What does it take to get The Junior League mentioned on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times and on Stephen Colbert’s show on Comedy Central—all in the same week? A political kerfuffle.
In case you missed it, according to a number of media outlets, Dan Friedman of The New York Daily News asked a source on Capitol Hill whether Chuck Hagel, who’s been nominated to be Secretary of Defense, had received speaking fees from controversial groups. Friedman made up the names “Friends of Hamas” and “Junior League of Hezbollah” as farcical examples. And the resulting uproar (more than 160,000 Google hits for the Junior League of Hezbollah in two days) certainly put The Junior League in the limelight.
So, for the record, here are a few facts about The Junior League (and let us start off by saying we are not a political organization and these comments in no way reflect an opinion of any kind about Senator Hagel or the Islamic world.):
- Since its founding in 1901 by social activism pioneer Mary Harriman, The Junior League has evolved into one of the oldest, largest, and most effective women’s volunteer organizations in the world.
- There are 293 independent Leagues with 155,000 members—but there is no Junior League of Hezbollah.
- While we have Leagues in four countries—the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the U.K.—we do not yet have a League in Lebanon.
- And recipes for making bombs? Weaponry need not apply, however, we are sure at least one of the 200-plus Junior League cookbooks (which have been published since the Junior League of Dallas published its first in 1924) contain recipes for making bombes of all kinds!
- Militant activities? I don’t think so, however, we are fierce as we work to build children’s museums, pediatric mobile clinics, address child sex trafficking, perinatal depression, childhood obesity and healthy eating, and so much more.
- “Junior League” is a registered trademark of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. and we value our name.