Why nearly 2,000 women will wear black this week for the Little Black Dress Initiative


little black dress
The LBD initiative starts March 14. (Junior League of Birmingham)

The Junior League of Birmingham (JLB) is back in black for the second year of their Little Black Dress Initiative—a social media campaign that raises awareness and sparks conversation about Birmingham’s most critical issues and community partners centered around them. Keep reading to learn more about the initiative and the community partners it gives back to.

Back in black

Here’s how the campaign works:

From March 14-21, League members will post on their individual social media platforms wearing black outfits and using hashtag #AskMeWhyIWearBlack in efforts to build a digital community of influence centered around giving back. 

“Not only will we be bringing awareness to the JLB and the work we do in the Birmingham community, we will be raising funds that are crucial to continuing our work and fulfilling our mission. The Junior League of Birmingham decided to bring this initiative to Birmingham because many people know of the JLB but don’t know what we do.

This awareness can both help show people how they can get involved in the Birmingham community but also let people know different ways they can receive help from the JLB. Look for us around town, and ask us why we are wearing black!”

Lauren Tennant, Chair for the Little Black Dress Initiative, JLB


The goal is to spark conversation by wearing black all week long about topics including:

  • human trafficking and domestic violence awareness and prevention
  • health and wellness
  • education
  • food insecurity
  • adult and adolescent literacy

During the first year of the campaign in 2022, nearly 2,000 JLB members participated and raised over $110,000 for their community partners. Money raised by the campaign will directly benefit the JLB’s 29 community projects that are working to improve the lives of those in the Birmingham community.

How the JLB is making an impact on the community

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Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center is one organization impacted by the JLB. (JLB)

One of the many community partners that will directly benefit from this campaign is the Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center.

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center helps breast cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones by working with them to create survivorship plans, matching patients with peers who have gone through what they’re going through and providing free professional mental health counseling and transportation resources to get to medical appointments.

The JLB hosts programs and events at the Forge house to give clients a space where they can gather to connect and have fun, most recently a “Paint the Town Pink” party for clients and their families to have a fun night out with mocktails and a painting class. One guest said this was the first time she’d left the house since her mastectomy and that it was a huge mood booster.

“Having the support of the Junior League of Birmingham is a change maker for a nonprofit like Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center. JLB provides its community partners with not only financial support but also the woman power of its trained volunteers—and money and volunteers are the two ingredients any nonprofit needs to accomplish its mission.”

Lauren Roberts, Executive Director, Forge

Learn more about all of the JLB’s community partners.

How you can support (members + non-members)

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The JLB is a proud partner of One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center. (JLB)

For JLB members, all you need to do is throw on a black dress or outfit for five days and post on your socials with hashtag #AskMeWhyIWearBlack, ideally sparking conversation about the JLB’s work and community partners that go far beyond a five-day period.

“It is important that we as members take every opportunity to spread awareness about the League and all that our organization impacts in our community. From community gatherings, volunteering, everyday to-do’s, to social media and beyond – we want to offer more support for each of our 29 community projects and other agencies in which we partner.”

Martina Winston, President, JLB

No worries—non-members can get involved too by giving back to the JLB. Funds will directly impact projects including:

  • Children’s of Alabama: Family Fun Times
  • Grace Klein Community: Food Distribution
  • Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama: Nourish Alabama Babies
  • Vineyard Family Services: Backpack Buddies
  • The Literacy Council: Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages
  • Crisis Center, Inc.: Rape Response Advocate Program
  • YWCA: Healthy Relationships
  • Collat Jewish Family Services (CJFS): Senior Grocery Delivery Initiative
  • Learn more.

Follow the hashtag #AskMeWhyIWearBlack on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the Little Black Dress initiative. Visit their website to donate or learn more.

Sponsored by:

Callie Puryear
Callie Puryear
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