SUBSTANCE, CHARACTER
& INFLUENCE

Through our Culture of Care, Phi Sigma Sigma is committed to continuously caring for and empowering our members and encouraging ongoing member development programming that addresses issues of equity, social justice and advocacy.

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

TO OUR BLACK SISTERS:

We see you and we are here to listen.

 

We are here for you, however you need us to be.

 

We have provided a dedicated form and email for all members to share what you need from us or thoughts and feedback on how we can support you and our Black sisters.

We know our work does not end here. Black Lives Matter and together, we have the opportunity to be a part of the systemic change that is long overdue.

Image by Maria Oswalt

OUR RESPONSIBILITY

Our hearts are with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Phi Sigma Sigma does not stand for racism, xenophobia, police brutality, the school to prison pipeline and other forms of social injustice that impact communities of color at disproportionately high rates.  

We are sad and outraged, but that is not enough. We must do better to work towards an equitable and just future for all. 

We want to provide resources for our sisters who are looking to take action individually or as a group to support their communities. 

We encourage sisters and chapters to take action individually or as a group to support their communities. It is important that you thoroughly process, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize to effectively enact change.

 

In addition to the action items below, colleges and universities provide their own services. Identify your campus resources by searching Google using one of the following combinations: 
<university name> + diversity and inclusion
<university name> + student discrimination
<university name> + African American studies
<university name> + racial bias 

COMMUNICATIONS & NEXT STEPS

Prior Communications & Announcements:

Next Steps:​

  • Creating a safe space for groups of sisters/chapters to process and participate in dialogue

  • Providing a platform for affinity groups to connect in a safe space

  • Providing stress management/mental health resources and ongoing check-ins for our archons as they lead their chapters

  • Supporting our advisors and providing guidelines to help facilitate thoughtful conversations and dialogues between members

  • Curating an online library of resources for members to provide education on ways to thoughtfully engage, foster change and support their communities

  • Outreach to chapters with members located in locations of active protests and riots

  • Reading and reviewing suggestions from Black identified members and putting that feedback into action 

  • Continuing to research and learn from best practices provided by organizations such as NAACP

FRATERNITY PROGRAMMING & ACTION

Completed Summer 2020

Facilitated Chapter Dialog: chapter-wide discussion offered to process, reflect and action plan. 
Request a Facilitator

 

Discussions vs. Disagreement: a constructive and productive member-to-member(s) dialog aimed at ensuring members impacted are heard and respected. Request a Facilitator

Affinity Groups Launched: See links below

Policy ChangePhi Sigma Sigma Discontinues Special Consideration for Legacies During Membership Recruitment 

Procedure Change: Membership Selection - Pilot 1 & Pilot 2 Deployed for Fall 2020

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Member & Chapter Guide for Activism

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

  • It is your own responsibility to educate yourself, it is not the responsibility of the Black community. Guide your own education by reading books, articles and studies on the history and effects of injustice, racism and inequity. Learn by listening to webinars, podcasts and watching documentaries and movies.

  • Explore your own identity and learn about your own implicit or explicit biases.

  • Be brave and explore topics that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Discomfort is a part of learning and developing.

  • Highlight and mark areas of interest. Dig deeper and learn the history, origins and background of topics you are not familiar with. 

  • Engage in discussion with your peers, friends and family.

  • Pass on information you’ve learned or found helpful.

 

Is there a resource or education you would like us to share?

Email your suggestions to SCI@phisigmasigma.org.​

ADVOCACY

  • Explore aspects of injustice (criminal justice reform, school to prison system pipeline, voter suppression, implicit bias, immigration, school reform).

  • Connect with established organizations, advocacy groups and nonprofits already engaged in your community. It is important that you utilize and support existing efforts and not duplicate or create competing messages. 

  • Connect with university partners, departments, student organizations and resources to mobilize efforts on your campus. 

  • Recognize your purchasing power and how that can create change in the country. Support Black businesses and creators.

  • Start conversations with your immediate circle of influence, taking into account their level of awareness and openness to the topic. Meet them where they are. 

  • Share what you learn, but make sure you are sharing for the right reasons. We should not be centering our own experiences in the sharing of information.  

DONATIONS

  • Determine national and local opportunities to contribute to the cause/movement. 

  • Research reputable organizations that disclose how the funds will be responsibly allocated. Charitynavigator.org is one resource you can use to check how funds are utilized.

  • Encourage members and community members to donate directly to the existing organization they are passionate about. 

  • While it is important to encourage and inspire others to donate, refrain from seeking credit for your participation. It is not important that you/chapter receive credit or publicity for the donation.  

  • Avoid organizing a fundraiser or promoting the opportunity to donate as a game, competition or chapter fundraiser. There is no reason to pool money together before it is donated. 

  • Efforts to create merchandise, endorse partial proceeds fundraisers or “give back” events, siphon funds away from the cause and limit the overall impact. 

  • Research if the online platform subtracts credit card fees or if the full amount goes to the cause. A greater impact is made when donations are made directly. 

 

A WARNING ABOUT VENMO: collecting money on Venmo may be a risk to members and chapters and is strongly discouraged. Individuals/accounts collecting money may become responsible for income taxes associated with any funds received. You will be personally responsible to the IRS.

POSTING & SHARING ONLINE

  • Repost statements from campus organizations/departments, nonprofits and community activists. Your platform and audience is an opportunity to amplify the voice of others.  

  • Acknowledge your platform and align yourself as a part of the change that is needed. 

  • Denounce the actions or behaviors of racial injustice and the systems that reinforce them. 

  • Commit to education and action. 

  • Recognize Black sisters and community members. Elevate Black voices and organizations that they are sharing. 

  • Honor, using the full names, the victims of racial injustice.

  • Include hashtags and tags to movements and groups such as #blacklivesmatter, #antiracism #justice #[insert names], etc. 

  • Provide action items, resources and next steps to followers.

To request assistance drafting or sharing online content

email SCI@phisigmasigma.org.​

RESPONDING TO FEEDBACK & OPPOSITION

  • Expect that followers may respond and provide feedback or opposition.

  • Deleting or reporting comments or blocking followers closes off your opportunity to engage in dialog. 

  • When someone does not share the same opinion, use a guided and one-on-one conversation to engage in a productive dialog. 

  • Refrain from asking someone to delete their comment or post. Instead, help them to understand how their post or comments are impacting others. 

 

To request assistance responding to online content
or potentially harmful post 
email SCI@phisigmasigma.org.​

VOLUNTEERING & ACTIVISM

  • Identify spaces and organizations offering opportunities to safely demonstrate, support and volunteer. 

  • Create a plan to participate safely including transportation, attire and supplies. In the event you are injured, arrested or sheltered-in-place, you will need to be prepared with snacks, first aid, cash/ID, protective gear, etc. 

  • Observe curfews, restrictions or local directives pertaining to when and where events are allowed to take place.   

  • Check in with the people you attend with. Stay together and identify a “homebase” in the event you are separated. 

  • Be present in the moment. Make time to process and share your experience with others afterward. Thoughtfully use your voice to focus on the impact that needs to be made.  

 

Why Substance, Character & Influence?

"I will make the most of educational opportunities throughout my life and will become a woman of

substance, character and influence."

 

A strategic framework for exploring racial justice and educating members. 

Substance:  The objective is to build racial equity awareness and analytical capacity across our organization, fostering an understanding of key concepts, such as institutional and systemic racism, implicit bias, racial equity and multiracial systemic solutions. Shared knowledge and conceptual clarity helps normalize explicit and constructive conversations about race. 

Character: The objective is to equip members, leaders, staff and partners with the skills, tools, strategies, resources and relationships to be effective leaders and advocates in the fight for racial justice in education. What are we doing with the understanding and shared knowledge gained through "substance" programming?

Influence: The objective is to engage and activate members, leaders and stakeholders in on the-ground efforts to combat institutional racism and advance racial justice. Some actions are external — organizing to advance changes on our campuses and in our communities — while others are internal — implementing equitable practices that change the
organization's work. What are we expecting and asking of those around us? How are we leveraging our information gained, practiced and modeled actions to influence the community around us?

National Education Association; Human and Civil Rights - Racial Justice in Education - Resource Guide 2018

Thank you TO OUR DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION CONTRIBUTORS:

  • Dr. Michelle Castro - Delta Kappa Chapter at Florida International University

  • Emily DeCarlo – Pi Chapter at Syracuse University

  • Hanna Estupinan - Epsilon Omicron Chapter at St. John's University

  • Liz Glaser - Beta Upsilon Chapter at American University

  • Dr. Meghan Grace - Epsilon Delta Chapter at Chapman University

  • Kayla Green - Delta Eta Chapter at University of Delaware

  • Nirvana Habash - Beta Upsilon Chapter at American University

  • Kayla Hendrickson - Iota Delta Chapter at Central Connecticut State University

  • Nicole McKelvey - Epsilon Pi Chapter at Southern Connecticut State University

  • Samantha McLean – Kappa Chapter at The George Washington University

  • Kelsea Médard, JD – Pi Chapter at Syracuse University

  • Katlyn Michaels - Delta Chi Chapter at Shippensburg University

  • Dr. Kim Monteaux De Freitas - Theta Alpha Chapter at Northern Michigan University

  • Melanie Morris - Epsilon Omicron Chapter at St. John's University

  • Dr. Alicia Scott - Beta Psi Chapter at University of Florida

  • Kristina Scott, JD - Beta Psi Chapter at University of Florida

  • Stefanie Scovill - Theta Alpha Chapter at Northern Michigan University

  • Francesca Sheedy - Zeta Zeta Chapter at Quinnipiac University

  • Hannah Torrance - Epsilon Delta Chapter at Chapman University

  • Melissa Urrunaga - Epsilon Sigma Chapter at Virginia Wesleyan University

  • Emily Wagner Uleau - Delta Chi Chapter at Shippensburg University

  • Kerry Wallaert - Theta Alpha Chapter at Northern Michigan University

  • Jacquis Watters - Epsilon Kappa Chapter at Hofstra University 

  • Jamie Wilson - Gamma Zeta Chapter at University of Rhode Island 

  • Dr. Thea Zunick - Zeta Pi Chapter at The College of New Jersey 

 

Please email SCI@phisigmasigma.org to learn more about how to
contribute or get involved in the priority initiatives of this group.  ​

INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS

(410) 799-1224

Phi Sigma Sigma, Inc.

8178 Lark Brown Road - Suite 202

Elkridge, MD 21075

Emergency Line: (410) 530-1913

PhiSigHQ@phisigmasigma.org

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© 2020 by Phi Sigma Sigma, Inc.