Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - Gamma Phi Beta
In the fall of 2020, Gamma Phi Beta implemented the Belonging, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion chair, or as we call it, BEDI, across all 187 chapters. It took the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements for members of Greek organizations to publicly and internally ask the hard questions about issues that have long been appeased. We have collectively been forced to reckon with the knowledge that Greek life is not a broken system, but was built to function exactly the way it does. Historically and traditionally the Greek community has lacked inclusivity, and has continued to perpetuate racism, both explicitly and implicitly.
Every Gamma Phi Beta chapter meeting, the chair woman occupying the BEDI position holds a micro lesson that seeks to educate the chapter on a related topic. Throughout this past year, we have spoken about proper allyship practice, understanding performative action, and the privilege we hold. Once a month, our chapter has programming which focuses on a macro lesson centred in belonging, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Our meetings are typically about a topic recognized officially within that month, and or a social cause that has been dominating the news. February was dedicated on Black History Month and Chinese New Year, and March was an open roundtable on our experience as women, gender and sexual power dynamics, and what feminism means to us.
The #1 “rule” of BEDI lessons and its meetings is to create an open and safe space for productive dialogue. Everyone is on their own path of educating themselves, and it is important to hear other inputs, opinions and experiences to facilitate diverse relationships and view differing perspectives that may only widen our own mindset. Gamma Phi Beta acknowledges that it is well past time to deconstruct the past of greek life, and move forward to a present and future flourishing with inclusiveness, knowledge, and love. Our practice of allyship and coalition work to promote equality, equity and respect is not done out of force, but rather out of recognizing our collective responsibility as members of an organization that was built on racism and exclusion.
We, the members of Gamma Phi Beta, whether as alums or active collegians, must understand our privilege and power to change issues from a systemic perspective. We are educating ourselves and practicing advocacy, both individually and collectively, in order to pave the path of change in Greek life. No statement is enough for us to undo the role fraternities and sororities, including our own, have historically played in contributing to systemic racism. But, starting now is better than doing anything.
- Gamma Phi Beta