Wednesday, December 28, 2016
An Orginization I'm Proud to Be a Part Of
I'm working on another post (sort of a day in the life type thing) and I realized that some of what I had included really deserved it's own post or belonged in other posts. One thing I was thinking about back in Novemeber when I did my Mistletoe shift was my feelings about the Junior League. I unloaded them on IG, but I wanted them here, too.
Mistletoe always gets me a little introspective. Every year I get a little worked up thinking about people's preconceived notions about the Junior League. Because over the years, these four hour shifts have included some of the hardest, most humbling, most backbreaking, most gratifying physical work I've ever done. And it's been my great privilege to do it. I've pushed (and spilled) a Coke cart, moved (with several other women) two hundred full size Christmas trees, lifted furniture exactly to the extent I felt safe during my pregnancy with Sarah Lamar, hauled around heavy metal parking barricades with flashlights and picked up food, gum, and cigarettes at eleven pm after the preview party.
And it's raised over a million dollars every year since I've been in the League. NBD.
It's no secret that I can get defensive of the Junior League when people are critical. I realize it has it's problems like any organization, but I get frustrated when people see it only as a pretentious social club- the patronizing group of wealthy white women as represented in The Help.
Over the years most of my good friends have asked me about the Junior League. And honestly it's usually not in a mean-spirited way and they are truly curious how the Junior League is a fit for me. I don't fit the image many people have of it- I have a nose piercing, I'm slightly crunchy in ways, I'm a bit progressive in others, I homeschool my kids, and I try to practice Voluntary Simplicity. I'm glad I've had so many friends feel comfortable asking me about it.
But the stereotypes hurt my heart and each year I grow more protective of it as I grow to love it more. I love it because the ideals of the Junior League do align with what I think is important. Did you know...
That the League House (which the cool kids now call headquarters) is in the process of becoming ADA accessible? Yes, I understand why people see it as an exclusive group but we are working so hard.
That we now have a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and a focus is Cultural Competency. Because we know we do have a certain amount of privilege and it is so important that we learn to interact better with the community (be that children with terminal illness, families in poverty, or at risk teens) for us to be as strong of a force as we can be in Jackson.
That the pediatric Cancer Center (the only one in the state) at our children's hospital was made possible by the fundraising efforts of the Junior League back in the 90s?
Most of us can laugh at ourselves! At our first meeting they had a spoof video where someone was asking JLJ members if they were sipping wine and talking fashion when actually they were hard at work on their community projects.
I am fiercely protective of this organization. It's never brought anything but good into my life and it's brought so much good into the lives of others. I will defend it every chance I get.