someone else. Stay at home.”

Below are some innovative actions that you can take within your district, chapter, or individually. You can serve as your brother’s keeper by utilizing some of the suggestions while avoiding unnecessarily exposing Brothers, Alpha families, communities, or yourself to COVID-19.

Fraternal Communication and Needs Assessments

1. Please consider making calls to all inactive and active college and alumni Brothers, Alpha widows, and family members of our dear Brothers who are in the Omega chapter. The purpose of the calls is to maintain fellowship with those in social isolation and to conduct an informal needs assessment of their overall wellness and their access to food, clean water, utilities, and so on. Although all Brothers should be called, priority should be given to Brothers age 60 and over, Alpha widows, and Brothers with preexisting conditions.

Acquiring Health Care Thorough Telemedicine

2. If individuals need health care intervention, please encourage them to contact their health care provider or local hospital via telephone and make an appointment to be evaluated and/or diagnosed remotely via telemedicine. If they do not understand or do not have access to the internet, provide them or a family member with information about how telemedicine is utilized while supporting their privacy rights. In addition, please request that they either pick up their medicines from a pharmacy drive-through or receive them by mail.

Alternative Methods for Procuring Groceries and Living Essentials

3. If individuals need help with online grocery shopping, please offer to do so because this will minimize their unneeded possible exposure to COVID-19. Some of the best online shopping sites are Instacart, Boxed, and Walmart. In addition, most local grocery stores offer home delivery or pick-up services through which customers can order online and pick up their groceries in a designated area of the store’s parking lot.

Recommended Safety Protocol to Minimize COVID-19 Home Contamination

4. According to a new and unpublished study supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, (van Doremalen et al., 2020), COVID-19 has a surface stability of 4 hours to 3 days (4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel). In addition, a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Moriarty et al. (2020) on the spread of the COVID-19 on the infamous Diamond Princess cruise ship revealed traces of this virus “on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated.” Therefore, contrary to some reports circulating through traditional and multi-media sources, it is recommended that when receiving items in your home such as mail, groceries, and packages, you should take precautions to protect yourself and your family by taking the safety measures recommended below.

Suggested Precautions Before Bringing Packages, Boxes, or Objects Possibly Exposed to COVID-19 into Your Home

(Please do steps B to F Outside of your Home)

A. Prior to unpacking received items, open all doors and/or garbage receptacles that will be used to discard packaging.

B. Wearing disposable gloves, wipe down the outside of each package thoroughly with a solution of 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water. The solution may be applied using a disposable paper towel. If the outside packaging is a plastic bag, toss it into a garbage receptacle. If you do not have disposable gloves, lather your hands with the solution before wiping down the package.

C. Toss any used paper towels in a trash receptable.

D. Wipe down your gloves or hands thoroughly with the aforementioned bleach and water solution.

E. Obtain a new paper towel and clean any additional items, repeating steps B through D.

F. Once all items are out of their packaging, wipe them down with the solution.

G. Wipe down surfaces that were exposed to the potentially contaminated contents, throw away the disposable gloves, wash your hands thoroughly, and bring the belongings into your home.

NOTE: Do not allow items to touch your body until the unpackaging process is complete. These recommended safety precautions can be easily modified to decontaminate all items that may have been exposed to COVID-19 during transit: cars, items of clothing, credit cards, wallets, keys, etc.


Methodologies for Virtual Socialization and Spiritual Upliftment


5. Please consider initiating virtual brotherhood through prayer services for Brothers and the people we lead and serve. This can be accomplished by organizing gatherings via teleconferencing applications such as Zoom and Google Hangouts. In addition, for Brothers who enjoy videogaming, we recommend organizing friendly eSports competitions (on games such as Fortnite) among districts, chapters, Alpha families, and/or college and alumni contemporaries (Pan-Hellenic Council organizations, student government members, faculty, academic societies, etc.).


Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. serves as a vehicle for intellectual expression and innovation. With that said, please share the creative methodologies that your district, chapter, or you personally utilize to be your brother’s keeper on social media for all of humankind to model for the well-being of others.

In closing, my personal belief is that “there is a paradise in every storm; you just need to see it.” Under the stewardship of our leader, General President Ward, our paradise is fulfilled as we operationalize our mission statement and continue our legacy of being a beacon of hope to our Brothers, Alpha families, and the communities we serve. We are our “Brother’s Keeper”! We are at are best when we are called to lead, model, serve, and fight!



Brother Dr. Ronald “Pepper” Peters
Chairman, A. Charles Haston Brother’s Keeper National Program
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.









1. Moriarty LF et al. (2020). Public Health Responses to COVID-19 Outbreaks on Cruise

Ships— Worldwide, February–March 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 69:347- 352.DOI:


2. van Doremalen, et al. (2020). Aerosol and surface stability of HCoV-19 (SARS-CoV-2)

compared to SARS-CV-1. New England Journal of Medicine. Ahead of Print.

COVID-19 Letter

March 31, 2020

My Brothers of Alpha:

My continued prayers and thoughts are with you, your families and the communities, you serve as we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic that is spreading through the global community. The well-being of our Brotherhood is my constant companion. These past weeks have tested our strength, faith, and endurance. While we have endured difficult situations, as General President, I’m extremely pleased to see that the Brotherhood of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., has confronted each situation with the faith, resolve and courageous leadership defined by men of Alpha.

Our Brothers are taking care of their respective families while simultaneously providing leadership in their communities. The Brotherhood wellness calls, district and regional prayer services, scripture emails, virtual Brotherhood sessions, virtual chapter meetings, countless emails and telephone calls are sustaining our Brotherhood in a masterful way. These are unprecedented times and we need each other more than ever before, as we are our Brother’s Keeper.

I recently participated in both the Alpha Ohio Day of Prayer Service and the ANCA Prayer Service and I gained enormous spiritual strength from the calls. The prayers and scriptures shared by our brothers lifted my heart and spoke to my soul. In all times, but especially, now, it’s important that we never forget that prayer changes things. It is in that spirit that I encourage each of us to reserve time to pray for each other.

We also recently have lost three Brothers to Omega Chapter. Each Brother, in his own way, epitomized the precepts of our great fraternity. Two of our Brothers, Te-Andre Brown (Beta Nu) and Bassey Offiong (Epsilon Xi), were campus leaders and 2020 graduating seniors from their respective universities. Brother Brown sacrificed his life saving a fellow student. Brother Bassey, a celebrated campus leader, lost his life to the Coronavirus. Brother Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, 98 years young, dedicated his life fighting against injustice and discrimination for current and future generations. Our hearts are heavy with sadness over their passing and the passing of so many others. We must cherish their legacies by waking up every morning thanking God for His grace and mercy.

We must also pray for our brothers and loved ones who are confronting the daily health challenges associated with the coronavirus. Collectively, we must help them fight this illness by fervently praying, by doing all that we can to stop the spread of the virus, and by knowing that a better day is coming. I encourage all of us to take this time of isolation to reflect on our personal priorities and to celebrate our blessings each, and every day.

As men of Alpha, we must also take time for preparation. Following the coronavirus pandemic our leadership will be needed more than ever. Reconnecting our communities, providing leadership for our school systems, advocating for marginalized citizens, promoting the 2020 Census and remaining focused on the pending election cycle are all critical areas that require Alpha leadership. Please know that the management of our fraternal affairs continues to move forward as we care for our loved ones and communities that we serve.

In preparation for the days ahead, I’m asking Alpha Brothers to follow mandates issued by state and federal officials by staying home, regularly contacting Brothers -- especially senior Brothers and widows -- , and taking care of yourself. I want to commend Brothers Dr. Ronald Peters and Dr. Duane Dyson and members of the COVID-19 Fraternal Taskforce for keeping the Brotherhood informed on key issues. For your continued safety my Brothers, please carefully read each of these communications. I also want to thank Interim Executive Director Brother Gregory Phillips and the Corporate Headquarters staff for their service during this challenging period.

Brothers, please join our National Chaplain, Brother Jonathan C. “Jay” Augustine, JD, MDiv, for the inaugural Alpha’s Word on Wednesday – a mid-week moment of spiritual uplift. The prayer call is scheduled for Wednesday, April 1, 2020 7:06 p.m., EST. Call-in information will be circulated from the corporate headquarters today.

Brothers, partnering together (Brother to Brother), we will weather this pandemic storm and witness together the bright sunshine of a new day with no coronavirus among us.

“There Goes a man whose life is spent in service and not in scorn. There goes a mon whose majesty shines like a May time morn.” – Peter Clarke

Onward and Upward Always,

Everett B. Ward, Ph.D.
General President

Corporate Headquarters Limited Hours of Operation During Coronavirus Pandemic

Corporate Headquarters Limited Hours of Operation

During Coronavirus Pandemic


Dear Brothers:

To ensure the health and safety of our valued staff during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, the corporate headquarters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will have limited physical hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. until further notice.

All tours are also suspended until further notice.

During this time, some staff members will telecommute, but will still provide services during our regular business hours. These measures are in accordance with federal, state, and local government efforts.

The headquarters office can be reached at (410) 554-0040. For specific issues, concerns, or problems pertaining to various departments, staff members can be reached directly via their cell phones or emails at:

Department First Name Last Name Email Address Extension Direct Dial
Administrative Sean McCaskill 115 443-923-3115
Administrative John Johnston 106 410-949-0899
Administrative Sophia Burris  116 443-923-3116
Receptionist Chanta Davis  100 155-231-0100
Finance and Accounting Stanley Wright  123 443-488-1245
Finance and Accounting Bernice Meadows 113 443-923-3113
Finance and Accounting Nichae Alston 110 443-923-3110
Membership Services and Brotherhood Engagement Denny Johnson 104 443-923-3104
Membership Services and Brotherhood Engagement Delores Diggs  103 443-923-3103
Membership Services and Brotherhood Engagement Terrence Byerson 118 443-923-3118
Membership Services and Brotherhood Engagement Christina Grimes 120 443-923-3120
Membership Services and Brotherhood Engagement Kemmi Kilson-Smith 138 443-923-3138
Membership Services and Brotherhood Engagement LaTonya Truesdale 139 443-923-3139
Human Resources and Information Technology Stanley Ray 105 443-651-9183
Marketing and Public Relations Eric Webb 112 443-923-3112
Marketing and Public Relations Malik Whatley 117 443-923-3117
Marketing and Public Relations Nehemiah Bester 126 443-923-3126

Thank you for your consideration and understanding during this time of crisis to help ensure the health and safety of our staff.






March 14, 2020

My Brothers of Alpha,

Your health and the health of your families, as well as the communities we serve, is the top priority of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  The Fraternity, like the rest of the nation and the world, is faced with the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Fraternity’s Board of Directors met Friday and Saturday, March 13-14, 2020 and enacted several precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of the brotherhood, your families, and candidates.

Each Alpha region was represented by their Regional Vice President and Assistant Regional Vice President, along with elected general officers, appointed officials, and candidates for General President. Our actions also were informed by our Fraternity’s Medical Task Force, with whom we are in regular contact, and are consistent with those of government and public health agencies.

Below is a summary of the measures approved by the Board of Directors:

  • All remaining regional conventions will be postponed or cancelled until further notice. While the Southern Region has already rescheduled their convention for July 17-19, 2020, possible dates or locales for other conventions have not yet been determined.  This information will be communicated as soon as it is available.
  • All pending IMDP activities are being adjusted or modified fraternity wide. The Midwestern Region has postponed all IMDP activities until April 3, 2020. Adjustments for other districts and regions will be communicated by your Regional Vice President.
  • Chapters should cancel or postpone all in-person meetings, public events, and social gatherings, per the directive of universities and governmental agencies, until further notice. Guidelines will be provided for virtual chapter meetings to ensure that the business of the fraternity can be conducted during this period.
  • Candidates for General President have been asked to cancel travel during this time. The Committee on Elections will provide the Brotherhood with the approved methods of candidate interactions.

Chapters and Brothers are encouraged to be our Brothers’ Keepers now more than ever. Please check on the well-being and health status of our elderly Brothers as well as our Alpha widows. Those individuals 60 years old or older affected by pre-existing health conditions face the greatest threat from the coronavirus.

In addition, below are links to various websites where you can find additional information.

CDC Recommendations for People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19 (older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions)

CDC Recommendations for People Who Sick, Suspected to Be Sick, or Caring for Sick or Suspected Sick from COVID-19

World Health Organization Detailed Questions and Answers Concerning COVID-19

Thank you for your leadership during these challenging and unprecedented times. If you have any further questions, please contact your Regional Vice President.

Onward and Upward Always,

Everett B. Ward, Ph.D.
General President



Brothers and Chapter Officers,

The Fraternity’s Risk Management Committee has recently developed a “Frequently Asked Questions” Fact Sheet to help you navigate the recent changes in our insurance policy. Please access via the link below or in the Forms & Documents section of the Fraternity’s website.

F.A.Q.s Fact Sheet


Brother Gregory Phillips

The Digital Version of The Sphinx Magazine 2019 Winter Edition Is Here

The Digital Version of The Sphinx Magazine

2019 Winter Edition Is Here

This edition of the Sphinx magazine examines various health and wellness issues affecting African Americans as well as what we can do to improve our quality of life.
Feature Highlights Include:

Health Crisis: What You Don’t Know Might Be Killing You!

Brotherhood Bikers: Alphas Pursue Motorcycling & Alpha Round-Up For Comradery, Community Service, And Personal Wellness

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. General Convention Revisited

Outstanding College and Alumni Brothers of the Year

Eric Christopher Webb, DDiv., CPLC

Interim Editor-of-the-Sphinx

Call to submissions




The upcoming Spring edition of the SPHINX magazine will be a special edition exploring various aspects of political thought and representative government. Special Guest Editors include Brothers Councilman Dr. John Bullock, a Baltimore City Councilman, representing the 9th District, and Professor Dr. Tyson King-Meadows, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). We are requesting Brothers submit well-researched, third-person, multi-sourced articles on the following topics, including, but not limited to: Political Philosophy/Theory, Voting, Political Representation, Advocacy, Civic Engagement, and the 2020 U.S. Census. Articles should be between 750 and 1,500 words in length. Brothers on the Move and Chapter News relevant to the topics will also be included in the edition.

Please submit all articles to no later than Friday, March 6, 2020.



Due to the recent changes in our insurance policy, here is our newly revised, and updated Special Events Checklist form. This form, which has been approved both by our Fraternity Counsel and the Fraternity’s Risk Management Committee, must be submitted for approval and coverage for all SPECIAL EVENTS. There are no exceptions. Please complete and submit this form via email at or through fax at (410) 554-0054.

Brother Gregory Phillips,
Interim Executive Director



Our insurance policy has dramatically changed and that necessitates a change in operational procedures for how we manage and approve insurance requests.  Starting Tuesday, January 21st there will be a new Special Events Checklist form posted to the fraternal website. Any event that takes place on or after March 15, 2020 will be required to use this form to obtain insurance approvals. Even if you already have confirmation and a certificate issued you will need to reapply for insurance coverage.  There are no exceptions!

For events taking place prior to March 15th, the Corporate Risk Management, Education and Prevention Committee along with the appropriate Corporate Staff Members will conduct a risk assessment of your activity. You may be required to obtain additional insurance in order for the event to be approved.  

Additionally, moving forward insurance submissions must be made THIRTY (30) days in advance of the date of the event. Any requests inside that window will not only incur the $100 penalty but they will also need to be approved by your Regional Risk Management Officer (RMO) or the Chair of the Corporate Risk Management, Education and Prevention Committee.  Regional Risk Management officers can require additional conditions be met prior to the approval of your event.  The contact information for your Regional RMO's has been posted on the fraternal website.  Additionally, if you have questions about best practices as it relates to specific types of activities, the committee chairs have been made available to you as resources for consultation.

Brothers, we realize that this is a difficult and abrupt transition but the risk is literally too high for us to ignore the potential consequences. We must change the way we operate to meet the requirements of our insurance carrier. That change starts now. Please know that we are available to you to answer questions and address concerns.  As always, we are operating with the best of intentions as the preservation of our organization is at stake.  Let us know how we can help you be successful during this transition.