Junior League of Lufkin
2018 JL Awards: Diversity and Inclusion Honorable Mention
Diversity and Inclusion Campaign
Becoming more and more diverse is a natural process in many communities, although sometimes the organizations that serve them don’t diversify at the same pace.
The Junior League of Lufkin, TX serves the greater Angelina County area, one of the state’s most diverse populations. After stepping back and looking at its membership, it was clear that the League no longer looked anything like the community it served.
The JLL wanted to put a stake in the ground, and make a promise to its community that they were committed to championing diversity and inclusion in their ranks, just as the county had embraced different voices from different cultures.
In the Spring of 2015, the JLL kicked off its Diversity and Inclusion Campaign with an official public statement: “The Junior League of Lufkin welcomes all women who value our Mission. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations and communities.”
To open up the membership to all women of all backgrounds, the League voted to amend its bylaws to eliminate the requirement that members must be sponsored by one or more Active or Sustaining members.
The JLL hosted Open Houses to introduce the League to women who were curious about the organization, what it does, and what it would mean for them to participate.
The League specifically targeted women from diverse backgrounds, from all parts of the community to attend its events and to consider membership. The League also created a social media campaign, including a video produced by the JLL to help dispel myths and stereotypes about the organization, while introducing the exciting, work they were doing in the community.
The League set out to create partnerships with other community organizations, encouraging inclusivity among the groups, and inviting diverse community organizations to collaborate with them on community projects. This helped the League create visibility and worked towards eliminating any of the stereotypes attached to the JLL and its membership.
Implementing this D&I initiative was no small task, and so the JLL sought the assistance of Diversity and Inclusion expert Vicki Clark. Vicki made two trips to Lufkin during the Campaign to talk with the Board and members, and spoke at two women’s conferences about diversity and inclusion, which had an immense impact on the League’s leadership and the impression of the local community.
At the beginning of the League’s Diversity and Inclusion Campaign, the JLL was 6% racially and culturally diverse. In the short time since they implemented the Campaign, the JLL is now 22% racially and culturally diverse—and the current JLL provisional member class is 50% racially and culturally diverse.
The Junior League of Lufkin now reflects not only the best Angelina County has to offer, but where the community aims to take itself in the future.