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Newsletter > March 2014 > "NPC Chair: “Let Our Voices Be Heard”"
NPC Chair: “Let Our Voices Be Heard”
Tim Burke, Manley Burke, firstname.lastname@example.org
Far too often the important roles that women’s fraternities and sororities have played in securing and protecting the rights of women are forgotten or overlooked. In recognition of the fact that March is Women’s History Month, Jean Mrasek, the Chairman of the National Panhellenic Conference sent the following Chairman’s Message out entitled “Let Our Voices Be Heard.” It serves as a great reminder of the historic role that women’s fraternities and sororities have played, frequently paired with suffragists. In doing so, its recitation of history supports the legal arguments that women’s fraternities and sororities are expressive associations and also provides support for the legal argument that there is an important value to maintaining a single sex status of women’s fraternal organizations, and for that matter, men’s groups as well.
LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD
“We shall someday be heeded, and … everybody will think it was always so, just exactly as many young people think that all the privileges, all the freedom and the enjoyments which woman now possesses always were hers. They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon today has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past.” — Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked together for more than half a century to achieve basic civil rights for women. Upon hearing that her colleague passed away, Anthony wrote that it seemed impossible Stanton’s voice was hushed – the voice that she had known and trusted to help guide her own stance on issues.
The month of March is dedicated to women’s history. This month, let us pay tribute to those who came before us and worked for the rights and privileges that we enjoy today.
- We salute suffragists, such as Anthony and Stanton, who worked tirelessly to achieve voting rights for women.
- We recognize founders of our organizations who stepped up to establish women’s fraternities and sororities at universities during a time when very few women attended college and engaged in academic pursuits. Their courage amid adversity still inspires us today.
- We honor our early leaders who navigated the way to expand the reach of the sorority movement by chartering new chapters on campuses from coast to coast. Their footsteps paved the way for generations to follow.
- We applaud strong female leaders – in business, education, medicine, civic affairs, the armed forces and cultural arts – who model the way and continue pressing forward. Their accomplishments raise us higher.
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) proudly partnered with the recent Take the Lead Challenge Launch event (see www.taketheleadwomen.com), which featured a powerhouse women’s panel designed to inspire women to own their power and close income and leadership gaps. Take The Lead shifts the focus from problems to solutions. As one panelist noted: “Your voice is at the heart of your power.”
Indeed, the power of Panhellenic is unstoppable when we acknowledge that we are a unified coalition of women that can do great things together. We offer a world of support through friendships. We transform lives. We add value. A video about how NPC has added value to women’s lives for 112 years is available at: http://bit.ly/1fCJOJ2.
The NPC tagline is “The voice for sorority advancement.” We are charged to speak openly and loudly about our benefits so that others will hear our message.
It is important that the contributions made by generations of sorority women be shared as part of our remarkable story. As we press onward, we must not forget the voices from our past.
Stand tall. Wear your badge with pride. And let our voices be heard.
Jean M. Mrasek
Particularly given the rash of terrible press about fraternities, not entirely undeserved, telling a positive story both of historical and current events is well worth doing.