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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Delta Kappa Gamma Statement of Neutrality

A strength of DKG women is their knowledge and involvement in the world of education and events that impact educators and learners. DKG members ask questions before they take action. They take action,
use their voices, and know they make a difference. They are reasonable and open-minded, and they live in the world with passionate care.

Controversies surrounding the transition of power in the United States have motivated DKG members to ask how the Society itself can "take a stand." In response to these inquiries, we offer the following statement of nonprofit neutrality.

Statement of Neutrality

As individuals, DKG members cherish the personal right of free speech. As leading women educators, DKG members want to--and should--take a stand on important issues. Purpose 4 of the Society, in fact, encourages members "To initiate, endorse and support desirable legislation or other suitable endeavors in the interests of education and of women educators."

In contrast to speaking as an individual, however, "speaking" on behalf of an international, nonprofit organization is a complex endeavor. First, in the United States, the IRS restricts political and advocacy involvement of nonprofits; penalties can include revocation of nonprofit status. Second, the
DKG Constitution, echoing Purpose 4, dictates in Article VIII, Section C., f. “that the committee (Educational Excellence Committee) shall study and recommend action on professional issues and shall urge the state organizations to initiate, endorse and support desirable legislation or other suitable endeavors in the interest of education and women educators." The International Standing Rules further state in 8.102, c. “Legislative action shall be based on a thorough understanding of the issues involved in supporting excellence in education, equality for women, and a safe, peaceful educational environment.” The Rule continues in d: “Legislative activity shall be concerned with educational issues, not with candidates or political parties.”

Of course, the difference between issue advocacy and political intervention can be very difficult, which leads to the third point of complexity regarding "speaking" on behalf of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. Although united in a genuine spiritual fellowship, we are an organization of diversity--of various positions, experiences, opinions, passions, values and beliefs. The Society ultimately can only "speak" through formal consensus of members on legislative matters; without such formal consensus, neutrality must be the position for this nonprofit organization.

Thus, when issues or controversies arise, each member must follow her personal journey to act on her passions and beliefs, whether by contacting a legislator, writing an op-ed piece for a local paper, using social media under her own name, or organizing or participating in a march or demonstration.   We support our love of DKG best, as well as represent our personal values, by acting with grace and supporting our organization as one that includes women with many different viewpoints-- sometimes represented in the same chapter.

February 2017

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