By Amisha Temal, Staff Writer
On Feb. 16, 2023, Post hosted its second Multicultural Greek Exposition of the academic year. Fourteen Latinx and Black fraternities and sororities were present. The Inclusion and Equity Council (IEC) brought the event to life. The IEC is dedicated to upholding Post’s diversity, inclusion and equity values.
“This is an exposition that involves many historically |Black and Latinx organizations. They are coming to share their history and perform a stroll, a step, or a march. Those are actions performed by these specific sororities and fraternities that indicate who they are. They can tell a story. It depends on each organization as to how they take a step. Mainly they are perceived as performance and dance. But there is a lot of meaning behind them,” Promise and Diversity coach Princess Henderson said.
In multicultural Greek organizations, members have their signature movements such as strolls and steps. Strolling symbolizes the bond that members within a Greek organization have. It is characterized as a synchronized dance or performance. Its establishment is accredited to Alpha Kappa Alpha, who strolled for the first time in the 1920s. From there, many other African American greek organizations began creating their own strolls. It is heavily linked to South African culture, dating back to the 19th century.
Stepping is another dance performed by historically Black sororities and fraternities. It involves synchronized stomping and moving to the sound they create. Performers clap their hands, slap parts of their bodies and perform other specific movements. Stepping gained popularity among Black Greek organizations in the 1940s and 1950s. The dance took inspiration from performances by musical groups like The Temptations and The Four Tops.
“At the event, each organization will have time to speak on their history. They will tell you about the philanthropy, and why they joined and then will perform. At the end of the event, you will have the chance to meet them,” Henderson said. “If you are interested in any of the attending organizations, you will be able to scan a QR code to let them know. If the organizations receive a lot of interest, they will be invited back to LIU to table or do more activities and programs so that people can eventually join. Multicultural organizations at LIU Post would be extremely beneficial. Not everyone wants to join the groups offered here, but are forced to since they don’t see a sorority or fraternity that they necessarily resonate with. Instead of getting exactly what they want, many people have to settle.”
Students feel that fostering a diverse and inclusive environment is increasingly pivotal in educational settings, and helps students grow to be more well-rounded and open-minded.
“I’m one of the only Black people and sometimes the only, black person in all of my classes, and it’s uncomfortable at times,” freshman art major Amor Galara said.
Other students agree, and feel that exposure to people with different backgrounds allows students to expand or accommodate their existing knowledge of cultures and societies.
“It’s always nice to see yourself and others with similar backgrounds represented,” freshman major Allison Elliott said. “Post may claim to have diversity, but we never feel the diversity when we’re the only people of color in a class or in any other spaces and our backgrounds aren’t being acknowledged or seen when the rest of the country, maybe even world, is supposedly so focused on acknowledging the existence and important contributions of POC and other groups.”
Students feel that those in diverse colleges are able to formulate a more accurate and positive paradigm towards different groups of people through friendship and collaboration.
“To prepare for this event, I had to reach out to all the Long Island chapters for all the organizations coming. We contacted a lot of alumni that were at our last expo. Of course, we had to contact Krasnoff theater and the Tilles center to make sure we have the space. We worked with Promise to make sure we have the resources and manpower to do it. A lot of the organizations performing used to be here. These groups want to come back. People just have to be interested. All we need is five eligible undergraduate members with at least a 2.5 GPA,” junior veterinarian tech major Kaitlyn Cucolo, the Greek Chair of the IEC, said about the event.
Cucolo hopes the event will lead to more inclusion for these organizations.
“This event is for D9s and NALFOS (National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations). The D9s, or divine nines, are the Black sororities and fraternities. The NALFOS are the Hispanic and Latinx sororities and fraternities. Hopefully, we can bring them to this campus. We can revive them at this campus or create a new chapter. SUNY Old Westbury, St. Johns, Stony Brook and LIU Brooklyn are coming, and some other schools. Many of the organizations coming are graduates trying to revive their chapters,” Cucolo said. “The bond created when you join a sorority or frat can’t be broken. Especially with multicultural ones. You are with people who can actually relate to you and know what you go through as a person of color. Know what it’s like navigating the world we live in today. It’s so important, especially in today’s political and social climate.”
The first organization to perform was the Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity (LSU). LSU was founded in 1979 when Latino students at Rutgers University felt that they were not receiving enough attention in order to succeed in their studies. Students protested the insufficient attention from the university by taking over university facilities and participating in campus sit-ins. When students met up, they shared ideas and planned the creation of an organization that would cater to the Latino student population. Weeks later, the LSU fraternity was founded. The motto for the fraternity is “Latinos Siempre Unidos,” or Latinos Always United in English.
The Nu Omega Chi Fraternity had an upbeat strolling performance. The organization was founded on Feb. 8, 2013 at Brooklyn College.. The organization’s four core values are honor, loyalty, respect and tradition. They would like to uplift their community, promote brotherhood and achieve nothing but greatness. Their philanthropy is sickle cell disease awareness. As a predominantly Black organization, they take initiative in informing people in their community about this disease that occurs in 1 in 365 Black or African American births.
Following LSU’s performance was Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha (SIA). SIA was founded on Sept. 29, 1990 in New York by 13 Latina college students. Their mission is to uphold the goals set forth by their 13 founding mothers. They pledge to create bonds amongst each other as sisters and abide by respect, trust, communication, professionalism and accountability. They also focus on spreading awareness of Latino culture. Through the bonds of sisterhood, they develop leadership, scholarship, sportsmanship and friendship.
Nicole Calderon of SIA spoke after the event.
“I’m a sister or Hermana of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha Incorporada. We are a Latina-based organization, but not exclusive. We welcome all women. We love to support women academically, professionally and socially. One thing about SIA that I’ll say brought me to it is that I felt like I could be myself,” Calderon said. “I’m this weirdo goofball and they accept me and it was a place where I felt like it was okay to be different. Like look at us, we’re all different. We have a sister from NYIT Old Westbury whose family is from the Philippines. We have sisters from Latin American countries, Haiti and China. It’s so amazing to see us all come together.”
The MALIK fraternity returned to campus and participated at the Greek Exposition. Their Founders, referred to as Crowns, grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, a time in which people of color in the United States and abroad began to overtly express the pride they had in their race and culture. The organization was heavily influenced by Malcolm X’s work and activism.
The Phi Beta Sigma fraternity was established in 1914 at Howard University in Washington D.C. It was created by three male students who thought an organization that truly exemplified the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship and service was necessary at their campus. They believed that members should be perceived by their morals instead of their economic status, family background, race, skin tone or texture of hair. The organization emphasizes the importance of giving back to its community through service.
If you are interested in joining and bringing a Multicultural Greek Organization to Post, you can communicate with Princess Henderson or Gabrielle Barone, the fraternity/sorority coordinator.
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