For us, the events of the past week have once again underscored the severity and violence of racism that our communities experience in the United States and across the world every day.
This has been a tragic week, where we’ve all watched the hurt and anger on display at the death of an unarmed and restrained Black Man. And now we see cities across our country have erupted in response to racial injustice.
As Junior League of Columbia leaders, and leaders in our community, we cannot stay silent and sit on the sidelines watching as our community feels the heaviness of grief.
In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, this week has again raised the veil of racial inequities that are pervasive in our cities and in our countries, seeing racial turmoil unfold in our communities is particularly painful and difficult to witness.
As an organization that believes in building better communities and strives for leadership excellence, many of us have asked what we can do.
We as Junior League women strive to be civic leaders in our communities. As women we also strive to be leaders in our families, work environments, places of worship and everywhere in between. As such we should hold ourselves accountable for our own racism. We must do the work. We must be willing to be humiliated and vulnerable. We must speak out and we must be visible. We have to know when to be quiet and listen. And equally important, when to speak up. Today we are speaking up – calling on each of you to do your part to end racial injustice in our community, demand accountability for those who allow this to continue and commit as a member of JLC that we will be part of the change.
We must give support to our Black members – and all members of color – neighbors, friends, coworkers, partners…and as an organization be an authentic ally in this fight for justice. As I said during my acceptance remarks earlier this month, we got this! We are poised and ready to lead our organization and community and we will not back down when things are difficult or don’t follow the handbook.
- Acknowledge your privilege.
- Talk about what’s uncomfortable and necessary.
- Do good in your community.
- Be engaged in the process that brings about change.
- Use your voice to demand change – do not be silent.
Our commitment to equity and inclusion is as important as ever. We will not stop until justice exists for everyone. We are committed to navigating this together. We stand together with you – with arms around each other – to do what we must do, we got this ladies!
Anna Edwards, President
Deonca Shuler, Executive VP