The Junior League of Boston will hold its second annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) from February 25 through March 1 to raise awareness of violence against women. Advocates will wear the same black outfit for five days and buttons that read, “Ask Me About My Dress,” to start conversations and raise awareness about these issues in Greater Boston. JL Boston chose BARCC as one of its community partners and beneficiaries of the campaign. We sat down with Junior League of Boston President Michelle Lentz to talk about the Little Black Dress Initiative and how to change the culture.
Tell us about the Little Black Dress Initiative! What is it? How will the Junior League of Boston chapter participate?
The LBDI is an awareness campaign where advocates wear the same black dress (or outfit) for five consecutive days. The outfit often serves a symbolic reminder of an issue as well as a conversation starter to educate our networks about a particular issue in which we are advocating. In 2019, our LBDI advocates will be working to raise awareness on the issue of sexual and domestic violence against women and girls in the Greater Boston area. Advocates have the opportunity to share their five-day journey, as well as issue-related statistics and other educational information, through a personalized fundraising page. The Junior League of Boston is proudly sponsoring this LBDI campaign for a second consecutive year. As part of the 2019 campaign, JL Boston will be organizing a full week of programming, including a fireside chat, volunteer opportunities, and an educational training to help advocates and its members understand the magnitude and impact of the issue of sexual and domestic violence. Another exciting aspect of the LBDI campaign this year is the clothing drive, which will conclude with advocates donating dry-cleaned outfits to Catie’s Closet.
How did you decide on BARCC as a beneficiary?
We recognize that a well-defined beneficiary selection process is a vital factor in achieving our fund development goals for LBDI. The primary goal of our process was to identify an organization in the Greater Boston area that has a strong alignment with our mission and community work and to our strategic goal of supporting initiatives to influence positive change and help end violence against women and girls in the Boston community. During the evaluation process, we reviewed each organization’s management, financials, funding, and culture. What resonated with our team was BARCC’s strong leadership in the community and its well-defined organization governance.
What about BARCC's mission stood out to you?
BARCC’s community accountability values directly ties into the work of the Junior League of Boston, which aims to improve our community not only through effective action but through volunteerism for all. Although our initiative this year is focused on sexual and domestic violence against women and girls, we recognize it's a broader issue among all people. We admire that BARCC is taking a holistic approach to support all survivors, regardless of gender, through social change and healing.
What are your hopes for this collaboration?
I hope that this is the beginning of a lasting community partnership that continues to grow in many ways. I hope that, together, we can more successfully raise awareness for the issue of sexual and domestic violence against women and girls, and work toward making a positive, lasting change here in the Boston area. I also hope that our members and network gain a better understanding of this issue, and the confidence to engage with peers, family, and friends to help continue to drive social change around the issue.
How can people get involved?
There are many ways in which interested individuals can participate in this initiative. They can be advocates during LBDI week, help broaden our reach sharing social media posts with their networks, donate to the campaign, or attend various events or programs. More information can be found on our website.
Learn more about the Little Black Dress Initiative and how to get involved.