Dear JLLA Members:
This is not the letter we wanted you to be reading as we embark on a new League year, and it’s not a letter we felt comfortable writing. We struggled with word choice because we wanted to be clear, yet inclusive in our communication to you. What we love about JLLA is our diversity and how we unknowingly celebrate it every time we gather. But our lack of intentionally celebrating the diversity of our membership has fostered some discomfort in discussing race. It’s become much easier and more comfortable to remain silent on this topic. However, given that we are an organization of action, we could not remain silent regarding the recent events related to racial injustice. We made a conscious decision to step into our feelings of discomfort to do what we know is right at this critical time.
The violence enacted on Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor is scary and almost unimaginable. We see cities across our country have erupted in response to these racial injustices. JLLA stands in support of Minneapolis, our city, and all communities that are feeling the hurt and anger of the recent events.
We must give support to our Black members – and all members of color—– and, as an organization, be an ally in this fight for justice. We are here to support our members who are grappling with anger, fear, disappointment, and uncertainty as a result of these realities. JLLA stands by each of you.
Despite how uncomfortable some of us may feel, there is still a place for each of us in this work. As an organization of strong, diverse women committed to building better communities, we must recognize these human rights issues and take them seriously. Now more than ever, it is critical that we educate ourselves, engage in difficult conversations, and learn from one another. This will not be easy for all of us, and we will not have all the answers. We must allow JLLA’s values of diversity, community, respect, and service to guide us.
And while we take time to grieve and figure out how we move forward, we also need to connect with each other. We ask you to check on fellow JLLA members, reach out to ask if they are okay, what they may need, and most importantly, let them know that you are thinking about them and care. A simple act of kindness can make all the difference – you don’t need to have any answers, listening is enough.
Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force will also be organizing opportunities for community and conversation, while we create a safe space to unpack the recent events around the country. We are committed to building bridges, so that we may support the healing and growth of our members and the Los Angeles community we serve.
We need a society that is safe for everyone – and as a League, we look to be part of the solution to help create a more equitable and inclusive world for all.
We ask that you get comfortable being uncomfortable. We are stronger together, we are better together.
Buffany N. Hunter, President
Sam Zachrich, President-Elect