Black History Month discussion with Eminent Supreme Chronicler Ben Johnson

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    Throughout Black History Month, Sigma Alpha Epsilon reaffirmed its commitment to our Black members, employees, and volunteers by celebrating and honoring the extensive contributions of African-Americans throughout history. As True Gentlemen, we think of the rights and feelings of others rather than our own, to ensure our brothers feel wanted, welcomed, and engaged for Life.

     

    The Fraternity seeks to ensure that our members understand, respect, and value diversity in its many forms. Furthermore, we strive to be inclusive in our discussions, thoughts, and operations. Earlier this month, we released value statements recommended by the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and approved by Supreme Council to make a clear stance on what the Fraternity values most.

     

    WE VALUE the diversity, equity, and inclusion of ALL visible and invisible unique qualities of an individual regardless of and not limited to race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, gender attribution, age, socio-economic status, and physical ability. Therefore, we seek and revere the equitable inclusion of differences in others, whereby we learn from and grow with each other.

     

    WE VALUE friendship, scholarship, leadership, integrity, and service as our operational principles where a Brother’s “conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies.” Therefore, as we apply these principles, we ensure our focus is on learning, growth, and development, and the honorable, faithful, and selfless service of others for the greater good.

     

    WE VALUE access, acceptance, and advancement consistent with our belief that our Brotherhood “does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity.” Therefore, a Brother acts as a humble servant leader, “who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements.” We welcome all who want to interact with our realm, we preserve the bonds of friendship, and we sustain the lifelong friendships.

     

    WE VALUE justice, fairness, a culture of respect, and the freedom of speech where every Brother “speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own.” Therefore, Brothers take immediate action when they observe anyone being treated unfairly, unjustly, or in a demeaning manner.

     

    WE VALUE loyalty, friendship, honor, and fraternity, as our foundational guiding principles where a Brother “appears well in any company, (and who is) a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.” Therefore, we actively hold each other accountable and responsible for our actions and deeds consistent with the meaning and application of our guiding principles and Creed.

     

    WE VALUE our fraternity and our ritual as the formational practices from which we build a brotherhood that not only respects and believes in diversity, equity, and inclusion, but will ensure we stand for anti-racism. Lastly, honorably, morally, and ethically, we comport ourselves so as to be examples and role models of the standards conveyed in our Creed, The True Gentleman.

     

    As the celebration of Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted to share a special conversation with Ben Johnson (UC-Irvine ’87), SAE’s first African-American member of the Supreme Council. He and David Collier King (IUPUI ’18), Coordinator of Chapter Development, discuss their experiences with SAE, what they envision for the future, and the importance of having tough conversations to ensure the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion are respected and integrated within the SAE community.