October 2023 | Empowering Change and Unity: Highlights from the Vibrant October General Member Meeting Hosted at the Urban League Holloman Center

Author: Erica Bock

The Urban League Holloman Center for Social Justice was filled with energy and enthusiasm as the League gathered for its General Membership Meeting (GMM) on Tuesday, October 3, 2023. The meeting commenced with a warm welcome from League President, René Robers, following a pre-meeting social hour where members had the chance to reconnect and catch up. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio for hosting us in their beautiful new space. Paying for this opportunity and furthering our partnership with them embodies the efforts of our new diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging (DEIB) plan.

The Urban League Hollman Center for Social Justice

The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio‘s Head of People, Erica Simmons, shared their mission of serving Black people and historically underserved communities and its significant work within the community.

The membership was asked to vote on a new Anti-Discrimination Policy and AJLI’s (Association of Junior Leagues International) Operational Procedures Agreed by Leagues (OPAL), led by Kelly Barber, the President-Elect, and Sarah Houseman, the League’s Legal Advisor. Additionally, members were asked to vote in favor of changing the Spring Fundraiser theme from fashion show to Monte Carlo night. All votes were passed by the membership.

Members also gained valuable insights into empowering civic engagement through a presentation by Mary Kate Genis, the president of the League of Women Voters Cincinnati Area. Did you know that over a century ago, many of the Junior League of New York members were also members of the Woman Suffrage Party of New York? They gathered signatures of women who wanted the right to vote and the State of New York passed the amendment to grant voting rights to women in November 1917. Congress passed the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote on June 4, 1919 and it was ratified on August 18, 1920. For the upcoming election, early voting began on October 11, 2023 and early voting and absentee voting is available until November 5, 2023. The General Election is on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 and polls are open from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. More information can be found by visiting LWVCINCINNATI.ORG or VOTE411.ORG. As a reminder, the JLC November GMM is also on November 7th beginning at 7:00 p.m. so please plan accordingly to vote in advance! 

The 13th annual Tour of Kitchens fundraiser on Saturday, December 2, 2023, was a significant highlight. Katey Baron, VP of Fund Development, stressed community support, asking for members to please connect the committee with potential homes in Anderson Township to be on the tour, or with sponsors, food & beverage vendors and for silent auction donations. General admission tickets went on sale for $50 on Sunday, October 15, 2023 at jlcincinnati.org/tourofkitchens. Information about the JLC’s unique Board Bank training opportunity, which takes place on Saturday, November 4, 2023, was presented by Elizabeth Desrosiers and Sarah Rediford of Leadership Development, encouraging members to sign up if they have interest in future in JLC or other community board service.

Community engagement and volunteering are central to the Junior League’s mission. Members learned about upcoming volunteering opportunities like the Family Nurturing Center Fall Fest and “Educating for Brighter Futures” with Mel Gravely and a partnership with Bethany House Services. The Chair of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEI&B) Committee, and Urban League Young Professionals Board member, Deanna Hillard, closed the meeting by seeking affinity group leaders and with reminders to sign up for volunteering and social events.

In line with the Junior League’s mission, this meeting was a testament to the commitment of its members to advance women’s leadership for meaningful community impact through volunteer action, collaboration, and training. The October General Membership Meeting was a vibrant meeting focused on making a positive difference in the community and supporting one another.