"Break Down the Walls Dividing People"
Congratulations! Thousands of college students are pledging our Fraternity and we will grow! Thank you to our alumni for your stewardship of APO over the years. Thank you actives for using persuasion as you sell our Fraternity's vision and mission to fellow students on your campus. And thank you (in advance) to the pledges for bringing enthusiasm and awareness as you embark on your journey as a brother of Alpha Phi Omega.
Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity has its heritage in embracing differences, seeking peaceful answers to conflict and, for 91 years, building bridges of understanding through inclusiveness. With the news of unrest in the US and around the world, as well as the "drama" we sometimes have in our own organization, it is timely that we focus on seeking peace.
As you read the following words, think of how your dream of peace is within your reach:
"Remember when we were very small, everybody seemed so tall. Everything was just there beyond our reach. Maybe it's just like humankind, always reaching for the sky, always hoping to touch the dream of peace. Now we've gained some wisdom from the past, grown up through so much sorrow, the prize that seems to elude our grasp can still be ours tomorrow. And all of our children can see the day when battlefields are fields of play, and it lies, within our reach. And for all of those who've had to wait, empty hand and empty plate, how much longer can history repeat? The road ahead is ours to choose for giving or for taking, and the ones who follow will win or lose in the future we are making... Can't let this moment slip away, let the children see that day, what has defied us for so long, lies deep in each of us, now it's just within our reach." From the song "Within Our Reach" Words and music by P. Colwell, R. Colwell, C. Geary, D. Mackay, H. Allen and B. Welsh. Copyright 1995 Up with People!
This year's pledge challenge gives us the unique opportunity to build on our tradition and positively impact individuals and our society. You are asked to demonstrate servant leadership in action through promoting empathy, community building and healing in your chapter, on your campus, throughout your community, across the nation and around the globe.
Individually, and as a pledge class, please accept my challenge to Seek Peace by breaking down the walls which divide people.
We are a society of differences resulting in conflict - conflict of ideas, cultures, religions and strategies. Seek Peace by reaching out to others, engaging in activities with people not like yourself, actively participating in projects that promote understanding and encouraging others to seek peace. Peace is within our reach, don't let this moment pass us by for "ours is a great responsibility!"
Brother Fred Heismeyer