A Letter From Our President – Candice Kendrick
As we transition into the new League year, my heart aches for the turmoil in our community and country. While I cannot pretend to comprehend the pain felt by the Black community, I want to do my part to bring about the community change we are all desperately seeking. This starts with an open and honest dialogue where everyone can be heard and their feelings supported. When adversity challenges us, our greatest triumph as a League comes from standing together, as a family, a family of all races and backgrounds. We can’t afford to sit this one out! “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The core tenet of the Junior League’s mission is realizing our potential as civic leaders in our community. As such, we as members should hold ourselves accountable for our own racism. We must do the work. We must be willing to be vulnerable. We must speak out and we must be visible. Equally important, we must know when to be quiet and listen to others.
The events of the past week, where we learned of another death of an unarmed, restrained black man by law enforcement and witnessed the ensuing anger and grief of others, have once again underscored the severity and violence of racism that people of color experience in the United States and across the world every day.
Now we see our own city, and other cities across the country, erupt in protest and unrest in response to pervasive racial injustice. As Junior League leaders, we cannot stay silent and sit on the sidelines watching as members of the Midland community and beyond feel this heaviness of grief. As an organization that believes in building better communities and strives for leadership excellence, many of you have asked what we can do.
We must give support to our Black members and all our members of color as well as our neighbors, friends, coworkers, and partners. As an organization, we must be an authentic ally in this fight for justice.
Our commitment to equality and inclusion is as important as ever.
This is only the beginning of what will be a necessary, ongoing, and difficult conversation on the action and change needed to create a safer community that values human dignity.
Over the past few months the Board has been working on a long-term plan to promote and ensure diversity and inclusion in our League. Prior to COVID-19, there were plans for a League-wide training in March to begin to address cultural awareness as it relates to our personal interactions with others in the community-whether in a Junior League context or your personal relationships. In the coming months, expect to see opportunities for community work to promote equal justice and civility as well as challenging internal conversations and programs on racism, implicit bias, diversity, and inclusion. We all play a role in creating an inclusive organization of women civic leaders and building a better Midland.
This is just the beginning of my term as President, but I hope that each of you will be willing to step up, do the work to realize your potential, be vulnerable, be quiet and listen, and also speak up.
Let us keep going and keep growing.
Praying for peace and comfort,