A message from Grand President Tom Jelke:
These past weeks have been difficult and heartbreaking. To our Black brothers and brothers of color, I know that I cannot possibly understand what you are going through. I acknowledge the pain you must be feeling right now and have felt for many years. I want you to know that you matter. Black Lives Matter. I see you, I love you with all my heart, I commit to listen to you, and I commit to help take action. Our brotherhood is stronger because of you, and to be silent on the systemic injustices you face further deepens the problem.
To all brothers, remember that our cardinal principle of Brotherly Love calls us to, “with true hearts, … be shields of defense to those less able to bear their burdens. That we may aid our Brothers, let us bind our hearts with ties of fraternal love, for in unity there is strength.”
We must also extend Brotherly Love to those beyond our circle. My heart is with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many Black men and women who were wrongfully killed before them. The status quo and systems of racial injustice that pervade our nation are wrong and harmful.
I urge us all to not settle for simply having our Red Door open for students of color to experience membership, but rather to walk through that door, to extend arms in welcome … to do more — to do better — to make our fraternity more equitable and inclusive and to celebrate our brothers’ experiences.
Living up to our Cardinal Principles of Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love means standing against and confronting racism, bigotry and hate. To be a SigEp is to be dedicated to anti-racist practices and education. We have supported that in theory; our aim is to make it a reality. As Balanced Leaders for the World’s Communities, it is our responsibility to take an active role to work against injustice and to help create change.
First, we must listen and educate ourselves.
In 2019, the National Board of Directors asked the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force to provide recommendations for how SigEp can meaningfully improve our resources, environment, structures, and communication in this critical area. Today, we ask for you to add your perspective to help us make those improvements.
We want you to share your thoughts, ideas, resources and questions with us. We also hope that you will share your own story and experiences. Please click here to share your perspective. Your thoughts and feedback are critical to that work and to helping us listen, learn and take action.
While the timing of this message comes on the heels of protests incited by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery … you might ask, after this moment, will we still care? Will this still matter? Yes. We cannot allow this to just be another hashtag moment. We have work to do in our beloved Sigma Phi Epsilon and in our communities, and we are committed.
In Brotherly Love,