We know it's been an incredibly tough week for so many of you after witnessing the greatest domestic assault on our democracy since the Civil War. But it was also an ugly and unmistakable reflection of the systemic racism that plagues our society and deeply harms people of color every single day.
The events at the Capitol were the antithesis of our Theta Phi Alpha values, and while we work through the challenges of this moment, this time, we will continue to act in pursuit of those values. That includes the diversity and inclusion work fundamental to our sisterhood. As we each reconcile our own feelings about yesterday and think about what it means for our future, I encourage all of you to find a way to address the systemic challenges on display within your campus and home communities and most importantly, to care for one another.
I would like to take this opportunity for a quick update on our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA) work. The Task Force has been hard at work for months and submitted their report of recommendations to Grand Council (GC) Jan. 10th. I wish to thank all of them for their service and sacrifice for Theta Phi Alpha. Every one of them, especially the co-chairs, poured their passion into this endeavor. GC will read/review/absorb the information from that report and determine a way forward to continue the work of making Theta Phi Alpha more inclusive. This work will continue until it is in our DNA... until it is who we are.
As I personally reflected on the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the events leading up to that moment, I naturally reflected on what it means to be a leader. What do good leaders do? What do good leaders NOT do? I asked those questions on Facebook and will share two responses. Antoinette Cummins, BG, said,
- "Leaders don’t mince their words when demanding equality! They call it like they see it."
Antoinette is right. Equality and equity should be non-negotiable and our belief in these principles should overshadow everything else. As Theta Phi Alpha's National President, and in line with the Fraternity's belief in "justice to each fellow man," I will be clear and I will unequivocally condemn the attack on our democracy and the inherent racism and white supremacy that motivated these actions.
In response to my inquiry about defining leadership, Darcy-Tell Morales, GH, found inspiration in Brene Brown's definition of leadership:
- "Leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It’s about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage. The world is desperate for braver leaders. It’s time for all of us to step up."
I call on all of us to be brave leaders. Have the difficult conversations. Do the difficult work. Lead with empathy and vulnerability. Be brave my sisters.
This statement was originally shared by National President Tracey Liphardt during the welcome session of Officer Leadership Training on Jan. 9, 2021.