The Elimination of Prejudice
The Elimination of PrejudiceTM (EOP) is an IRS recognized standalone 501c3 organization. Interestingly enough, the EOP’s origins are rooted in the vision of an Olympic athlete and the mission and history of a men’s college fraternity. The EOP exists today because of the tireless work of many who saw a great need for an organization dedicated to eliminating prejudice.
“A society where appreciation of and respect for differences creates better understanding among people.”
“A movement dedicated to nurturing civil discourse, establishing common ground and eliminating prejudice.”
"JUSTICE is the core of values essential to the Elimination of Prejudice. Justice. Understanding. Sincerity. Tact. Impartiality. Compassion. Equality."
The Olympian – Jules
Jules Lennard was a staunch advocate for people dealing with
discrimination. Lennard's story began with his Olympic dreams. After joining Pi
Lambda Phi Fraternity’s University of Wisconsin chapter in 1934, Lennard was
selected for the 1936 US Olympic Soccer team. Lennard was excitedly on his way
to the Olympic games when the United States Olympic Committee informed him they
could not guarantee his safety due to his Jewish heritage. Lennard would,
therefore, not be permitted to leave the Olympic athletes transport ship that crossed
the Atlantic. At that time, Germany was ruled by Adolf Hitler's Nazi party and
their intentions were to showcase Aryan ideals and prowess. Lennard's lifelong
dreams of representing the United States in the Olympics were ultimately
prevented by Anti-Semitism.
Despite this, Lennard closely followed fellow Olympian Jesse Owens'
experience. As an African-American track and field athlete representing the
United States, Owens achieved international fame as the most successful Olympic
athlete at the 1936 games by winning four gold medals - a poignant rebuke to
Adolf Hitler. Lennard's Olympic experience had a lasting impact. He
returned home committed to advocating a
better understanding between people and determined to confront discrimination head
One of the ways he tackled discrimination
was through the volunteer work he did as an alumnus with his fraternity in an
effort to advance the values of equality expressed within its Creed. Lennard
had a long and decorated experience as an alumnus volunteer for the fraternity
but his legacy lives on through one particular area of focus. In 1996, Jules
was the inspiration behind the first Elimination of Prejudice program which
laid the groundwork for what would become the Elimination of Prejudice
In his honor, the fraternity created
the Jules Lennard Human Relations Award (later renamed the Jules Lennard Elimination of Prejudice Award) to recognize organizations and individuals who
make a difference towards building bridges and connecting people through their
similarities. Jules Lennard served as a role model for how we should encourage
people to talk about sensitive societal issues.
Fraternity – Pi Lambda Phi
In 1895, three Yale University students founded the
first fraternal order open to all men without regard to race, religion, or
creed. In that historic moment, not only was Pi Lambda Phi International Fraternity born, but a movement dedicated to advocating a better understanding
between people began. Since its
inception, the movement has helped more than 46,000 members develop an
appreciation for participating in, and building, inclusive environments where
people with varied perspectives, skills and experiences collaborate. The Creed the
fraternity established encapsulates their forward-thinking views.
That all men are created
free and equal.
That no society of men can
flourish unless the members of that society are endowed with the opportunities
and privileges of freedom.
That freedom implies the elimination
That the elimination of
prejudice means a better understanding 'twixt men.
That it is incumbent upon
me to fight for such freedom, even with my life.
That it is incumbent upon
me, in my personal life, to be devoted to the highest standards or honesty and
That because my country is dedicated to the highest standards of
freedom and justice for all men of all creeds, I hereby pledge my allegiance to
my country and to its national symbol.
The Fraternity also broke barriers in the midst of the Civil
Rights Movement. Pi Lambda Phi was the first fraternity to initiate
African-American members on multiple campuses thus “breaking the color barrier”
and they merged with an interracial fraternity – Beta Sigma Tau. A few of those
examples are included on the timeline below:
In 1955, Rafer Johnson breaks the color barrier with Pi Lambda Phi at UCLA.
In 1958, Pi Lambda Phi establishes at Indiana State University and
is the first fraternity to have interracial members.
In 1960, Floyd Greer breaks the color barrier with Pi Lambda Phi at
Penn State University.
In November 1960, Beta Sigma Tau merges into Pi Lambda Phi. Beta Sigma Tau was founded in May
1948, at the National Conference of Intercultural Fraternities as the first national
interracial and interreligious college social fraternity to be organized
following World War II. Beta Sigma Tau was founded "to level, not raise
barriers among people" and to have a foundation based "upon a
brotherhood and democracy which transcends racial, national, and religious
differences." The mutual interest had between Pi Lambda Phi and Beta Sigma
Tau was rooted in their founding values of equality and inclusion.
In 1969, David
Temple breaks the color barrier with Pi Lambda Phi at the University of
Individual Pi Lambda Phi fraternity members also helped shape the
EOP through their lives. Richard Rodgers, Oscar
Hammerstein II, and Arthur Garfield Hayes are a few notable examples.
Rodgers & Hammerstein wrote the music and lyrics to the 1949
Broadway Musical South
Pacific. The musical weaves together several characters and elements into a
single plot line about an American nurse at a U.S. Naval base, during World War
II, who falls in love with an expatriate French plantation owner with a dark
past. The issue of racial prejudice is sensitively and candidly explored in
several plot threads, including the struggle of the lead character to accept
the mixed-race children of her lover.
Arthur Garfield Hays was a lawyer who
became prominent in civil liberties issues. He often served the
underrepresented and those who faced discrimination due to their race or
religion. While he was part of many notable and famous legal cases, he is most
notably credited with being a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union
and a member of their general counsel from its onset.
History & Evolution of the Elimination of Prejudice
The Elimination of
Jules Lennard launched the Elimination of Prejudice (EOP) program in 1996. The original program was an essay contest for
college students (unaffiliated with his fraternity) to think deeply about
prejudice and challenge themselves by responding to one statement, "What
eliminating prejudice means to me." The annual contest started at the
University of Wisconsin and spread to other campuses; including the University
of Michigan and North Carolina State University. Lennard believed that by setting the
conditions for people to talk about sensitive issues, we advocate a better
understanding between people. By being a fierce advocate for equality, Lennard
paved the way for an international movement. Unfortunately, Jules passed away
in 2002 and the program became dormant.
In 2010, the EOP program was re-launched a part of the Fraternity’s Strategic
Plan. The program itself was operated underneath the Fraternity’s 501c3 charitable
arm – the Pi Lambda Phi Educational Foundation.
The Educational Foundation decided to run an international video contest
as a more modern take on the predecessor essay contest. In memory of Jules
Lennard’s experience with prejudice and discrimination, "religious
tolerance" was selected as the inaugural video contest theme. In August
2011, the 1st Elimination of Prejudice Video Contest winner was decided by
public vote. Contestants from four
continents submitted videos. Elizabeth Smurlick (Canada) won the $5,000 grand
prize with her winning video "Eliminate Prejudice: Life". In 2012 and
2013 the topics were “LGBT prejudices” and “Bullying”. To see those contest
finalists, click here.
To continue setting the conditions for sensitive societal conversations
to take place, the EOP assisted Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity members and local
chapters in hosting over 150 educational or fundraising events since 2010. The
educational events were key in helping educate, inspire, and empower young
people to be more social justice minded. To read more about those events and
their impact, read further below.
Between 2010 and 2014 a series of fraternity members and non-members alike
suggested the idea of making the EOP its own separate 501c3 so that its reach
could be significantly greater.
This novel idea began to gain momentum as more and more people began to
make the same suggestion. This led to the Educational Foundation and Fraternity
establishing a committee to explore the details of such an endeavor. The
committee found that such an endeavor would require a lot of work however, it was
feasible to launch a 501c3 and that creating a separate philanthropy that still
had a history and connection to the fraternity’s Creed could have additional benefits
for the fraternity.
The Elimination of
A temporary board of Founding Directors was established to help create
the official Elimination of Prejudice foundation. Their first steps were to review
best practices for a non-profit; determine the vision, mission, and values;
craft governing documents like bylaws; and apply for IRS recognition. In December
of 2015 the Elimination of Prejudice became an official IRS recognized 501c3.
Shortly thereafter, trademarks were awarded.
An inaugural Board of Directors has been appointed with a focus on
growing the board, securing funding to grow the Foundation, identifying
potential benefactors of gifts, and hiring staff to operate the Foundation.
Support and Programs
The Elimination of PrejudiceTM is honored that Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity
chose us as their official philanthropy and that their students have done so
many wonderful events to promote and support the Foundation. Over 150 events have been done since 2010
by the Fraternity’s chapters. A few of our favorites include:
An entire week of events cohosted by a Pi Lambda Phi chapter and various
other organizations or offices on campus with a shared interest in programming.
Examples of programs include ones on gender inclusion, islamophobia, race and
cultural challenges, microaggressions, religious tolerance, identity and
expression, ableism, and mental health stigmas. The types of organizations Pi
Lambda Phi would partner with include but are not limited to LGBT focused, multicultural
student organizations, student religious groups, other fraternities and
sororities, and campus administrators from diversity and inclusion offices.
The fraternity chapter would reserve the rights to show a movie open to
the campus that include themes of prejudice, discrimination, or intolerance.
Upon the conclusion of the movie, facilitators from the university could lead
discussions with small groups of students reflecting on the movie in what was
shown, how that applies to the students, and focusing on a “now what” approach
after having viewed the film. Movies could range from box office hits to lesser
known films, and could be modern or a bit older.
Wall of Prejudice
A temporary wall structure is built on campus and students, faculty, and
staff are encouraged to write prejudicial, discriminatory, or intolerant words
they have experienced within their life. As participants write words, they are
in invited to share with others their experience with those words, and how
those words have impacted them. After a period of time has passed with the wall
available to be written on (usually 3-5 days), the wall is then torn down and destroyed
by members of the university community in an act of solidarity symbolizing the
community’s refusal to stand for such intolerance.
The Elimination of PrejudiceTM Today
The EOP movement is active on over 40 college campuses across the
U.S. and Canada with support from nearly 1,800 students and volunteers, and
with over 95,000 Twitter followers. Although EOP has grown and changed with the
times, the mission remains the same. It continues to serve as a tribute to
people of all walks of life who advocate a better understanding between people.
It fosters timeless principals to inform, educate, and inspire people from
diverse backgrounds by presenting programs and providing opportunities for
dialogue. EOP has evolved to include the modern enhancements of internet and
social media as means to increase discussion of sensitive topics. From video
and essay contests, youth-based educational programs and retreats to the
fundraising activities that support these endeavors, the ways to encourage
people to talk about sensitive topics are endless. By providing varied
platforms the EOP continues to move toward their dream: the elimination of
The Elimination of Prejudice Social Networking World: