Last weekend in Charlottesville, the world watched as organizations marched under the “banners” of freedom of speech and expression. What we witnessed was not about freedom of expression as freedoms are never absolute; they always come with constraints. What we witnessed was nothing short of a senseless loss of life and unspeakable harm to others.
We watched the news again just yesterday to see the coverage of, without fanfare or marching, innocent people in Spain killed and maimed by extremists in vans.
As The Junior League, we stand united in our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We will continue to speak out against organizations seeking to perpetuate ideologies that create an illusion of superiority rather than equity, that promote bigotry rather than inclusion, that foster hate rather than understanding and love. And we always will work to help lead our communities around the world forward through constructive engagement, open dialogue and finding common ground.
What happened in Charlottesville has sparked continued conversation and commentary—some divisive but, above all, uniting people in seeking common respect and understanding. All across our Leagues, we see people coming together every day through small and large acts to make a difference in the lives of their communities. It is this work—the enhancing of the social, cultural, and political fabric of civil society—that we believe presents a way forward. This is our strongest antidote to the fragmentation and hatred we see unfolding.
Let the legacy of Charlottesville, and the aftermath of the events that claimed so many innocent lives in Spain, be moments that further deepen our commitment to the promise of “one nation” here in the United States, and to the pursuit of the public good throughout the world.
For more than a century, The Junior League has empowered women to lead in a world of ever-evolving needs. Carla Hallman, President of the Junior League of Charlottesville, embodies the importance of women working alongside community partners to ensure a peaceful, just world for all.
President’s Statement—August 14th, 2017
This weekend, we witnessed the largest demonstration of hate, bigotry, and violence our community has seen in my lifetime. Saturday’s events led to senseless acts of violence, in which our citizens and first responders were put in immediate danger. These acts of terror left many injured and took the life of activist, Heather D. Heyer. Two Virginia State Police officers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates, also lost their lives while on their way to assist with the unrest in our beautiful city.
Now more than ever, our league’s mission and values come into my mind. We, not only as members of the Junior League of Charlottesville, but members of the Charlottesville community, are here to improve the community through effective action and leadership. We will not only condemn the vitriol experienced this weekend by voice, but in our hearts and actions, and show our community that we are here to provide trained volunteers. Now is the time to be ready to assist in reclaiming the Charlottesville that we know and hold dear. We will and are growing through this challenging experience, and as a community will be stronger than ever.
For 85 years, the JLC has had women invested in this community. It is also not lost on me that 85 years ago, many of our membership, myself included, would have been unable to be members of the Junior League. This is undeniable proof to me that diversity, inclusiveness, and mutual respect can and have grown our league, community, and world into a greater, stronger place. We will reject the ideologies of intolerance and bigotry by continuing to invest in the diverse home we call Charlottesville.
As President of the Junior League of Charlottesville, I want to reaffirm our league’s and the Association of Junior Leagues International’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations, and communities.
President, Junior League of Charlottesville