Monday, August 25, 2014

2014 Women's Equality Day

By Kristen Henry, 2014-2014 JLSA President

Tomorrow marks Women’s Equality Day – a day set aside to celebrate the passage of the 19th amendment to the constitution – the amendment that would immensely change women’s roles in the United States. But while gaining the vote, which took years of diligence and planning, was surely a gigantic step toward equality, there were still years of struggle. And years of work remain.

Even though women can vote (and have voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1980!), we still only make up approximately twenty percent of both houses of the United States Congress.  More and more of us succeed academically, yet on average, we still make less than our male counterparts. We might be called bossy while he is called boss. 

Many of us still hesitate to park in a dark parking garage or run by ourselves near twilight while a male neighbor thinks nothing of it. Some women will face judgment of whether or not they are a legitimate victim of assault based on the clothes they were wearing when it happened or if they had been drinking. They call him a ladies' man and they call her…   

We are surrounded by double-standards, many of which are so entrenched in our culture that we do not even notice them.  Some may think this an oversimplification of a complex issue, but each of the above examples serves to illustrate that we have yet to achieve true equality – that despite an incredible amount of progress, women must continue to strive for equality in a country whose doctrine claims us all equal.

This work is why organizations such as the Junior League of San Antonio, Inc. are still so important and relevant. It is why I am so proud to serve JLSA. There are three parts to our mission, but the one that stands out as unique to us is “developing the potential of women.” We are uniquely positioned to assist women, both our members and those in the community we serve, to reach new levels of success and empowerment.

I owe my own development as a leader to JLSA, which is why my passion grows daily for the potential of what this organization can achieve. My participation in JLSA means I am surrounded by amazing women who not only learn to empower themselves, but empower those they serve as well as those they serve with.

But this work we do is not only beneficial for women. It is not only beneficial for children for that matter. It is beneficial to everyone in the community. This is because when everyone is empowered to be successful, takes care of their families, and reaches their potential, the entire community wins. Instead of being men and women, we become humanity – a group of people working together on equal footing to make our communities safe, productive, and enjoyable.

But until that day comes, Women’s Equality Day should not just be a day of celebration. This day is a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. Our awareness of equality issues is heightened and we are inspired to face them head on. We are encouraged that anything is possible but we have to push to achieve it. So each year, on August 26th, mark Women’s Equality Day, but work each and every day of the year to fulfill the ultimate goal of true equality.

Monday, August 11, 2014

JLSA Stuffs the Bus for 2014

By Sara BriseƱo Gerrish, 2014-2015 New Member

One of the things I have grown to love since joining the Junior League of San Antonio, is the opportunity to learn more about our city’s wonderful non-profits and the chance to roll up my sleeves to lend a helping hand. Over the weekend, I had the chance to work with Communities in Schools of San Antonio’s (CIS-SA) Stuff the Bus event. This event was held at 24 H-E-B’s across the city in conjunction with the city’s tax-free weekend. Our mission was to help raise awareness and collect/organize the donations. All the donations collected are to be distributed to school age children in San Antonio.

Some of our group passed out flyers with suggested supply needs as customers walked into H-E-B, and others organized pre-bundled bags of school supplies.The bags included popular school supply items such as: crayons, folders, and spiral notebooks. Customers picked up these bags and bought them with their groceries. Each bag was priced less than $3!

I was really blown away by our city’s generosity. People would selflessly drop off bags of supplies and empty out their purses and wallets for a donation; even school-age children emptied their pockets so that others would be able to go to school with their needed supplies. This was a great opportunity to give back to our community! Thank you Junior League and Communities in Schools of San Antonio!