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.
In March 2021, Delta Gamma partnered with Social Responsibility Speaks (SRS) to aid our organization in developing and implementing strategies for cultivating the truest sense of social responsibility and best qualities of character and the most equitable membership experience at all levels of the organization, including staff.
During the past six months, SRS worked to adapt the assessment recommendations through the lens of a membership organization. Our next step in our advancement is sharing them with our membership.
We are utilizing this initial season ahead for continued, transparent communication and dynamic conversations as we prepare for the next season of brainstorming and consideration in how these recommendations best support the growth of the Fraternity as outlined in the 2020-2023 Fraternity Strategic Forecast.
Executive Offices staff are launching efforts to field interest, within the membership and with Friends of the Anchor, to serve on committees for these opportunities of growth and development of our organization. Once committees are established, the discussion and strategizing phase will begin. If you have interest in serving on one of these committees, please fill out this application.
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:
In June of 2019 Council endorsed the Positional Statement on Contextualization:
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.