I am pleased to share that the Society is continuing to make progress in terms of its social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusivity initiatives.
During the 2021 National Leadership Conference (NLC), which was held exclusively online, the members of the O∆K Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Committee made a formal presentation on essential qualities for leadership in the 21st century. In addition, there were five other presentations that covered topics such as:
- using diversity to promote equitable practices in college and beyond,
- lessons from LGBTQ leaders,
- leading through Universal Design for Learning (UDL),
- creating learning campus-wide atmospheres that serve all students, and,
- focusing circle efforts on social justice.
The 2022 National Leadership Conference will be held June 2-5, in Lexington, Kentucky. I hope you will take the opportunity to attend and perhaps present at a future conference. Several of the DEI Committee’s newest members became re-engaged with O∆K through their participation in the national conference. Details about the 2022 NLC may be found here.
Moneque Walker-Pickett, J.D, Ph.D.
National Diversity Officer
The Society began to collect extensive demographic data for the first time in its history. O∆K has also been collecting this optional information as part of the membership application process since July 1, 2021. The data are only available to the National Headquarters staff (individual circles and members cannot see the information) for evaluation purposes. Through the end of December 2021, approximately 25% of the Society’s new initiates reported that they were members of historically marginalized and underrepresented racial or ethnic populations.
This year’s scholarship recipients well-represented the diversity found in our organization’s membership. In addition to the two students who received Key Fund Scholarships for students from historically marginalized and underrepresented racial and ethnic populations, two other students received the scholarships that were designated for students who identify as LGBTQ+. Six additional students from diverse backgrounds were also awarded scholarships from O∆K.
I was pleased to help present the 2021 Andristine M. Robinson Champion Award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity and the Community Commitment Award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity during December’s National Virtual Awards Ceremony. Kent Hallman (Cumberland University, 2021) and the Celebrating Voice Program at Cumberland University were recognized with the Robinson Award. Darlene Xiomara Rodriguez (Florida International University, 1993) received the Community Commitment Award. Nominations for both of these honors are now open, and I encourage you to identify individuals, circles, campuses, and programs deserving of this recognition.
In the last 18 months, 24 students have received the gift of membership through the generosity of our lifetime members. More than 15 of these students were from historically marginalized and underrepresented populations. Fundraising efforts continue to support this and other diversity, equity, and inclusivity efforts within Omicron Delta Kappa.
Finally, the Talladega College Circle was installed on April 21, 2021. This new circle’s formation was supported by a grant from the Boulé Foundation, which aims to expand O∆K’s presence at HBCU institutions. If you are involved with an HBCU institution and would like to explore the possibility of establishing a circle, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Omicron Delta Kappa will continue to make strides to be an even greater diverse, equitable, just, and inclusive organization. If you have an interest in getting further involved, please let me know. We welcome the participation of our lifetime members in the operations of the Society.
Yours in O∆K,
Moneque Walker-Pickett, J.D., Ph.D.
National Diversity Officer
University of Miami Circle, 1994