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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.



Vision Statement:
“A society where appreciation of
and respect for differences creates better understanding among people.”

Mission Statement:
“A movement dedicated to nurturing civil discourse, establishing common ground and eliminating prejudice.”

Values Statement:
"JUSTICE is the core of values essential to the Elimination of Prejudice. Justice. Understanding. Sincerity. Tact. Impartiality. Compassion. Equality."

 



History


The Olympian – Jules Lennard

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 on.

 

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 Foundation.

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.

 

The 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 of prejudice.

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 justice.  

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 Virginia.

  

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 Prejudice Program
 

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 PrejudiceTM Foundation 

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. 
 

Today

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.

 

Fraternity 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:


EOP Week

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.

 

Movie Reviews

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 prejudice.


 

The Elimination of Prejudice Social Networking World:

     






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