EAST ORANGE, NJ — Annually, Father’s Day is a celebration for dads, grandfathers and father figures. To celebrate this year, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Eta Pi Chapter hosted a Father and Son Martial Arts Clinic, via Zoom, instructed by martial arts expert and East Orange Mayor Ted Green, on Saturday, June 20.
Mentoring Committee Chairperson Matt Stevens explains the event and the importance of it.
“The Father and Son Martial Arts Clinic event is designed to engage fathers in an interactive activity with children to enhance quality time,” Stevens said June 19. “It is being hosted virtually in line with the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. We encourage noncustodial dads to meet their kids at the Zoom. The event is important, because it provides opportunities for fathers to spend time with their children while supporting Mayor Green’s COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home policy.”
According to a press release, the event is part of the Dr. Ernest Everett Just Mentoring Program, which is coordinated by the Eta Pi Chapter. The chapter has serviced the Essex County community since 1973, and the mentoring program is a nationally mandated activity under the fraternity’s Membership and Fatherhood Initiative.
Producing a successful turnout for the event, the Eta Pi Chapter, also known as the Community Ques, strives to create programs to better the community.
“The entire fraternity is required to host fatherhood and mentoring activities as a part of the mandated programs established by the international office,” Stevens said. “We anticipate 50 dads and their sons to participate.”
Green, also an Eta Pi Chapter member, led the martial arts session, with demonstrations done by his son and young grandson.
“The chapter has supported Mayor Green’s annual Father’s Day Breakfast for the last 10 years,” Stevens said. “In 2019, Mayor Green joined the Eta Pi Chapter as a member. Since he canceled his breakfast, we asked him to do this event. Note the event is not a city of East Orange–sponsored event.”
Performing three sessions, consisting of exercises, drills and stretches, Green said he views martial arts as a way of life.
“The cardinal principles of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. are manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift, all principles I’ve been reinforcing in all aspects of my life as a father, husband, public servant, sensei, neighbor and friend,” Green said June 20. “Under these difficult circumstances, possession of these characteristics is more important than ever. I commend my brothers from the Eta Pi Chapter for creating both a bonding and mentoring opportunity for our families.”
According to Stevens, chapter members are enthusiastic about their virtual activities.
“The fatherhood event is the last event of the program year for the chapter, September through June,” Stevens said. “We are excited about being successful in all our virtual activities. In March, the chapter moved to an all-virtual format, entitled ‘Community Ques Go Virtual.’”
Aspiring teenaged youth of Omega Psi Phi tuned in also.
“I feel very blessed to be here,” 14-year-old Sean Lopez from Long Island said on June 20. “I would like to experience this.”
“My instructors have always told us to give back to the community,” 17-year-old Jeremiah Puo from East Orange said on June 20. “I learn from everyone.”
Barry Devone, Eta Pi Chapter’s basileus, aka local president, praised the event.
“I think this is a great experience,” Devone said on June 20. “It’s a part of our ongoing mentorships. The chapter looks forward to continuing to serve the greater Essex County community.”