As we settle into 2021, I wanted to send an update to you about the work the Fraternity is doing related to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI). Some action steps we have taken include diversity, equity and inclusion training for volunteers at our Volunteer Leadership Conference, removing preferential treatment for legacies during recruitment, and hosting a live Zoom call for undergraduate Sisters to share ideas about making changes in their chapters and social circles related to JEDI work. While these things were taking place and being implemented, the Fraternity partnered with Mission Partners, a woman-owned, certified B Corporation, that works with purpose-driven organizations to help them realize their greatest social impact. Through this partnership, we completed a diversity and inclusion communications audit, hosted a visioneering session that allowed staff and volunteers to share their experiences and expectations in relation to JEDI work within the Fraternity and were given advice and resources on how to define the “why” of the work the Fraternity is doing in terms of JEDI initiatives. With that context, and the support of National Council, I want to share the Fraternity’s “why”, which lays the groundwork for how the Fraternity will holistically engage in meaningful work regarding our JEDI efforts. An important point that I would like to emphasize is that this is an on-going journey to better develop a Sisterhood that is welcoming and safe for all women.
Our Path Forward
Alpha Xi Delta is firmly committed to aiding in the growth of women who are educated on topics that will help them be even more informed global citizens specifically, building a Sisterhood that is deeply aware of how Justice, Equity and Human Dignity are directly linked to our core beliefs. It is our desire to foster a Sisterhood where we are educated on the wrongs of the past, listen to understand the words and experiences of others and amplify.
Our “Why” and How it will Impact Our Work
Justice: Seeking justice will not allow us to return to “business as usual”. Instead, seeking justice calls us to keep moving forward and come together in our diverse experiences and ideas to be a Sisterhood that embodies fairness and respect.
Equity: Has a simple and direct tie to the truth that we seek to find. In creating a more equitable world, we are seeking to enhance opportunities for all in an intentional and thoughtful way.
Human Dignity: Is undeniably linked to the human spirit. Being respected for what you are and who you are, are tenants that live within deep meaningful friendship. Honoring a person, recognizing their inherent worth just in being a fellow human being, is firmly planted in the roots of Alpha Xi Delta.
Focusing on Justice, Equity and Human Dignity, as outlined above, will allow the Fraternity to avoid talking about one facet of diversity and inclusion work and instead are broad enough to allow us to have an over-arching approach to work that brings to life our Ritual in its truest form. In addition, Justice, Equity and Human Dignity are directly connected to the foundational values on which Alpha Xi Delta was created. This work is not something new, but an evolution of the way in which our members bring into living reality Alpha Xi Delta’s mission, vision and values.
What You Can Expect Next from Alpha Xi Delta
A two-pronged programmatic approach to Justice, Equity and Human Dignity:
- We will be piloting a series of workshops with both undergraduates and alumnae cohorts focusing on racial justice. This facilitated five-workshop series is designed to challenge participants in a no-shame environment that is grounded in the tenets of transformative learning. This series will be made available to our full membership in the fall.
- Simultaneously, we will be piloting an online course for undergraduate Sisters. Utilizing this course is a comprehensive option to create common language and understanding in a professional, concise and informative way. More information regarding a full implementation will be provided to chapters following Convention.
- We are reviewing and editing resources and manuals to ensure our communication and resources reflect our commitment to Justice, Equity and Human Dignity.
- This academic year, chapters have been implementing peer-led programming to fulfill their Inspire requirements. Aimed at helping members as they engage in conversations that may be challenging, the programs are:
- Differences vs. Divisiveness: A Guide to Understanding and Discussing your Values in a Political World (A facilitation guide can be found in the Inspire folder in Exclusively Xi's Resource Center)
- Hard Discussions Need a Tender Heart: Tools to Listen Well and Communicate Effectively (A facilitation guide can be found in the Inspire folder in Exclusively Xi's Resource Center
- Opportunities to talk, listen and learn. For instance, listen to the recording from “Let’s Talk: Social Justice and our Sisterhood” where undergraduate panelists shared their experiences in keeping dialog alive in their chapters. Be inspired by their leadership and creativity in helping their chapters move towards a more aware and just Sisterhood.
- Opportunities to be challenged through A Clear Vision of Life: The Wellbeing Program. This program built by alumnae for alumnae will challenge and encourage you in all aspects of your life, but specifically we recommend you review three recent challenges:
- We will be sharing more information and programming at our virtual National Convention, June 25-27. Registration information will be announced soon.