Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are Essential to our Purpose

In June 2020, in the wake of the George Floyd murder and the Black Lives Matter movement, Omega Phi Alpha committed to doing better in living out our core value related to diversity and inclusion. The Board of Directors and national leadership team recognize that the diversity of our members and the communities we serve must be reflected in every aspect of our organization. 

Our Approach

With feedback from our members, we created a new position on our national team and created a Request for Proposal (RFP) for engaging an outside DEI expert to evaluate the current state of diversity and inclusion within the sorority. After reviewing the responses to the RFP, Jessica Sharp of Sharp Brain Consulting was selected. The scope of work that Jessica created was multifaceted and included:

  1. An organizational audit
  2. A framework and implementation plan
  3. Training sessions for the Board of Director and Operational Leadership 
  4. Training sessions for members and chapter leadership

Throughout 2020 and early 2021, Jessica engaged in the organizational audit by creating a survey to gauge member’s feelings on diversity and inclusion within Omega Phi Alpha that was made available to all members on OPAportal and communicated via email and social media over the course of a few months. We received 238 responses to the survey. Additionally, Jessica held focus groups for actives and alumni to share their experiences with Jessica in more detail which 21 members participated in. 

Jessica joined several meetings of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to share her perspective and offer guidance for the committee. She also presented information to the Board of Directors and answered their questions about the future of diversity and inclusion within the organization. Jessica assisted with position descriptions and other items to ensure they met the spirit of diversity and inclusion. 

Additional Efforts

During this time, the Board of Directors worked together to define Omega Phi Alpha’s core values and make clear what they mean to us. 

The defining statement for the core value of diversity and inclusion is: “We embrace the diversity of our members through a spirit of inclusion. We believe there is strength in diversity and we value the individual differences, experiences, and viewpoints that both make us unique and challenge us. We strive to create an accessible and welcoming space for people of all races, ethnicities, genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, abilities and appearances, religions, and other identities.” 

The communications team made Anti-Discrimination and Allyship Resources available to all members of the organization and continues to accept submissions to this list. Additionally, the communications team worked to gather diverse voices to contribute to the blog on topics that we haven’t addressed in the past including inclusion as it relates to mental health, accessibility, accommodations, and autism. We encourage our members to submit a blog post for consideration by using this link

Framework for the Future

In June 2021, Jessica Sharp prepared her findings and recommendations in a report that you can view here. Based on her findings, the sorority decided to move forward with forming a full Diversity and Inclusion team at the national level. The positions that make up this team are as follows:

You can click each of the above positions to learn more about the intention for each position. 

This team is currently working on actions related to the recommendations that came from the Sharp Brain Consulting report including the ability to submit a request anonymously to the national team for an accommodation, creating a toolkit for chapters to begin and sustain dialogue equity and actions that chapters can take to make their spaces more inclusive, and distributing information about allyship and advocacy. 

We have continued working with Jessica and intend to engage her for some workshops on belonging, bias, empathy over the next year. Additionally, the Board of Directors allocated funds to hire two Chapter Health Specialists in June to support chapters in need of immediate additional assistance. This effort has proven to be very successful and will continue through June 2022. 

The Diversity and Inclusion team is looking for members who are interested in joining the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and invites you to submit an interest form. Anyone who expresses interest will be invited to join to the committee.