Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Reflecting on a Legacy of Sisterhood

I just received this e-mail from our national headquarters for my sorority and had to share this. While I know this may be lost on many of my friends who are probably thinking that it's all "greek" to them, I think what my sister has shared is very telling as to how the Greek World has changed and the issues that we're facing now as Alumni. I love my sorority and always will, no matter what. Hermanas Por Vida, Sisters for Life.

A Call to Distinction
Sister Jeuel A. Davis
Dear Melanie,

Ever since the introduction of Catalyst for Change, it seems that we have been most reluctant to embracing our new education process. This reluctance I feel is rooted in many things; however, I fear that this reasoning will be what robs us of our cherished sorority. From the many conversations I have had with sisters about this process, it seems that we are addressing some of our reluctance, but not the real crux of it all. And as a sister who is ready for our organization to reach new and excellent heights, I feel that it is time that we address our apprehensions head on, and I ask that you all engage in this conversation with me and every sister.

On all of our minds is the danger that our associate members will not take this process seriously and will not cherish this experience as we did during ours. While I will agree that that is a valid concern, I, along with many other sisters, do not feel that this is a problem that does not have a solution. No matter what the process, nor the information, our passion should shine through, and our associate members should be able to sense that and desire to have the same kind of relationship with our organization. Of course if we treat this process as one that will not “make” Gammas, our associate members will be able to recognize our apathy and will feed off of it. Our processes did not work because of what we actually did, they worked because they were executed by women we respect and admire and women whose loyalty to SLG was apparent and unwavering. Most of us would have performed and did perform whatever was asked of us because of the respect we had for this sorority and our desire to be a part of it. So if we, as the keepers of SLG’s legacy, share the same passion as our prophytes and our educators, how could such a process not be successful?

There are probably sisters who are also worried about how they will be perceived on their campuses as members of the Greek community. I know that we have all been raised in Greek cultures in which respect is earned based on how you were educated, but where is the validity in that belief? We as members of a Greek community, should be worried not about proving ourselves through how “hard” we go when we bring members in, but how hard we go for SLG as an organization. As Women of Distinction, we should be earning a respect from our fellow Greeks that stems from their appreciation for our programming, our sisterhood, and our demonstration of SLG’s principles on a daily basis. If that isn’t enough for their respect, then why desire it in the first place? If our Founding Mothers were concerned with how others felt about their decision to start our organization, where would we be today? The very essence of who we are is composed of our trailblazing tradition. Our existence as an organization lies in doing what none have done before us. This process is a chance for us to show that a Gamma is a strong, independent woman because of her character, integrity, and daily action, and not because of how she was pledged. We Women of Distinction should be most concerned with what makes us shine and not who sees the light.

Many of us also allow our education processes to dictate how we treat each other as sisters. Sisters have expressed a concern for how alumnae and prophytes will respond to the neos educated by The Journey, and that is disappointing. It is one thing for people outside of SLG to judge us based on how we educate, and it is something completely different for us to be judging each other. Do we not consider ourselves accepting of women from every background? Just because a sister has a different educational background, does that negate how they feel about this organization and what they do for it? The premise on which our sisterhood operates is the understanding that we all stand for and support each other because of our consensus of thought and spirit. The commonalities of our education processes matter not when compared to the commonalities in the way in which we carry out our lives as Gammas.

Furthermore, The Journey is an excellent education process. The Journey prepares our associate members to be contributors to this organization. New members educated by The Journey know how to do things that it took others of us months to figure out. New members have the opportunity to gain so much more self-confidence and self-awareness. New members are healthy, organized, and have developed good habits while going through The Journey. The Journey also encourages the bonding of initiated and associate members. This education process will be most successful when all members are participating and growing together. And those are just a few of the many great things about The Journey.

In all honesty, The Journey is an education process we should be embracing because it does not encourage hazing. Unfortunately, hazing is a live part of our organization that we can no longer afford to ignore, and many of us have a skewed view of it. Hazing isn’t just wrong because it comes with allegations and sanctions. Hazing is wrong because of its immorality. It is not morally sound to physically, mentally, or emotionally degrade any human being for any reason. We often declare that Morals and Ethics is one of our principles and yet we compromise that declaration when we haze our associate members. Hazing allegations could be the very reason that SLG no longer exists, yet some of us have such a casual attitude towards it. I can say with 100 percent confidence that each and every Gamma from coast to coast would be devastated to find out one day that they could no longer wear their letters, and I believe that hazing is not meant to be the end for our dynamic organization.

With all of that being said, I urge you sisters, to really reflect on why you joined Sigma Lambda Gamma and what it means for you to be a part of this irreplaceable organization. I tell people every day that SLG isn’t just a sorority or a Greek organization. SLG is a movement. SLG is the future. And I would love nothing more than to be able to wake up thirty years from now, reaping the benefits of the great accomplishments that our sisterhood has achieved. I would love nothing more than for my daughters, and my daughters’ daughters, and my great-granddaughters to be able to carry the same legacy that I carry, and that you carry today. Let us not list the many reasons why The Journey won’t be successful. Let us appreciate the many reasons that it will. Let us be the strong, independent women we profess to be who know exactly what we want and will let nothing stop us from achieving it. Let us be Gammas in everything we do. Let us be distinct in all we are.

About Mariam

Life is sweet

Life is sweet

And they lived happily ever after

And they lived happily ever after

One day a beautiful Jewish girl met a nice Jewish boy and made their mothers very, very, very happy

One day a beautiful Jewish girl met a nice Jewish boy and made their mothers very, very, very happy

About Me

For those of you who know me, writing has always been one of my passions, with the exception of my Masters or any ridiculously long testament within the wide world of Academia. I've only had the pleasure of blogging a couple of times, mostly for a few classes in graduate school, but figured it was time to organize my numerous thoughts and musings with all of you out there in cyber land. I created this page because my mind is always running and often times my thoughts get lost in the hubub. Plus, my friends have always said that I'm a great storyteller, so I'd love to share them now with you. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this... Throughout the past 33 years of my life I've seen, heard, and experienced so many different things as well as had many adventures and dream of so many possibilities. But in short, what it comes down to is this..I'm just a little Jubana trying to make a difference in the world. Everyday I live my life to the fullest and have fun doing it. Life can't always be about work or how much money you make. There's so much more to life than that.