Delta Gamma launched our contextualization efforts when we published the winter 2019 issue of the ANCHORA and a new positional statement on contextualization. Since that time, we have continued to partner with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity to identify opportunities for improvement related to belonging and equity within our organization. Throughout the second half of 2020, volunteers and staff worked closely with Kirwan to conduct an equity assessment, which is a strategic research-based evaluation that examines Delta Gamma’s policies, practices, traditions, norms and interpersonal relationship dynamics through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Delta Gamma is focused on the process of examining aspects of our history using the framework of contextualization, which argues it is better to educate and contextualize than to ignore or erase. Our goal is to engage the issues as experts and explore “what actually happened” when evaluating aspects of our history that have caused harm and conflict with our values.
Specifically, contextualization is an exercise to explore instances when our history has run afoul with the shared, transcendent values of our organization. For Delta Gamma, this process includes evaluating and clarifying the historical context of an object, event or behavior through three vantage points:
Delta Gamma supports engaging in organizational contextualization efforts. Delta Gamma acknowledges the importance of exploring uncomfortable aspects of our history and examining these with historical authenticity and candor. We commit to providing an open and honest dialogue regarding our full history, even those aspects that may not portray our organization in the best light.
In our winter 2019 ANCHORA cover story titled “Racism, Bigotry & Delta Gamma,” we exposed and took ownership of the institutional racism and systemic discrimination that has influenced Delta Gamma.
Exploring and understanding our past is an important step but we must also understand that incidents of racism and bias are still occurring within Delta Gamma. As an organization we need to also gain an understanding of how current policies, procedures, ceremonies and interpersonal climate that govern Delta Gamma shape the experiences of our members.
The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity has conducted a four-part equity and cultural climate assessment of Delta Gamma, aimed at uncovering biases and barriers to help us achieve an equitable and inclusive organization.
Ultimately, the goal is to put Article II into practice by acknowledging our past, identifying and removing barriers and bias, working toward a more inclusive future. This work will be ongoing. As this evolves, we will continue to develop and execute new initiatives.
If you have questions about these efforts, please email DGcontextualization@deltagamma.org.