Last month it was announced that actress Mila Kunis, known for her breakout role in “That 70s Show” and for lending her voice to Fox’s “Family Guy” as well as her portrayal of Lily in 2010’s “Black Swan,” will executive produce a drama entitled “Meridian Hills” for The CW Network that will feature a young, newly married Junior Leaguer as she navigates the turbulence surrounding the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment by Congress. Set at a Midwestern country club in 1972, the series follows the aspiring Mary Harriman character as she forms allegiances with some unlikely allies in their quest to change a sexist status quo.
If Kunis, who is collaborating on the production not only with Chris Keyser, who produced “Party of Five,” but also with a slew of other star-studded producers including Sydney Sidner; Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum; “Robot Chicken’s” Lisa Sterbakov; and Cami and Susan Curtis, were to give us a day in the director’s chair, here are a few of the things we’d tell her about The Junior League in the 1970s:
On the pulse—Despite the fact that the E.R.A. failed to be ratified by the states, Junior League women were a persuasive voice at the local and national level, engaged in social issues and community service
In the spirit of voluntarism—The Association hosted a major national summit on voluntarism that drew not only 700 League delegates but also more than 50 national volunteer organizations, hundreds of local and state groups, and members of NOW. Ralph Nader spoke about “persistent citizenship” and George Romney spoke about personal character and self-sufficiency
In all the right places—Shirley Temple Black of The Junior League of Palo Alto was named the U.S. Representative at the United Nations Conference in the Environment. Former Association President Marjorie Lunken Ittman Hiatt was named president of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. Less than a decade later, Sandra Day O’Connor, a long-time member of The Junior League of Phoenix, was appointed the first female Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
Groundbreaking reforms—In collaboration with the National Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the U.S. Justice Department, The Junior Leagues introduced IMPACT, a multi-faceted effort focused on delinquency prevention, rehabilitation, court reform, prisons’ self-help programs, runaway shelter and return service, rape prevention, and community services. The program, ultimately adopted by 180 Leagues, was an inspiration for the program that would become Crime Stoppers
Easy target—The National Organization of Women took aim at The Junior League contending that volunteer service took jobs from others who needed them and degraded women’s chances for equal pay and its work on the Equal Rights Amendment. Prominent Junior League members, including Pulitzer Prize Winner Eudora Welty, defended the cause of voluntarism