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The “Divine Nine” gathering

Leaders of the "Divine Nine" fraternities and sororities. front row (left to right) Camille Varlack, Dr. Stacie NC Grant, Elsie Cooke-Holmes, Elicia Pegues Spearman, Karen Holmes Ward; back row (left to right) Chris V. Rey JD, Ricky Lewis and Dr. Willis Lonzer III. PHOTO: ANDREW GRANT
Shelley Stewart Jr., ninth leader at the “Divine Nine” gathering. PHOTO: ANDREW GRANT

Moderated by WCVB-TV’s Karen Holmes Ward, the forum was titled “The Divine Nine: Powerbrokers for Positive Public Policy in Voting Rights, Education, Health Equity and Narrowing the Wealth Gap.”

Richard Taylor (Omega Psi Phi), president of UCECI, opened the afternoon before an audience of more than 350 and then introduced Urban League National President Marc Morial (Alpha Phi Alpha), who gave an in-depth history of the role of African American Greek letter organizations in civic engagement and social justice.

Top of mind for the leaders was galvanizing all Divine Nine members, their families and other African American organizations around voting rights, voter registration and participation in elections at all levels leading up to the 2024 presidential election and continuing to work together to solve many of the other challenges facing the Black community.

This was the first such forum hosted by UCECI but all agreed that it will become an annual event.