For its second year, the Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI)—a poverty awareness campaign to make poverty unfashionable— encouraged members of the Junior League Tulsa (JLT), along with the Greater Tulsa and surrounding areas, to participate and illustrate the effects poverty can have on women. Women wore the same little black dress, and men wore the same black slacks and jacket for five consecutive days from Monday, October 10 through Friday, October 14. Rather than asking for monetary donations this year, JLT hosted an accessory drive for Dress for Success, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. This year also marked Dress for Success’s 15th anniversary.
Women in poverty feel effects such as limited access to resources, opportunities, and confidence. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Oklahoma is one of the poorest states in the country, with more than half of the state’s counties having an average income of at or below the federal poverty level. Oklahoma’s poverty rate is 16.1%, which is well above the national rate of 13.5%. A single parent in Oklahoma who is working a full-time job at minimum wage will still fall under the national poverty line.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oklahoma has the nation’s third-highest rate of people working at or below the minimum wage. While federal programs, such as food stamps and unemployment, can soften the blow, they are only a temporary relief to the overall issue.
KJRH 2 Works for You anchors Darcy Jackson, Kristen Horne, and Tanya Wright participated in the LBDI campaign all week as well as interviewed JLT members during Monday’s midday segment. Over 200 buttons were distributed for members to wear throughout the week to spark awareness of the initiative.
Anna Smith lead this year’s LBDI, bringing a fun social media contest to encourage participation through a daily selfie contest. Smith said she “loved the feedback we received about the landmark locations being JLT-specific community partners. We hoped that having the locations as such would bring our members out to those locations to better familiarize them with our community outreach, since many members have yet to be placed on Committees for those programs. It was great to see women getting out there to promote all of the good in our community.”
Congratulations and thank you for your participation to this year’s LBDI Selfie winners:
Monday: Meagan L. Tyler at Dress for Success Tulsa
Tuesday: Erin Burgess at Westside Harvest Market
Wednesday: Courtney Wayland at Street School
Thursday: Kayley Nammari at Resonance
Friday: Kacie Frazier at the Central Library