Al ‘Loco’ Philip-Neri

Brother Al Philip-Neri.

I always get the question why I joined Sigma Lambda Beta; it was simple I wanted to belong. When I went to college I knew there were fraternities and sororities, but those were the traditional kind, the kind we all know about from watching movies over the years. I remember watching kids from my dorms attend their ‘RUSH’ week hoping to get an invitation from one of these student groups and I knew one thing, I didn’t fit into those groups. Shortly after being on campus I discovered the ethnic Greek system and looked into the Black Fraternities along with the first ever Latino Fraternity Sigma Lambda Beta. Sigma Lambda Beta was new on campus when I discovered it and upon meeting some of the Founding Fathers I knew this was what I wanted to be a part of; both Brotherhood and History.

I was in a unique situation, because I am not Latino, my father is from Sri Lanka and my mother is from Kenya, so if just based on culture I would have chose one of the three Black Fraternities that were on campus at the time.  I saw a strong sense of history and pride within the Black Fraternities but what I saw from Sigma Lambda Beta was a vision that needed strong individuals to uphold it’s beliefs and values while creating something new. Therefore it was never about my ethnic background, it was about if I was off the right quality they were looking for to embrace the journey. Becoming a brother of Sigma Lambda Beta and embracing what those letters stood for was one of the hardest things I had faced in my life, and if I were writing an autobiography you would know that I didn’t have an easy life at all. The reason the Sigma Lambda Beta journey was so hard was because you have to be true to yourself and those that embark the journey with you.  In life anyone can tell you what they are good at, but showing weakness and building off that is where the real growth occurs and that is never easy.

I am forever grateful to the brotherhood, because it changed me as a person. The brothers of this distinguished Lambda Legacy are my family. It is amazing what a process, three letters and a handshake can do for one selves.

I am proud still to this day of our all-encompassing generational efforts that are constantly displayed within this Fraternity and within all of our families and the community.

“Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

Al ‘Loco’ Philip-Neri
Los Invencibles
December 13, 1992 at 3:51 A.M.
Strictly Old School