AJLI (Association of Junior Leagues International) hosted its 94th Annual Conference May 12 through May 14 in Atlanta. President Jennifer Romine and President-Elect Cherie Kesler attended the 3-day event. Beyond the spectacle of Roll Call when each league’s voting delegate parades into the large conference hall preceded by a local high school marching band, some serious issues were discussed and voted on.
The most important work of the Annual Conference occurred during the Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 14. At that meeting, two advisory resolutions – resolutions that the AJLI Board must consider but are not bound to – were discussed and voted on. The issue of the advisory resolutions concerned the ODI (Organization Development Institute) meeting in Raleigh, NC, October 21-23 in light of the recent legislation enacted by the North Carolina government to restrict LGBT rights.
The first advisory resolution discussed read:
Whereas, AJLI has a Diversity and Inclusion Statement; and
Whereas, Junior Leagues have a strong history of advocating for civil liberties; and
Whereas, The US Justice Department has stated that the State of North Carolina is in violation of federal law; therefore, be it
Resolved that AJLI resite the AJLI Fall ODI outside the state of North Carolina; and be it further Resolved that the Fall ODI be held in a state whose laws do not contradict AJLI’s Diversity and Inclusion Statement.
After much debate supporting and opposing this resolution, the delegates voted down the advisory resolution. The Raleigh Junior League incoming president was persuasive in asking the delegates to not punish her League, which is involved in organizing the ODI with AJLI, and many of the other Leagues in North Carolina who did not support the legislation. In addition, if the AJLI Board were to resite the ODI, the cost to AJLI was estimated to be between $75,000 and $120,000 just to cancel the hotel, not to mention contracting with another hotel – this at a time when AJLI is consistently losing money on its conferences.
The second advisory resolution discussed read:
Whereas, Junior Leagues have a Diversity and Inclusion Statement; and
Whereas, AJLI event sites should align with our values; therefore be it
Resolved that AJLI’s future event and meeting contracts have language ensuring that the sites do not contradict the Diversity and Inclusion Statement.
This advisory resolution passed.
Other important notes from the Annual Conference include:
- A new AJLI President was seated. Carol Scott from the Junior League of Pasadena succeeded Ellen Rose of the Junior League of New York City. Carol will serve for 2 years.
- The keynote speaker was Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the nine African-American students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Each delegate at the conference received a signed copy of her book detailing her experience, “A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School”. Any member interested in borrowing the book to read, please contact Jennifer Romine (firstname.lastname@example.org) who is willing to lend her copy out to JLCU members.
- The AJLI treasurer’s report was important for 2 reasons: first, AJLI will be relocating its headquarters from New York City most likely to Charlotte, NC where rent is less expensive; and AJLI conferences are consistently going over budget even though the cost to delegates for each conference is between $400 and $700.
- AJLI announced a new partnership with Gwynnie Bee, an online women’s clothing subscription service for sizes 10-32, that could help JLCU with free money. When the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana refers 30 free trials that start by June 30, 2016, Gwynnie Bee will give our league $2,000 in funding. New trials can be from members and non-members!
Help JLCU earn $2000 today by signing up through our special link: http://startgb.com/JLChampaignUrbana.