#CommunityServiceWhileBlack: Cop Questions Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Members During Highway Cleaning, Says He Thought They Were Fighting

Photo: Britni Danielle

Several members of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority were doing their due diligence and cleaning up trash on Interstate Highway 83 in Harrisburg, Pa., when a state trooper pulled over and started questioning them. According to a now deleted Facebook post by Shawna Naomi but captured by writer Britni Danielle, the trooper said he was questioning them because he thought they were fighting:

Not only were the sorority members NOT fighting, but they were literally standing on the road, with garbage bags and picking up trash. And doing it in front of their very own “Adopt a Highway” sign.

Image: @BritniDWrites (Twitter)
Image: @BritniDWrites (Twitter)

The women were questioned as they stood on the side of the road in utter astonishment and were asked for their IDs. When they finally obliged and showed their IDs, the officer antagonistically told them that they could have refused.

But we all know how this story could have ended up if they had, right?

In an official statement, Sigma Gamma Rho called for a formal apology:

Since its founding in 1922, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority has performed community service activities to help improve the lives and environment of the community. The African American sorority is part of the Divine Nine sororities and fraternities. On Saturday, May 12, 2018, professional sorority members of the local Harrisburg, Pennsylvania chapter were engaged in an adopt-a-highway community service activity when a state trooper from the Harrisburg Division interrupted their work to question them.

What is unfortunate, according to the sorority members present, the trooper responded to a call that women were fighting along the highway. Additionally, the trooper was unaware that many African American sororities and fraternities continue active engagement beyond their college years and many actually join as professional adults. It is equally troubling that the trooper was unaware the chapter had contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to inform the department of its project to beautify the highway. Finally, the ladies were dressed in the sorority colors of blue and gold with Sigma Gamma Rho Greek letters, were wearing gloves, were dragging trash bags filled with debris and were working in an area clearly marked “Adopt A Highway – Litter Control Interchange Area – Sigma Gamma Rho – HBG Alumnae KOS CHPT”.

We ask that the Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol immediately issue a public apology to the members of the sorority questioned, have a renewed commitment to becoming a part of the community they police through diversity training and attend town hall meetings.


How much do you want to bet they won’t get the apology they deserve?

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Yesha Callahan

Bye, Kinja! It's been fun (occasionally).