This past summer in Denver, Colorado, the 2018 International Convention adopted its first ever Position Statement on Diversity & Inclusion. This piece of policy speaks to the background of Delta Lambda Phi, while also laying a framework for the hard work ahead of us around the topics of diversity, inclusion, and equity.
Delta Lambda Phi was founded on the reality that, in 1987, traditional fraternal spaces were not accessible, let alone comfortable, to many non-straight men. Over the years, DLP has served as a space centered around the LGBTQ experience, while remaining open to all men–and as time progressed, all individuals who were male-bodied or simply identified as men at the time of induction. This progressive arc of the organization has moved us to a place where justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity are core issues that the Fraternity continues to grapple with – the ways in which our past, present, and future Brothers who hold societally marginalized identities or identifiers have not always been served equally, fairly, or justly by this organization. The Position Statement makes clear that the organization must always continue to wrestle intently and intentionally with these issues, as they are core to who we are as an organization. While issues around gender identity and racial equity and justice served as primary catalysts for the formation and adoption of this statement, the statement lists many more areas to be addressed; all of these areas must and should remain priorities for Delta Lambda Phi.
The Position Statement on Diversity & Inclusion, as a document ratified by the highest governing body of Delta Lambda Phi, makes known formally and officially the organization’s understanding of diversity and inclusion, its expectation of itself and its members, and clear guidelines to help point the way towards a more diverse, equitable, and just Fraternity. This statement provides the underlying guidance around diversity and inclusion that will inform policy initiatives, educational directives, judicial/mediation guidelines, and more which will now be built on a shared understanding of the desire of this Brotherhood to continue striving towards a place of justice and equity that serves the diversity of our Brotherhood.
The ratification of this statement marks an important step in the Fraternity’s continual evolution to reflect the best of what society can be. We wish to take a moment and recognize the work of all the Brothers involved in the creation of this document: Julian Casillas, Sean Finn, Zac Arellano, Eric Van Sant, and Phil Hernandez. Additionally, we would like to thank the Social Justice Committee and the Board of Directors for their review, feedback, and support of the statement prior to its presentation to Convention. We encourage you to read the statement and reflect on what it asks you to do; in your own life, in your chapter, and in the wider work of Delta Lambda Phi.
Position Statement on Diversity & Inclusion (from the Fraternity Standing Rules)
Delta Lambda Phi strives to create a Brotherhood experience in which diversity and inclusion are constantly engaged. Delta Lambda Phi was founded on an ideal of creating a more diverse fraternal experience, and we continue to affirm that today through our deliberations, policies, beliefs, and actions. We expect and educate our members to not only uphold these ideals within our organization, but to push for those ideals in the wider world.
Diversity, as one of the seven core values of Delta Lambda Phi, is reinforced and strengthened by our ongoing pursuit of inclusivity, both within our Brotherhood and throughout the world. Delta Lambda Phi’s value of Diversity demands we foster a culture of acceptance and respect for the individuality of all people. When tempered by humility, we forge a space for growth through our varied identities. Myriad experiences enlighten our view of the world and create a mosaic that is greater than the sum of its parts. Diversity means that we are strongest when multiple voices shape our community.
Delta Lambda Phi uses these working definitions to provide mutual understanding across our Brotherhood:
Diversity is the multiplicity of human differences. This encompasses, but is not limited to: racial identity, ethnicity, language(s), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, social class, familial or relational status, cognitive (dis)ability, physical (dis)ability, appearance or physical attributes, religious or ethical values system, national or geographic origin, documentation status, and political beliefs. We recognize diversity should be an outcome of holistic and well-executed inclusion within our organization, as it is not simply a final goal in the pursuit of equity.
Inclusion is the act of involving and empowering all. This is realized when the intrinsic worth and self-worth of all people are acknowledged. An inclusive fraternity encourages and sustains a sense of belonging through policy and practice; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, abilities, backgrounds and ways of living of its members. We also recognize that historical and current marginalization of specific identities–whether institutional or personal–necessitates additional effort to combat, as privilege shifts throughout time.
Delta Lambda Phi’s commitment to inclusion has been developed through our lens of being a fraternal organization; organizations which are–by their nature–membership-focused, selective organizations. While Delta Lambda Phi has worked to expand the definition and requirements of membership, we maintain our selective membership intake as a way to maintain our legal standing as a fraternal organization, as a way to uphold our core identity as an organization, and as a way to ensure that those who wear our letters are truly upholding the values and principles by which we must live.
Delta Lambda Phi endeavors to ensure that:
Diversity and inclusion are strongly advocated for our members and supported by our the leadership structure of the Fraternity;
Diversity and inclusion initiatives are continuously introduced into the systems, structures and culture of the Fraternity;
Diversity and inclusion are apparent to the public, potential new members, those in the new member process, and Brothers of every age;
Expertise and leadership is fostered on diversity and inclusion related initiatives and causes;
Policies are examined and further developed to advance the fraternity climate of equity and inclusion; and
Resources for infusing diversity and inclusion into various social and educational programs are provided at all levels of the organization.