Most people aren’t strangers to the everyday concept of a sorority. Everybody has seen at least one movie or TV show that features them. However, most sororities featured on television and movies feature blonde girls with blue eyes, the poster girl for White America. It’s unknown to most people that an entire community of Latina Sororities exists. Sororities that conduct themselves in two languages, sororities that feature a wide array of skin colors, sororities that place orgullo high on their values.
Latina sororities are not a new thing. The first Latina sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, started in 1975. Since then over 23 Latina founded sororities have emerged. These sisterhoods may all have different names colors, mascots and values, some may only be Latina founded and others are Latina exclusive but they all have various things in common. These sisterhoods were created to give other women a chance, to be role models for a next generation of leaders. Sisterhoods that can relate to and understand what minority women are going through in college. These sororities are politically active. They place community service high on their list of pillars. Above all else they are proud of their culture. Culture, first and foremost, is what separates these sororities from all others. They are a collection of minority females in college striving to make a difference.
Some of the biggest in the nation include Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Incorporated , Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Incorporated and Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Incorporated. Other are regionally based, such as Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority. Members of Latina sororities come in all colors and sizes; some speak dual languages and some do not. Veronica Duenas, a Senior at the University of Texas at Austin and a sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated, may not be bilingual in Spanish and English, but that has never taken away from her experiences within her sisterhood. ” My sisters are my sisters regardless of the language I speak,” she says.
Some of these sororities, though founded Latina, have turned into multicultural organizations.
Jelisa Jay Robinson, a Junior at the University of Texas at Austin studying Diaspora Studies, is an African American sister of Kappa Delta Chi Sorority Incorporated, a Latina founded but not Latina exclusive sorority. She never feels like an outcast because of her skin tone. In fact, she says that her sisters have always embraced her with open arms and never once looked at her any differently. Robinson decided to join Kappa Delta Chi not because of its Latina roots, but because of its values. ” It wasn’t that they were Latinas, it was that they were beautiful, strong and wonderful people. This was important to me,” she recalls.
These sororities are sisterhoods just like every other sorority, but they also play by a high set of rules. They don’t take being a minority in college lightly and they work hard for their accomplishments. Just because they aren’t found in the mainstream doesn’t mean they don’t try to make a difference. They care very little about the recognition they receive and more on the change that they accomplish.
“Being a Gamma means I’m able to surround myself with inspiration and role models. Seeing what my sisters all around the nation have accomplished inspires me to have no fear in going after my dreams. It doesn’t matter where I come from; I can be successful and I know that I will have the unconditional love and support of my sisters,” says Iliana Gomez, a Junior studying Corporate Communication and sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Incorporated.