Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The purpose of AOII is to carry into the world a spirit of love. Our organization was founded on values including integrity and dignity and we stand for inspiring ambition in all we do. AOII’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion comes from the understanding that a diverse sisterhood, grounded in unique perspectives and experiences, is one the most important cornerstones of our organization.
Recognizing that there is work to be done to affirm our commitment, the Fraternity has taken a number of steps to work towards creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. Completed, current, and upcoming projects related to DEI initiatives will be shared on this page.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education Work Group
Work Group Members
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education (DEIE) Work Group consists of 13 volunteers who are supported by three staff/volunteer liaisons. This work group represents a cross-section of experiences and backgrounds, and the members will be charged with gathering perspectives and insight from across our AOII sisterhood.
- Jennifer Bowers, Chair – Kappa Omega (U of Kentucky), 2010
- Emily Axsom – Beta Phi (Indiana U), 2018
- Radha Chaddah – Phi Chi (U of Chicago), 1988
- Elizabeth (Elle) Dworkin – Omega Sigma (Oklahoma State U), 2018
- Ruth Frias – Sigma Chi (Hartwick College), 2013
- Christina Ganotakis – Gamma Chi (Carleton U), 2017
- Shannon Keeny – Epsilon Chi (Elon U), 1998
- Ileana Lopez-Martinez – Phi Chi (U of Chicago), 2017
- Gabby Rivera – Upsilon (U of Washington), 2015
- Jessica Scott – Kappa Chi (Northwestern State U), 2012
- Heather Stanton – Pi Alpha (U of Louisville), 1996
- Summer Steib – Delta Beta (U of Louisiana at Lafayette), 1995
- Shaill Vasavada – Pi Delta (U of Maryland), 2013
- Leah Horton, Education Committee Liaison
- Jessica Li, Headquarters Staff Liaison
- Koren Phillips, Executive Board Liaison
Work Group Charge
The purpose of AOII is to carry into the world a spirit of love. Our organization was founded on values including integrity and dignity and we stand for inspiring ambition in all we do. AOII’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion comes from the understanding that a diverse sisterhood, grounded in unique perspectives and experiences, is one the most important cornerstones of our organization. Recognizing that these words are meaningless unless we take tangible action, the Fraternity is committed to creating opportunities for reflection, discussion, and education. We are committed to equipping our members with the skillset and tools to create meaningful action against racial injustice, implicit and explicit biases, and bigotry, both within our own organization and in the world around us. To this end, we have created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Education Work Group charged with identifying areas for improvement, creating educational resources, and recommending initiatives and Fraternity policy changes to the Executive Board. While this work group represents a cross-section of experiences and backgrounds, the members will be charged with gathering perspectives and insight from across our AOII sisterhood. The work group will be grounded in the following broad definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion:
Diversity represents the range of human differences, including but not limited to personality, age, life experience, race/ethnicity, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, caste, tribe, ability, communications styles, and religion. It is the representation of these varied identities and differences both collectively and as individuals.
Equity seeks to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access.
Inclusion is actively and intentionally valuing multiple layers of human differences and viewing these differences as strengths. Inclusion is the degree to which sisters of all identities – whether visible or not – are able to be authentic and to feel safe and respected. It is the creation of a culture of belonging where no one person can or should be called upon to represent an entire community.
The AOII Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education Work Group will:
- Listen to our membership’s experiences and perspectives by conducting focus groups, reviewing submissions in the “Share Your Voice” survey and participating in other opportunities to connect with sisters; partner with the Executive Board Membership Connection Committee to integrate these activities into the overall Membership Connection Plan
- Analyze trends in the policy and programmatic suggestions provided by members through the above vehicles to inform decisions and to educate our sisters regarding DEI topics and approaches
- Based on the data-driven trends, make recommendations regarding policy and procedure changes at all levels of the Fraternity
- Collaborate with volunteers and professional staff to create educational curriculum and resources to assist chapter leaders, volunteers, and members at all levels of the organization to:
- Support the creation of spaces for difficult dialogue
- Develop an understanding of implicit and explicit biases
- Help members understand privilege and how it can be leveraged to stand up for the oppressed
- Guide members in furthering their advocacy efforts
Current Actions & Initiatives
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education Work Group is excited to host opportunities for members to share their experiences and opinions about diversity and inclusion in AOII through a series of focus groups that will be held from October-December. Each session is limited in numbers to focus on diversity and inclusion and ensure that everyone’s experiences and opinions are heard. Please see the links to register for specific sessions below. Members are limited to sign up for only one session on a first come, first served basis.
Collegiate Focus Groups
Friday, November 20, 12:00-1:00 PM Eastern Time
Alumnae Focus Groups
Monday, November 30, 5:00-6:00 PM Pacific Time
Sunday, November 22, 12:00-1:00 pm Eastern Time
Monday, November 23, 5:00-6:00 PM Pacific Time
Tuesday, December 1, 6:00-7:00 pm Eastern Time
Wednesday, December 2, 7:00-8:00 pm Central Time
Friday, December 4, 12:00-1:00 pm Eastern Time
Note: Attendees will receive approval/confirmation of their time prior to the session.
DEI Culture Survey
The DEIE Work Group will be creating an administering a survey for members to provide feedback on organizational culture surrounding DEI beginning in November 2020.
Review of Constitution & Bylaws
The DEIE Work Group is reviewing the Constitution and Bylaws and preparing proposals for Convention 2021 changes related to DEI.
Completed Actions & Initiatives
- June 3, 2020 – AOII volunteers and staff implemented an action plan to create a Work Group; Align, Educate & Participate resources shared on AOII’s website
- June 9, 2020 – Executive Board voted to remove the preferential treatment given to legacies during recruitment
- August 2020 – Work Group and charge approved by XB
- August 2020 – Creating a More Anti-Racist Organization training held for staff and key volunteers
- June 2020 – Diversity Policy updated by Executive Board
- October 2020 – A Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion collegiate chapter officer was created for election for the 2021 calendar year. Collegiate chapter leaders received this information during an October 2020 election training.