Junior League of Wichita
2017 JL Award for Diversity and Inclusion Winner
Junior League of Wichita (JLW) Diversity and Inclusion Committee
What do we mean when we talk about “diversity”?
What about “inclusion”?
The Junior League of Wichita wrestled with those questions for years. The League’s membership-by-invitation policy was changed years ago. So were age restrictions for older members. A membership outreach committee was formed more than two decades ago. The League’s first African-American president was elected 10 years ago.
But, for the last six years, JLW has moved beyond race and ethnicity to embrace age, religion and socioeconomic status as key elements of diversity and inclusion. The steps taken were simple ones designed to bring members into the dialog. For example, in addition to sponsoring outside speakers and trainers, the League held book discussions and movie screenings for members. Members engaged in a “Privilege Walk” exercise, and GMM attendees were assigned seats that put them together with others outside their preferred “boundaries.”
And the results are in.
JLW gained a larger and more diverse class of new members…and League members gained a greater understanding of what “diversity” and “inclusion” really mean.