A proudly independent GreekBy Leigh Terry | 03/28/2016 8:41am
I have hundreds of sisters on this campus right now, but I have thousands more if you count every woman of my chapter who has come before me, thousands more if you count every woman who has pledged herself to a sisterhood on this campus that happens to not bear my letters and millions more if you count my sisters across the country.
I love each and every one of them. As one of my sisters who just got an internship with a Fortune 500 company said to me, I’ll “go a mile for any sister of mine who moves an inch for herself.” I will tutor them in economics and the LSAT. I will proof their essays for nationally-recognized scholarships. I will publish their acts of bravery in these opinions pages, and I’ll shelter them in my house if they’re scared of the backlash. I believe in them and will be ferocious and relentless on their behalf.
Yet, for all this tough talk and pride, I cried yesterday walking across the Quad just because I saw a young black NPC sorority woman chatting happily with one of her white sisters. With Denny Chimes ringing hymns in my ears, I cried with joy and an overwhelming sense of the surreal.
It was surreal because her simple act of conversation, in her srat-lettered t-shirt, would have been unimaginable three years ago. I cried for all the women and men who fought for her to have this conversation, this t-shirt. I watched so many stay up late at night, defy their organizations and their confidentiality contracts, talk to the media and campus power brokers and stand up for change. In the nostalgic haze of retrospection, it’s easy to venerate their courage and forget their struggle.
I’m grudgingly okay with the young women I saw not knowing about this. However, I am not okay with them forgetting the spirit that got us here and forgiving the group that stood in their way.
The group that stood and still stands in the way of progress in the greek system has a name so designed to intimidate that I refuse to give it voice in this page. Instead, I’ll call them, “the Cookie Monster” because all they really want is to keep all the cookies of power to themselves. They have a voracious appetite and, as shown by recent scandals, are completely unable to self-regulate. I don’t want young women to be fooled by their recent support for progressive platforms and candidates without a Y chromosome. The Cookie Monster doesn’t love women or minorities, it just loves power and control and will use whoever helps them keep control.
The spirit students who fought for integration stood for is not a word often associated with greeks: independence. Greek students who fight for diversity and fairness in our system are independent. We stand for our sisters’ and brothers’ hopes and dreams by standing apart from their singular voice.
I am a loving greek sister. Fiercely faithful to my family – my big, grand big, littles and grand littles – and fiercely true to my values. I am greek and independent. I hope one day my sisters and brothers will join me.
Leigh Terry is a senior majoring in economics and political science. She is the Opinions Editor of The Crimson White.