I was never one of those girls that had a lot of girlfriends. I had as many close female friends as I could count on one hand, but always wanted more. It wasn’t until college that my hope was realized through Alpha Rho Lambda.
During my college years my desire to have strong women around me who I could depend on, had purpose and direction, wanted long lasting friendships and believed in advancing social causes grew. I never set out to found a sorority. They all seemed to be phony and ditzy, even if they were smart women. Then I met a group of ladies that wanted a lot of the same things I did.
A few girlfriends and I discussed the possibility of a sorority and how we might proceed. As the conversations continued, more and more women joined our group. We became 10 strong with the primary goal of forming strong bonds of Hermandad – sisterhood.
It wasn’t easy, forming a sorority. We had our own expectations of what our organization would look like, but we also had some level of expectations to meet within the Greek community. You couldn’t just come out one day and say, “Hey, we’re here!” You had to make a visible effort to prove you had the commitment it took to be Greek.
We planned to create a Latina Greek Letter Organization, so we designed a pledge process that included wearing uniforms, study hours, eating as a group and developing the foundation for Alpha Rho Lambda Sorority Incorporated. We didn’t always agree, but we always came to a consensus.
One thing we all agreed on was that the college retention rate for Latinas was deplorable. As Latinas we all needed and wanted a support network of people like us, even though many of us were of mixed ethnic origins. It was also important to express our diversity, so our letters came out of our primary identity – Alianza de Raices Latinas (Women of Latin Origin). We all had some Latino in us and it was that shared existence that united us.
Over the years we made the conscious choice to select women of quality rather than aiming for quantity. It wasn’t about size, but about a shared desire for sisterhood coupled with a commitment to academic excellence and community service. It led to many beautiful strong women becoming my Hermanas and girlfriends who supported me when I didn’t feel so beautiful or strong, as I did for them.
Yesterday marked the first day Alpha Rho Lambda’s Founding Hermanas began the 14 week, 14 day, 14 hour and 14 second road toward a forever kind of sisterhood. Through the happiness, trials, fights and makeups we are always going to be Hermanas, no matter what. That is what a real female friendship is like.
To all my Hermanas, my love is always there for you and will never die. I guess that’s why they call me Corazón Fiel…because that’s how I started this organization and that’s how I will leave this earth. From that first day 20 years ago, I committed myself to be Siempre Unidas y Siempre Fieles.
Happy 20th Anniversary Aurora and to all my Hermanas. Each of you mean so much to me and I honestly don’t know what I would do without you in my life. Even if we’ve never met, you are all my girlfriends. You have been a blessing and sometimes my saving grace. Let’s continue to look to the sun and not turn away.