By Chinta Strausberg, The Chicago Crusader
The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., announced Wednesday, December 22, that it is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the death of 25- year-old Illinois State University graduate medical student Jelani Day found face down in the Illinois River on September 4, 2021, having been last seen on August 24.
The fraternity’s reward was announced in a press release on Monday, December 20, from Decatur, Georgia, after seeing the FBI’s December 13, 2021, Jelani Day Joint Task Force (JDJTF) reward of $10,000 seeking similar information.
The historically renowned African American fraternity had initially decided to match the FBI’s reward but instead increased it by $5,000.
“Omega Psi Phi has been heartbroken by the tragic death of our brother, Jelani Day, as is the fraternity’s Supreme Council,” said Dr. David Marion, the fraternity’s International President, and Grand Basileus.
Referring to Jelani Day, Marion added, “He was a model Omega man and is deeply missed by us all. I hope that through our efforts, along with the FBI’s full involvement, we can continue to keep Jelani Day’s mysterious death in the minds of all Americans and move this investigation forward through our committed action, which shall always go far beyond rhetoric. We ask anyone who may have any information to please call the FBI. Jelani’s family deserves answers.”
Day’s family lawyer, Attorney Ben Crump, said on behalf of Mrs. Carmen Bolden Day and her family, “Jelani Day did everything right in life to break America’s skewed stereotypes about Black men. Jelani reflected Omega Psi Phi’s high ideals in his accomplishments and pure inspirations. His death demands the same caliber of investigation that any other accomplished American would receive. We must refuse to stop saying his name until there are concrete answers on what happened to this young man,” said Crump.
Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, who along with Reverend Jesse Jackson and his son Jonathan Jackson worked on this case from the beginning, said, “We think this is significant in light of what the FBI has done. There is a real national passion for Jelani Day and justice in this case, supporting his mother and his family’s relentless desire to not just get closure but justice.”
“This legacy the African American fraternity is showing great tenacity and a great deal of leadership in joining in this call for justice for Jelani Day,” Grant told the Chicago Crusader.
FBI Special Agent Siobhan Johnson and other investigators are seeking full cooperation of the public, along with Day’s close contacts, surrounding his death. The JDJTF is asking the public to submit tips even anonymously via 1-800-CALL-FBI.
FBI Special Agent Ken Hoffman is working to set up a meeting with Jackson and the family of Jelani Day to work together to solve this case.