A Note from the DC Area Phi Beta Kappa Association Leadership

The Phi Beta Kappa Society was born of a historical moment: the American Revolution. The student founders were revolutionary in their own right, envisioning that the values of Friendship, Morality, and Learning could see us through turbulent times. Today, a new historical moment calls us to uphold these values and express solidarity with the fight against racial injustice, inequality, and police brutality. In DC and across the country, we have seen countless examples of people demonstrating immense care for one another during this time of extreme loss. More than 100,000 people lost their lives in a pandemic that has disproportionately harmed Black communities. The recent murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery have brought renewed attention to the blatant forms of racism and racial violence that have been prominent in America since its founding.

As we think about what this moment means to each of us individually and as members of an organization that has inherited a legacy as old as this country itself, we cannot be complicit in silence. We must continue to have challenging conversations, strive to understand other perspectives, and stand up for the rights of all people of color to breathe freely.

Although we recognize that statements without action may ring hollow, we believe that there is an urgency to acknowledging the gravity of this moment and beginning a larger conversation. We believe that learning from one another in the spirit of friendship is one of the most effective tools we have to achieve the moral imperative of true equality. We invite our members to reach out to us at president@dcpbk.org.

We thank our friends at the PBK New York Association and at the Phi Beta Kappa Society for their contributions to this statement.

If you have the time, money, or skills, you can make a difference! Check out “Empower DC” which provides a comprehensive list of ways we can give back to our local DC community.


If you would like to educate yourself more on the issue, we recommend the following books:


Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Medical Apartheid” by Harriet A. Washington

Evicted” by Matthew Desmond

Give Us the Ballot” by Ari Berman

How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi

The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander

White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo

The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin

Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde