Sunday, September 23, 2012

Update: LLLC Responds to Trevor Controversy

After I resigned from LLLC, I felt a lot of mixed emotions. I felt relief, I felt sadness, disappointment, and I felt content about the decision, even though I wished it was one I wouldn't have to make.

My disappointment grew exponentially when I received the very same form letter from the Board of Directors, the same one everyone else was getting around this time. I ignored it and summed it up to them dealing with an onslaught of emails regarding the situation. However, it definitely made me feel as though I was not as integral in their organization as I had once been led to believe. Another notch in proverbial kick me when I am down, situation, I suppose.

A couple weeks later, thankfully, I received an actual letter from one of the Board Members, discussing my letter. While the letter offered some suggestions on the way some of the more personal situations in my community were handled, it felt offhanded, and slight. The conversation always was, "Why didn't you speak up?" It felt like they were removing their role in both situations, instead of owning the mistakes they may have made in the short term. So why didn't I speak up like I usually would?  I was actually told not to, by them, that was my direction. Beyond that, after the leader who had been removed in our community was officially let go of by LLLC, I felt very ostracized. Again, I was told not to speak of that situation, which meant that the rumors swirling around about me were never able to be defended. I was chastised for sending in my own letter of complaint and then blamed for asking others to submit their own issues when I had been told by someone to do so, who now sits on the board. I was told to remain silent, so I did. When I was allowed to jump back into the ring, I was told to do so at a distance as to not ruin the reputation of LLLC in the community, and of course, that eventually led to further frustration on my part, as well as an utter disconnect with LLLC. All of this effectively cut off my own trust in them as an organization who would support me.

When the Trevor situation popped up, it was like that lightbulb went on for me. Where I felt I couldn't stand up for me in the situation mentioned above, I knew I could take a concerted stand to show where I stood with this issue. I sacrificed time, and even my very social life in this community for LLLC, and now I would no longer stand back and allow them to continue the conversation. I would stand up, even if it meant letting go of something that I felt strongly about.

I have been told I would be welcomed back with open arms should I make that choice later on. At the moment, I will not in the foreseeable future. However, this recent statement from LLLI and LLLC has given me hope that they are slowly moving in the direction of change. Which both surprised me and made me feel as though my own personal resignation may have helped send the message I wanted to send to them- change is needed. The same message many other LLLC members and leaders have also sent.
For your own eyes:


JOINT STATEMENT


La Leche League International and La Leche League of Southern California
are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement and will move
forward together to implement programs and policies that they anticipate
will improve and protect La Leche League's longstanding reputation as the
leading resource and advocate for breastfeeding mothers and their children
worldwide. The changes are expected to improve transparency, communication,
accountability, and inclusiveness within the organization. Anticipated
developments include, among other things, establishment of a Global Leaders
Committee and a formal communications program designed to provide timely La
Leche League information to all Leaders, implementation of a new grievance
procedure, and institution of safeguards to ensure greater autonomy for
Areas and Area Networks. The parties believe that these changes will
advance the organization's mission, and they specifically invite and
encourage all former Leaders to consider rejoining the La Leche League
community consistent with LLLI's policies and expectations for Leaders.



-- 
Our Mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through
mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to
promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in
the healthy development of the baby and mother.



La Leche League International
957 N Plum Grove Rd
Schaumburg, IL 60173 USA


I still highly suggest that anyone who is well-read in this situation contact LLLI or LLLC through email, or mail. Tweet at them, as they both have presences on Twitter, and they even have Facebook pages. I stepped down, not to remove myself from the crossfire, but to be able to openly address this issue from a point of view that would not interfere with my LLLC role, as well, it just morally did not sit well with me. In LLLC terms, I removed my leader hat, so I could effectively address the issue of refusing certain members of the breastfeeding community, especially based on gender. 

Talk about this with your local groups, your friends, and continue to push to remind this vital breastfeeding organization that even the very face of Mother's is changing. Families have evolved, and motherhood is no longer the same as it was even 10 years ago. Use your voice to push for the needed change, so that all mothers can feel welcome, included and supported during their breastfeeding journey. 

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