The Junior League and The Help

The Junior League Asks: What Lessons Can We Learn from The Help?

Lesson #1: Change is good!

One of the summer’s hottest movies looks to be The Help, the entertaining screen version of the best-seller of the same name.

Because The Junior League – or at least a fictionalized version of one League in Mississippi – plays a small but important role in the plot, it seems only fair to give our collective opinion on the film. We like it. We like it not simply because it is Hollywood screen entertainment of the old school, which it is; we like it because it says something about us as human beings…and about how this country’s attitudes on race and diversity have changed in the last five decades.

Delly Beekman, President of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., said, “Thanks to the passage of nearly 50 years and society’s ever-evolving outlook on diversity and race relations, The Junior Leagueas portrayed in The Help seems a distant memory tothe organization we know today. More than 50 years later, like the societies it serves, The Junior League generally,and its Mississippi League, in particular, have made significant and substantial changes on many fronts that collectively offer up a stark contrast to the organization depicted in the film.”

Toni Freeman, President-Elect of AJLI and a member of the Junior League of Charlottefor nearly 20 years, added, “The Junior League has matured and evolved since it was founded by social activism pioneer Mary Harriman in 1901.We welcome all women as members who are committed to creating lasting community impact. Diversity of membership and ideas is a critical element of our success in The League’s 110th year.”

As a result of the work by more than 155,000 women in 292 Leagues in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico, as well as their predecessors, The Junior League has amassed an archive of irrefutable results and an indisputable reputation as thoughtful and influential change agents for the public good. In realizing that role, the Leagues have built into our daily lives many of the privileges we now take for granted, including free school lunches, literacy programs, children’s theaters and museums, clean water, children’s nutrition, and greater awareness about the vices of modern society, such as domestic violence and alcohol abuse.

About The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.

Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community impact.

Today, The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is comprised of more than 155,000 women in 292 Junior Leagues throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they constituteone of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world.


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