Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Recent events across the globe have brought us to a pivotal moment in history where we need to speak up for the values our organization believes in. The Junior League of Harrisburg understands that it is important for us to listen, learn, and engage. Conversations on race can be painful, hard, and personal. It is more important than ever for us to be open, vulnerable, and actively listening.
The Association of Junior Leagues International, our parent organization “condemns discrimination, racism, and racial injustice in our communities and in our Junior Leagues. Black women and other women of color have been systemically denied equity and inclusion in our economy, education, civic privileges, and responsibilities in the voluntary sector, including in The Junior League. As affirmed by our member Junior Leagues, we are accelerating our efforts to take action and advance definitive, measurable policies and practices that eliminate racism in our countries, our communities, and our Junior Leagues. When we do this, we unlock tremendous power for our communities and realize our vision of women around the world as catalysts for lasting change.”
What Have We Been Doing?
Junior League of Harrisburg spent the better part of 2020 taking an inward look at our organization, assessing how diverse, equitable, and inclusive we have been as a womxn’s organization serving the Harrisburg community. Our Board met early in the summer to put together a high-level action plan, which included the creation of a committee to address ways that we can become a more inclusive league.
We know that a few meetings will not erase the deep, lasting impacts of racism in our communities. Instead, we view this as a long-overdue place to begin our anti-racism work: to have difficult conversations, seek answers, and ensure that we are fully considering the ways that we can create a vibrant league that serves and reflects our community.
Some of our activities have included, but are not limited to:
- Partnered with Harrisburg Young Professionals (HYP) to provide joint training opportunities for our members
- Facilitated a panel discussion with Ben Franklin Elementary, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region (BBBS), Tri County Community Action (TCCA), and Young Professionals of Color (YPOC) to learn more about the specific challenges members of the Harrisburg community face
- 25% of our members have participated in AJLI’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge, a three-week long learning experience in which members are encourage to be vulnerable, read and watch educational materials, and come together with womxn across the country (and the world!) to discuss racial equity
Where Do We Go From Here: The Next Steps
In order to hold ourselves accountable and ensure we’re meeting the needs of our community, our DEI Committee has outlined three top goals our League would like to achieve by the end of the League year (June 2021):
- JLH will participate in or facilitate three DEI trainings for our organization and the Harrisburg community
- JLH will seek to bolster the accessibility of our digital marketing and physical meeting spaces
- JLH will design and implement a modified version of AJLI’s 21- Day Racial Equity Challenge for members of Junior League of Harrisburg.