The year 1975 saw the birth of what started as a vision—an idea of an organization, a sisterhood that would cater to the needs of Latinas and the universal woman. Thanks to the tremendous strides made by our seventeen founding mothers, this dream was realized, and took form as the entity. Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated, the first Latina sorority in the nation.
There were several causes leading to the realization that such an organization was necessary. Traditionally, the role of the Latina woman was that of maintaining the family institution and falling into the realm of the Machismo stigma. As the Latino migration to the United States increased, so did the emergence of independent Latina women, eager to be at the forefront of an era of a new educational, political and social consciousness. In the early 70's, colleges and universities experienced an influx of Latino enrollment. With this growth, the need for support groups and outreach programs were at an all time high, primarily for the low percentage of Latina women in higher education institutions.
In 1975, Kean University in Union, New Jersey introduced and began to implement bilingual studies, as well as a Latino and Caribbean studies department. Women of Latin descent were now able to embark in Higher Education even if English was not their native language. Although this enabled and facilitated the educational advancement of the Latina woman, a huge void was left to be filled—still missing was support and equality; a constant reminder to these women that they were still the minority, and that their struggle for equality on every level had just begun. It was at this university, in this historical time period, that a group of women convened to discuss the formation of a sorority for Latina women. Its focus would be to actively integrate itself into the social, political and community service arena that other students had been involved with. Together, as a united front they could compete, collaborate and assist with any student run programs, thus making their voices as loud and profound as the majority voice; their concerns equally as important.
Lambda Theta Alpha was recognized at Kean University as the First Latina Sorority founded in the United States. This organization was the first to recognize the need for a support system, thus creating one. The desire to progress, dedication to their community, and the aspiration for the advancement of the Latina women marked the beginning of Lambda Theta Alpha. It allowed the independent Latina woman of a new era to have a sense of belonging and with that, achieve her highest potential. It would define a new role for the Latina woman, one with education, goals and vision in hopes of great success.
Now, 35 years later, we have seen the outcome of such an organization. Lambda Theta Alpha has contributed to the advancement of all people by helping to produce educated women of many races, ethnicities, and creeds. These women are political leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, etc. LTA has also paved the way for many other Latina organizations, which would later pursue the empowering movement that we set the trend for. From 1975 to date, Lambda Theta Alpha has upheld its purpose and mission, each day realizing the Founder's dream—that it may serve as a quintessential trailblazer for all women.