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A Powerful Force for Peace and Understanding
What are you doing to create Change?
From the Editor
Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Incorporated Executive Office 125 E. Zeller St., Ste. D & E North Liberty, IA 52317 1-888-486-BETA
It was early on a Friday morning... April 5th, 1996. The day I went from being a mere moral to becoming a tall Lambda Beta Man. There were only single letter chapters back then. The P-list was still pretty new, as was email for that matter. My chapter brothers left that night for Founders in Michigan as the fraternity was celebrating its 10th anniversary. It was a huge milestone and we were loving fraternal life. If you would have told me that day, that 15 years later, I would be helping the fraternity celebrate its 25th anniversary, as the Editor-in-Chief of El Iluminador, I would have laughed at you. I could not imagine myself being a chapter president, let alone being involved at a national level. I could not have been more wrong. My story is one of thousands of stories spread across 25 years of Brotherhood. From the first initiation at Danforth Chapel, to the latest initiation that is probably occurring as you are reading this, each Brother’s story is unique. Each Brother’s journey is what makes Sigma Lambda Beta the powerful organization we are today. Since the day I crossed, my Brothers have been at each and every transition of my adult life; the day I left for the military, the day I got married, the birth of my children, and the death of my father. They have been there through my successes and my failures. They have never left my side. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve fought, and we’ve overcome. That’s what being a Lambda Beta man is all about.
Carlos Frevert, Editor-in-Chief Joaquin, Managing Editor Ricky Cortez, Copy Editor Shingi Mavima, Copy Editor Irving Roman, Design Editor
Pablo Saba Benjamin Cartagena Bryan Rojas Christopher Temblador
As we begin the journey into our next 25 years of history, El Iluminador also begins its own transition. I will be moving on from my role as Editorin-Chief and passing the torch onto Brother Ricardo Cortez. Over the past three years, we have built a solid foundation for a sustainable publication. I have every faith in Brother Ricardo to take our work to the next level and evolve El Iluminador into the premier fraternal publication that it deserves to be. I cannot express enough my gratitude to all the contributors and editors of El Iluminador. Without the hard work and dedication of each and every one one of them, we would not be where we are today. All of you have my sincerest thanks. It has been an absolutely humbling experience to serve the Brotherhood in this capacity. I want to thank everyone for their continued support of El Iluminador, and I look forward to seeing some great things from the new team in the future. Carlos Frevert Editor-in-Chief
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In This Issue
4 6 8 11 12 14 16 17 18
SLB: A Powerful Force for Understanding Slacktivism The Neo-Manifesto Theory on Beta Extinction Lies of Our Presidents A Warrior’s Creed BETACON 2012 How to Say It Couch Epiphany
Find us Online
National Website sigmalambdabeta.com Twitter twitter.com/sigmalambdabeta Facebook facebook.com/slb1986 El Iluminador Website eliluminador.com YouTube youtube.com/sigmalambdabeta
All photos are used under a Creative Commons agreement and attributed accordingly. Photos not attributed are either clip art or photos taken by the editors. Spring 2011 • el iluminador • 3
“Bettering our community, country, and the world” seems like a vicious undertaking that
might re q u i re a h u g e e ff o r t o n t h e behalf of those undergoing the immense task. Sure , n o t h ing worth a n y thing is just given to us but maybe the enormity of the task at hand is being blown out of proportion. Yes, we do live in a world where it seems to be the case that hate, war, and all other sorts of negativity run rampant. And yes, it does also seem that these social ailments seem to have affected an astronomical proportion of our world’s population. However, if you ask me, it’s the little things that make a huge differ-
ence at the end of the day. What I mean by that is, taking advantage of the many opportunities life hands you to make this Earth a better place to inhabit along with the 6 billion other people with whom we share it. Now, I don’t mean to say this in an elitist tone or anything, but if you are a Brother of the most honorable Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, then you most likely have had too many of these opportunities to count. Each day that has passed since I have had the honor of calling myself a Brother of this Fraternity, my worldly outlook on life and just about everything else has changed. This is because each day has provided me with an opportunity to open my eyes and expand my understanding of those who might look, speak, eat, pray, and think differently than I do. As I am sure you are well aware, cultural awareness plays a huge role in this Fraternity, yet many of us don’t realize how this founding principle has an immense capacity for positive change in the world. Before we get there, though, we must start at the basis: Brotherhood. For those Brothers who have had the fortune of having Chapters as diverse as the one I crossed into, you should definitely understand from where I am coming. As an associate member I was placed in a group of 6 determined men who were all as similar to each other as the 32-flavors Baskin Robins boasts; a Palestinian/Honduran, Gujarati-Indian, Filipino, Colombian, and two African-American/Caucasians. Now picture the possible differences among us that were present in just about everything that makes us human. That’s
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5 different religions, 7 different languages, 6 different places of birth, and a combined mixture of 10 different ethnic/racial cultures jam-packed into a single unit. Now as we underwent our journey across the pits of disunity, you could only fathom the degree to which my eyes were opened. Naturally, as one grows close to another, one is exposed to the different dimensions of the other’s way of life. This, of course, was inevitable given the rampant dissimilarities that existed among us. In the end, what resulted was 6 minds uniting into a single state of understanding.
A Powerful Force for Peace and Understanding
by Pablo Saba
In search of the brotherhood between the six of us, we learned so much more about not only ourselves but the different parts of the world from where we came. I realized that upon becoming your Brother’s keeper, you have also adopted the struggles he faces- whether he is an undocumented Brother who fears being asked for his “papers,” a Japanese Brother whose family remains in peril in the aftermath of a natural disaster, or a Libyan brother whose country people are in the midst of an armed struggle for justices and equality. In living up to our creed and to better not just our communities or our country, but the world, we must take into consideration what makes up the very fabric upon which our bonds are built; our Brotherhood. With Brotherhood, we become aware of not just the manner in which we all live our lives, but the obstacles each of us faces. When I throw around the term “understanding,” I mean that once we understand where we all come from and the adversity we have faced to arrive where we are, then we can all join together and advocate for one another as if we are facing any struggle that another is going through. This is the true meaning of Brotherhood and a true example of unity. For this, I am eternally grateful and infinitely proud to be a Brother of Sigma Lambda Beta because only within this Brotherhood do I see such a thing occur on an ongoing basis. It is because of this reason alone that I truly believe we are steadily on the path to bettering all of our communities, our country, and without a doubt, the world.
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In the year 2011, and particularly for the millennial generation, it’s hard to imagine what the world was like before the Internet. The World Wide Web has completely changed the way we interact, learn, and conduct business. Like all things, there are pros and cons. There are numerous benefits to the Internet; however, there are some aspects that are disadvantageous as well. For instance, consider the act of communicating. The Internet has allowed us to communicate practically and conveniently with our friends, family, and co-workers at nearly light-speed (amongst other benefits). On the other hand, the same means have helped facilitate individual’s poor interpersonal skills (hermits), corroding grammatical competencies (lol), and even cyber-bullying (See: www.stopcyberbullying.org). With any debate, the angle one takes –political, social, economical,
medical, etc.— helps individual’s believe their cause as ‘fact.’ A true Sigma Lambda Beta man must look at both sides of any argument with an open-mind. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to any of what is going to be communicated here. Nonetheless, the goal is to prevent you from becoming a Slacktivist. If you consider yourself to be an activist, or simply as a Brother of Sigma Lambda Beta, ask yourself: “What am I doing to create change?” Additionally, how much time throughout your day do you spend casually browsing the Internet? The bottom line is, creating real, concrete, empirical, fact-driven change involves more than ‘liking’ a Facebook status. Sure, tweeting the color of your bra might, in some obscure way, raise awareness to breast cancer. Congratulations, you’re an Internet warrior! For an apathetic and complacent generation that lives in the now, I guess this is our modern-day activism (who would risk the dangerous behavior of marching in the street, anyway?). But if you haven’t left your chair, and at least had a verbal conversation with someone, you’ve arguably done nothing. Creating this “awareness” might bring attention to the issue; it’ll probably make you feel pretty good too. However, if you forget about that issue you blogged about, the online petition you signed, or the Facebook group you joined, then your efforts might be in vain.
(sometimes slactivism or clicktivism) is a portmanteau formed out of the words slacker and activism. The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction” (Wikipedia)
Please don’t misunderstand the point of this article. Certain types of activism may have their place on the Internet. Information on protests and political campaigns has spread through social networking mediums. If it’s considered ‘worthy,’ then the media may also mention the cause. However, this is only a start. Our generation has to demand more from each other in order to create real change. Activists fight for their causes usually as a means to achieve political goals. Do you think Barack Obama made ‘change’ by sitting at home on his laptop, writing about what the American government and people should do? You can’t make the club 6 • el iluminador • eliluminador.com
in the tub and you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pocket, either. However, you can click your mouse, while eating a ham sandwich and sitting in your lazy-boy recliner to re-tweet information on Japan disaster-relief efforts. Ask yourself, what has more effect: physically participating in a demonstration at your state capital building or writing a blog about an issue? There is strength in numbers and blogs today are a dime a dozen- good luck getting people to read them, too. Even this very article may have little effect, if it doesn’t engage you to do something. Would it be more beneficial to write the Governor of your state a letter or meet with her/him at her/his office? Something is better than nothing, but some people are more serious about achieving their goals than others. Consider your actions along with the best possible way to achieve your plan. And surely Brothers of Sigma Lambda Beta can relate, or at least be empathetic. We all know those “paperless Brothers” who respond to every email, barking about what should be done and when it should be done. Those
What are you doing to create Change?
Brothers sit at home and criticize the knock. They point the finger at those daring enough to get involved; those that are bold enough to lead, organize, and push the boundaries of the ordinary. The point of this article is to let you know that clicktivism is not good enough. Writing emails is not good enough. Being good is not good enough. Sure, it may be a start. But in order to create the types of serious changes that we desire, we have to demand more from ourselves. We have to hold each other accountable to higher standards. If we don’t, we allow mediocrity to be placed on the same level as excellence, and that won’t change anything. If we, as Sigma Lambda Beta men, strive to hold each other accountable for intellectual excellence, to better serve our world, and for continued participation, then we -at the very least- need to have these types of conversations. Activism is derived from the word act. To act, or action, involves activity. Activity is the opposite of inactivity. And slacktivism is dangerously close to inactivity. Slacktivism should not be confused with activism or activity in any way. At a certain point, the ‘informing,’ the web-surfing, and Facebook groups have to turn into action. At some point, you have to get up and do something. Even coming to consensus on an issue will not change the world. Posting a Facebook status may only evoke an “oh that’s nice” response. Don’t we want more, though? Besides, these Facebook posts get lost in a sea of Nikki Minaj songs, videos of street corner fights, and the Charlie Sheen tweets with which our generation is infatuated. In short, you can’t click your way to a better world; you have to work for it. Don’t be that Brother who preaches over the internet world --chillin at home, drinking his purple juice-- yet do nothing in the real world. Don’t confuse awareness with change. If you want to create change, why not become a U.S. Senator? Think Big(ger). You’ll be a better person by getting out of your room and physically attending a meeting/event. Trust.
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by Benjamin Cartagena
You have crossed over into the fruitful land of the Greeks. The air smells fresher, the water tastes cleaner, your words sail more true and fall on ears that now listen more intently. You feel you have new purpose and see a world which is pregnant with opportunity and promise. You are officially a Brother or Sister of [insert three Greek letters here] Fraternity or Sorority, Incorporated. Your letters shine bright as they rest firmly against your chest which is currently inflated with a great sense of pride. You now want to roadtrip to every entity your particular organization boasts and meet every Brother or Sister of yours you can. You see a stroll at some event and you spend many hectic, consecutive nights trying to perfect said stroll until you trip and fall clumsily into the closet of your dorm room which is now full to the hilt with “para”. Your tikis, decorative paddles, lettered shirts, jackets, hoods, hats, etc. fill you with immeasurable pride. This ‘high’ you feel will be matched by few moments in your life, however, a sobering realization will eventually overcome you: it is significantly more difficult to be an active Brother/Sister of a Fraternity/Sorority than it is to be an associate member or pledge. You now have a lifetime responsibility to contribute to the overriding goal of your organization. The parties will likely become less frequent as the business meetings become more so. That stroll you were so fond of practicing becomes routine as stroll practice begins to seem more obligation than jubilation. You are now representing something larger than yourself- as the cliché goes. You are now being asked to put to use all the knowledge you have hopefully accumulated in your pursuit of membership. You, sir/madam, are a neophyte. The neophyte or “neo” seems to be the lowest rung on the Greek ladder; however, the aim of this missive is to serve as a prominent salvo: The neophyte is a powerful exponent in any organization and this manifesto is your guide to initial and continued success in your organization. Knowledge is indeed power. Your organization undoubtedly has a peculiar history and set of principles. You should by this time either know these or be studying, for your own edification, said history and principles. It can be said that to know one’s organization is to love one’s organization. Use this euphoric period to verse yourself in your organization’s by-laws, constitution, mission, and any other piece of knowledge you can get your hand on and try as best you can to further integrate this information into your everyday life. I once had a Brother tell me, “I’ve forgotten more than you ever learned.” I smiled respectfully and informed him that his comments lit a fire in me that intensified my pursuit of said forgotten knowledge and I thanked him without a hint of sarcasm.
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Exceptionalism has its place, that place is your heart. Some may tell you that no organization is better than any other. However, truth be told, they chose their path as you have chosen yours. The choice may not have been one colored by significant bias, it would be misleading to say that one didn’t chose his/ her organization because he/she thought it was a better choice for them. That said, I feel as if I made the best choice for me and that my organization is the best for me. Steer clear of walking the “yard” boasting of the superiority of your particular organization. Your decision and actions thereafter should speak for themselves. Love is a battlefield and war never changes. The “yard” is often a place where Greeks put on tremendous displays of my-Frat-is-better-than-your-Frat-ism. This may seem unbecoming and engender a feeling in you that may encourage you to sing the high praises of your Brotherhood/Sisterhood in a way that is equally obnoxious. You must fight this impulse. The quality of your organization will not be tarnished or harmed by staying out of the fray and producing quality programming which expresses the values and principles of your organization fully and artfully. Deeds complement words, however, the opposite is not always true. Many new members become “ghosts” when the hard work of building or contributing to the chapter becomes more taxing. You must resist the impulse to take a backseat approach to Greek Life. If you have been initiated into an established chapter, shadow an active Brother/Sister as you will one day be asked to take on greater and greater responsibility in your chapter. If you are, as I happen to be, a founding Brother/Sister of your entity, the hard work will be immediate and at times overwhelming. This workload should have been expected but even if you find yourself caught off guard, weather the storm and build a strong nucleus for future success. Your school’s Greek Office should be your home when you are not in class or the library. Remember that words have a way of inspiring people to do great things but great deeds inspire deeds that are infinitely greater. Knowing your creed by heart is not impressive, since living it every
day without exception is expected. You have chosen this organization and its creed is the guiding vision.
That vision is now your vision. Nothing is more monumental and revolutionary than a man or woman who has a word he or she keeps. The keeper is valued for his/her dedication to executing the word he/ she keeps and when that applies to a creed the effect is magnified.
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neo manifesto continued....
You have taken on this vision for the future as your own and you must complete the goals necessary to realize it. Graduation is the goal, but it is not the end. If your grades happened to have suffered in any way while you were an associate member, there is no better time to lock down on your studies and ensure that your educational prowess does not take a backseat to any other endeavor. However, the true measure of a Brother/Sister is their ability to balance their studies and organizational responsibilities. Time management is key. Make sure you have a binding schedule which you follow that accounts for any and every foreseeable obligation you have as a student first and a Brother/Sister second. You will be of great need as an alumnus for you organization, so do not allow yourself to miss out on graduating. Just as stated previously, you will
have much more responsibility and your decision will hold even greater consequence as a post-graduate.
Neophytes are not forever, Brothers/Sisters should be. All things being equal, they are not. You will find yourself with less influential voice as a new member than you may experience after you have established yourself as a long active and contributing member of your organization. Take solace in the fact that your hard work in the years and decades to come will not be in vain. Pay your dues! I mean that both literally and figuratively. Do not complain, but suggest. Be both seen and heard. Know your facts and your words will carry great heft. Live your creed and principles everyday and you will find that fulfillment as a Brother/Sister is not given but earned. That which you earn you keep, and that hungry neophyte will give way to an accomplished prophyte to whom the world seems ripe with opportunity for wisdom and promise for a greater tomorrow.
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you wi ll find th fulfillm at a Brothent as Sister i er or s given bnot u earned t
Theory on Beta Extinction
by Shingi Mavima
Sitting with my neos, sharing Beta tales of old One disconcerting trend became distinct They asked ‘with such a memory of a glorious past being told How did many formidable Chapters become extinct?’ They lost sight of what it means to don this purple and white They spent ten weeks on line and thought they had it made No one took the responsibility of updating the chapter’s website Spent days at lengths ‘stomping the yard’ and forgot about their grades They never sat down to outline their goals New members got away with not attending retreats They were too lazy to learn even the most basic of strolls Got high at public parties, acted a fool, never discrete They didn’t pay their dues Never revisited the documents given to them during the process Never paid attention to the hazing cases that made the news They won a few awards one semester, but forgot to progress Their secretary never forwarded the minutes to the chapter’s mailing list They looked down upon those who held them accountable, called them ‘Haters’ They found the lure of petty Greek beefs hard to resist And instead of proper risk-management, they worried more about being branded ‘skaters’ They arrived late to Chapter meetings Stayed silent while other Bros referred to women as ‘bitches’ They forgot the humility implicit in our greeting Man-handled associate members, then blackmailed them not to be ‘snitches’ They got intoxicated in their letters Forgot to give back to the communities we hold dear Taught their pledges to disrespect other orgs and GDIs, ‘we’re just plain better’ And refused to recruit anyone different from the status quo: the ‘nerds’ the cripples’ the ‘queers’ They crossed a ten-man line and stopped recruiting Never submitted their paperwork on time They got too comfortable and lost their footing And when issues came up that affect the entire brotherhood, they stayed silent as mimes Mind you, such instances are rare And these entities remain in the museums of our memories, immortal and close to heart Where we see them constantly reminding us, telling us to be aware It takes a lifetime to build organizations to excellence, but a lapse in judgment will see us fall apart
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Immigration is a delicate subject, and when it comes to answers there are not many; at the end of it all, it becomes a matter of what we can do versus what we would like to do. A great idea is nothing more than an idea unless we can realistically make it happen, and even then nothing is ever written in stone. Therefore, even a fool-proof legislation seems to fail at times. It is an understatement to say that there are a lot of uncertainties when it comes to politics; after all it becomes a chess game of checks and balances, where one player tries to outdo the other. Uncertainty of what is to come is a part of life. Hopelessness in uncertainty is the reality that many immigrant students had to face when the Senate failed to pass the Dream Act. As children, they had no voice or vote when they were brought to this country. They were brought to the United by Bryan States in search of opportunities
and a better quality of life. The same pursuit that 18 men in the middle of Iowa had 25 years ago, when they started what would become larger that anyone would ever envision. Immigrants come to the land of opportunity chasing a dream; whether it is education, work, or maybe something as simple as happiness. It is because of this that Sigma Lambda Beta was created to meet the wants and needs of our people. Now as college students, college graduates, or college geared students, the opportunities for which these immigrants have worked so hard have vanished. In many cases, these students consider the U.S. their only home and know nothing else. The Dream Act gives undocumented students a chance to make their dreams of higher education more than just a dream.FACT: They are NOT all of Hispanic-Latino descentthey come from many countries.
Of Our Presidents
Who are these students?
FACT: They are NOT all of Hispanic-Latino descent- they come from many countries. FACT: They were brought to the U.S. at a very young age. FACT: They came to this country with their parents and have been raised in the U.S. just like their classmates. FACT: Many are high achievers who have excelled academically throughout their schooling. FACT: Many don’t even realize they are here in violation of immigration laws. FACT: They are our athletes, leaders, and future doctors, lawyers, and teachers. FACT: They are your Brothers and Sisters, activists, athletes, leaders and members of Greek Letter Organizations.
Barriers, Lies, and Education.
We all have to face obstacles and barriers every day. Rent, bills, work, relationships, family, involvement, service, and last but not least education are things many students need to learn to juggle while in school. Being a student in the U.S. is not easy and from what it seems, it’s going to get harder before it gets easier. In an economy that is in a downward spiral, education is becoming a privilege even for the privileged. There are many barriers that undocumented students may face and even though I would like to shine light on all their issues, the reality is that one cannot really know what it is like unless one was to walk in their shoes; however my attempt is simply to have people understand. 12 • el iluminador • eliluminador.com
“…those values upon which our success depends - honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old…”
A lot of undocumented students feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness because their legal status does not allow them to reach their full potential. It’s like they have been lied to their whole lives- after all, hard work, honesty and dedication didn’t really pay off. They were told that if they stayed in school and continued to work hard they could be anything they wanted to be. This is not always the case, because even if they were to graduate top of their class, employment of undocumented professionals in any field is not an option. Careers that require state licensing, background checks or Social Security Numbers (nursing, law, teaching, etc.) become unattainable before these students can even reach their final destination.
“…government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it…” Ronald Reagan The Current immigration laws limit opportunities to legalize undocumented students’ status. There are no legal mechanisms to regularize their situation. They cannot go to the back of the line when the line doesn’t even exist. So, after all, maybe there isn’t a way if there is a will. Many of them have done everything they can to be exemplary citizens; however at the end of it all they are in a path to nowhere. “…everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear…” George W. Bush Undocumented students at times are treated as criminals, tyrants and terrorist. They live in fear of being detected, imprisoned and deported by immigration authorities. They have to live double lives afraid of showing a part of who they are, having to close doors on themselves in fear of being detected as “illegals” or “criminals” for something over which they had no control. The United States takes pride on being the “home of the brave and the land of the free”; however we are treating these students as second-class citizens that have to pick and choose their safe havens and to whom to come out. “All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talent.” John F. Kennedy Education is becoming a privilege that is only for the privileged that can afford it. It is almost like we are walking backwards, and going back to the days where education was only for the higher classes. Undocumented students are unable to obtain financial aid (grants, scholarships, loans, etc) from an institution of higher education, making their dreams of higher education many times no more than simply that, dreams. The few that managed to pay for school through work and private scholarships eventually realize that there are many things money cannot buy, like licensing or internship opportunities, making them drop out or prematurely stop their education. Undocumented students are unable to join the U.S. Armed Forces and serve their country, afford insurance, get a driver license, find a decent job, and travel among other things that many of us take for granted. The list of barriers that these students face continues, this is but a small sample of what they have to go through day after day.
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A WARRIOR’S CREED
by Christopher Temblador
Warriors are not made overnight. Any Brother or soldier will tell you, it is a process. In this process, there are some duties that call for us to go above and beyond. Unfortunately, not all are always prepared or daring to take on responsibilities bigger than oneself. Most often, the fear of the unknown prevents us from engaging further than what we assume to know. If you are a member of this Fraternity, that notion should fail to exist because we have taken the unknown step to unlock the mysteries of this great Fraternity. As we become united by an oath of service, our Brothers in the United States military continue to serve this country with a warrior’s creed as their guide. The following is a testament of that process.
It is important to note that Brothers in the military are more than just soldiers; they are officers, managers, engineers, specialists, role models, and heroes. They are in almost every branch of the military composing of various ethnic groups, ages, and life experiences. They come from different geographic regions and have earned college degrees. Some are married and have families. Some joined because they had a family history of military men serving in this country and in other countries such as El Salvador. Others joined due to difficult life experiences and uncertainties during college, while others joined after college for further educational and career opportunities. For some, attaining citizenship was a factor and being in the military did not only lower the cost but sped up the process.
Walk A Mile In My Boots
In this journey, ”life can be lonely in the military,” says brother J. Godoy (U.S Navy, 19931997). Most often you are away from your family and you miss birthdays, like the birth of a newborn. However, the military can also be a place for a new awakening. Brother Victor Daniel Marines (U.S Marines, 2002-Present) states that you create a work ethic where there is a, “ hunger to be better [but you need to] know yourself [to] seek self-improvement.” With
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more minority men represented in the armed forces, your self-identity becomes reinforced but it also allows for new interactions to occur with the various cultures present. As Brother Godoy notes, “In harm’s way, we are all in this together. Your perception of people changes, you lose stereotypes, you stop being different and you see the similarities.” [To explore more about life in the military, check out myviewinglens.com, created by Brother John F. Gomez (U.S Navy)].
Letters, Uniforms and Brotherhood
Brother Timothy Whightman (U.S Army 2000-Present) recalls his nephew asking, “Uncle Tim, when can I have letters like that?” He would later come to find out that his nephew had become a Brother of this great Fraternity. But what makes us so great? As a role model to his nephew, Whightman states that in combat, as in brotherhood, there is “no such thing as die or quit.” Just like our process as Brothers and in the military, the first stage to building such an attitude starts with in induction. For Brother Marines, going through boot camp was, “like having a big brother guiding you to be a better person.” Similarly, within this process, one has the opportunity to take on leadership and community service initiatives. Brother Mario Roberto Flores Mejia (U.S Navy, 2010-Present) notes that during his time as a Brother, he became more prepared to be a leader in the Navy because being a brother taught him to take initiative. It is this type of drive that Brother Kevin E. Torres (U.S Army, 2003-Present) acknowledges to be an advantage. Brother Torres also shares that there are certain principles that have carried on to his professional life. Even in this setting there are professional rivalries but as he states, “at the end of the day, we are all still military.”
In the Face of Glory
One distinction that came across in talking to Brothers was the type of discipline earned. For some, the military offered more and because there was more structure as far as ranks, “you have to earn your stripes,” Brother Godoy notes. However, he also explains that “you do not have to just be in the military to look for discipline.” Despite the magnitude of their discipline, these Brothers have faced adversity, persevered, and are successful. Some of their proud accomplishments have been graduating from college, earning advanced degrees, and becoming teachers. Others’ accomplishments include becoming a father, having a professional career, being able to provide for their families and touring the world. Brother Carlos Frevert (U.S Air Force, 1998-Present) has done several tours nationwide and abroad but notes that assisting the victims of Oklahoma’s 1999 tornado was one of his notable accomplishments for which he was awarded a medal. With involvement in the military and traveling just like our Brotherhood allows, most have still been able to be active by visiting Brothers wherever they are stationed, helping establish new chapters, and even with leadership positions in the Fraternity.
All Call to Young Brothers
The Fraternity has become a powerhouse over the last 25 years of its existence and during the process of this story, I cried, I laughed, I learned and I was inspired. On behalf of these men in the armed forces, our Brothers, there is still something you can do to support them in Brotherhood. You can start by simply communicating with them, saying thank you, or sending them a care package with candy bars. As times have changed, Brothers do face more severe traumatic stress when they return, setting up a wounded soldier program through your Chapter or a small prayer can go a long way.
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A Warriors Creed, Continued.... To conclude I will leave you with a few words they wanted me to share with you as a Brother: Before making judgments, get educated. Learn from your successes and your failures. The reason we exist is to retain Brothers. Brotherhood goes beyond networking, if your mission is to better affect change nationally, you are on the right path. Keep in mind that people behind you are watching each step and you will never be 100% prepared. However, do not be afraid to live, and never lose sight of what makes you a Lambda Beta man. I share this message with you on behalf of all the Brothers mentioned above. I hope I did not let them down, especially if they are abroad at this time reading this article, and I hope you were inspired by their stories just as I have been. LB!!!
June 21-24, 2012
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16 • el iluminador • eliluminador.com
HOW TO SAY IT
If communication is the key to success, then El Iluminador is committed to helping you find your key. Behold, behold! Interpersonally speaking, there are really only three things you need to say in life. Sigma Lambda Beta gentlemen must master the art of saying these particular phrases, because these three phrases have withstood the test of time--They are arguably the three expressions that mean the most in life. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”--Maya Angelou. So let’s make people feel. Use the following examples as starting points and then feel free to master your own versions.
Thank You •
I’m Sorry •
”My favorite part about you? Everything! Thank you!” ”Always know that I will eternally be grateful of you.” ”Words can’t describe the gratitude for everything you’ve done. I’m speechless and astonished.” ”A gentle touch, a beautiful soul, a loving friend with a heart of gold. Thank you.”
”I’ve got this hug I’ve been wanting to give you for a long time. What do you say?” ”To hurt someone as kind as you is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done. I’m sorry; it’ll never happen again.” ”Sometimes people do dumb things for no reason. And I’m guilty of that right now. I apologize.”
I Love You •
”There are 7 billion people on planet earth. But there is not one single person like you. You’re a true blessing in my life.” ”Words cannot express how much I care about you, but I can love you for the rest of our lives.” ”I’m going to love you for all that you are and challenge you to be all that you can be.”
Reference: Fadie, S. (2010). Words to the Rescue: The sentiment guide for the tongue tied. Orange Sky Books.
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Ever since I pledged, I’ve had this notion that somehow membership here was forever, and membership elsewhere was not. Elsewhere meaning the “mainstream” Greeks. As with any fraternal organization, this couldn’t be further from the truth, but I never took the time to really think about it. I took what I was told as gospel, and I went with it. So picture this, I get home from work and I turn on my TV and what do you know? Greekis about to come on. Pretty exciting as the show is usually a summer show but this year they brought it back during winter! Yeah, you’re probably not excited. It’s ok. If you didn’t know, Greek is a show on ABC Family about stereotypical fraternity and sorority life. I know what you’re thinking, “Why is he watching that? How can he even relate?” The show is based on the everyday life of a group of people that are part of the traditional fraternity and sorority system. Traditional? Yeah, the correct way of referring to those organizations that have been here for many, many years. Longer than us at least. Usually, you will hear them referred to as “white Greeks”. Which is considered offensive and completely disregards the diversity of our generation, and how these organizations -despite their age- have continued to evolve. Well, let me get to my point. This isn’t about how I watched the show. This is about how a show like this made me realize something pivotal. Alumni. Who they are… What they do… Why? Alumni. So imagine this…. a national rep goes to visit a house. Mind you, this national rep is an alumna from that chapter. She’s running around, directing the girls, criticizing them, pretty much driving them nuts. Then, you have a recently graduated member who is struggling with her identity as a recent alumna. She’s no longer allowed to engage in the “undergrad business.” She eventually confronts the national rep and says, “How do you do it? How do you stick around and not want to be a part of all this?” It’s here that I had this amazing revelation. The rep says, “I am not here to relive my glory days. I’m here to make sure they live theirs.” Wow…. what a simple statement. It got me really thinking, though. So what is the point of alumni?
by Ricky Cortez
18 • el iluminador • eliluminador.com
Currently, all I know about the way of being an alumnus is that I’m supposed to stay involved. Involved, as in involved and in the mix of all that “undergrad business.” But, wait! I can’t get those words out of my mind. They keep resonating as if someone yelled inside a tunnel. “I’m not here to relive my glory days. I’m here to make sure they live theirs.” What do those words mean? They mean that after my years in college, I have accrued great knowledge. Knowledge that is no good if I keep it to myself. I have to pass this information down and on, and make sure that those “young-ens” are informed, up to date, and know what’s going on. So, wait. I’m not supposed to continue to program, and set up community service and cultural awareness presentations? I’m not supposed to operate in the same mode as those “undergrads”? That’s right, I’m not. But now, I don’t know anything else. What should I do? Hmm… I just can’t get those words out of my mind. “To make sure they live theirs.” This means I need to be a mentor, a teacher, a leader. I need to be the fountain of wisdom the undergrads need to help them solve their problems. I need to show them there is a smarter way to do it and that it doesn’t have to be harder. But I can only mentor so much, and so many. Then what else do I do? I used to go from meeting to meeting, and event to event. Now, however, I have a full-time job, and I can’t do that stuff anymore. Man, I can’t imagine what all those with families have to juggle! So there has to be a way for them to give back as well. Sure enough, you contribute. Be it to your foundation, or directly to your chapter, you give back. You provide the resources that you know would have made it so much easier for you to achieve greatness when you were back there, on the field. Turns out, I can give back, I can ensure success without having to steal the spotlight. I mean, I had mine for a good amount of time, and I made sure I took advantage of it. Now it’s up to me to hold the spotlight on someone else. The only thing is that now I know one more thing, and I have to pass it on. I can’t allow for new grads to feel as lost and confused as I did, and I shouldn’t force them to have to figure out what I figured out. What if they never do? I have to go an extra step and mentor them as well. Create a system that allows for an easier transition from grad to young professional and from young professional to professional. That way one day, they can help other new grads, and they can help those undergrads live their glory days. So there I was, on my couch with my face lit up. It made sense. It finally clicked. Those “white Greeks” don’t kick you out once you graduate. They don’t cut your ties and say, “thanks for the last four years, have a great life.” They force you to grow up. They force you to have to move on. To become an adult. To give back in a greater capacity. To ensure that their organization continues to succeed. After all, it’s the new blood that will make that success possible. I had such a tarnished bias… is it possible that with so many years -and sometimes hundreds of yearsof experience, “white Greeks” actually have it figured out? Is it worth looking into? Is it worth learning about? Could that be their formula for success? Can we take it and make it better? How do we figure out the next 25 years? Simple… we Think Big.
Spring 2011 • el iluminador • 19
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