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Only 76 days before the start of DVAM 2019...

5 Takeways & Lessons Learned at Facing Race 2018 a National Conference presented by Race Forward & Center for Social Inclusion

by Justine Robillard, Creative Media Specialist for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Facing Race Conference Image 1

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) is devoted to continual learning and education around racial justice as a core element of our gender and social justice work. We refer to this collective journey as our Racial Justice Initiative. For our organization, this means that our staff and board at all levels are dedicated to investing in racial equity and bringing it to the front and center of our work. This November, it also meant that several of my colleagues and I were able to attend the #FacingRace 2018 Conference.

As a first time attendee I was overwhelmed with the sense that we (our organization & our movement) are part of something much larger. You see, as anti-violence advocates, we speak of “intersectionality” and “bridging gaps” and working with “sister” movements. At this conference we had the privilege of seeing first-hand the intersectional approach Race Forward takes when addressing social justice inequities. We were able to experience the coming together of sister movements, embracing their unique values and perspectives in a way that enhanced and moved conversations forward.

Tarana Burke stated that sexual violence intersects with all justice work: prison abolishment, police reform, economic justice, community health, housing, and homelessness. “Sexual violence is a racial justice issue, economic justice issue, community health issue, police brutality issue, LGBTQ issue, human rights issue.”

In the closing plenary Is America Possible? Building a Multiracial Democracy in an Era of Division, panelists explored steps for moving forward and taking the energy, bold truths and raw facts from this conference to empower our lives and our movements in a realistic change-making way.

“Alignment; let’s be smart. Let’s have a strategy and work together across differences.” - Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson

What does this mean for advocates working in their respective movements? We’ve highlighted just a few of the many take-aways from Facing Race that resonated with NRCDV team members who attended the conference.

1. Honor your ancestors & the space you are in.
2. Reimagine a World
3. The Power of Stories
4. Unjust, Not Unfortunate
5. Be Rigorous!  

 

1. Honor your ancestors & the space you are in.

“We are the children of the ones who did not die;

We are the children of the people who can fly;

We are the children of the ones who persevered;

We are fearless, we are strong, and we’re ready to carry on.”

- Song led by Wendy Moore-O’Neal, Conference Weaver

Honoring the story of the space you are walking into, as well as the history and culture that you, yourself and your ancestors bring is exceedingly important. This serves not only to ground you in the culture and communities you are working with and for, but also to break down walls that you or others in the room may put up when entering a workspace. This is also an opportunity to acknowledge the history and voices of those who have come before you.

“Recognizing the power of Truth telling. We won't get to justice until we can actually tell the truth about our history” - Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson

So, what does this look like?

Race Forward was intentional about honoring the land we were on, those who walked it before us, and those who walk it today. They did so through community agreements, and showcasing the rich history of Detroit, especially its indigenous populations. They brought leaders such as Grace and Jimmy Boggs, the water warriors of Michigan’s water crisis, and labor rights activists to the forefront and made space for Detroit's leaders in arts and music.

 2. Reimagine a WorldRace Forward Image 3

Throughout the conference many speakers challenged us to not only reimagine the world around us, but how you are going to be present. They challenged us to reimagine new systems, such as public goods and services; reimagine how we utilize our land and natural resources; reimagine how we value labor, and where we put our financial resources. Reimagine democracy. Reimagine your own body. What would your body be shaped like without oppression or exploitation? How would you look and how would you move? What would it look like if you shared this vision of yourself with the world? It was extremely challenging to envision ourselves and our systems in ways that are different from what we currently have, but it is this radical reimagining that has the ability to create major impactful change.

“Creating the condition for people to feel free to imagine a world with new possibilities.” - Bree Newsome

3. The Power of Stories

Race Forward Image 4At Facing Race a few of us were able to attend FRED Talks (Facing Race, Elevating Democracy) featuring stories, strategies, and lived experiences of advocates and leaders from communities most impacted by societal oppressions. These stories remind us not only that our work is not yet done, but the importance of engaging with our sister movements, continual open dialoge, and the power of sharing our stories. Every story holds a different perspective or lens. It is through these perspectives that new lessons, barriers, and learning moments are revealed, and from which more comprehensive and innovative solutions can be found.

Let me put it another way. Say we’re playing “Escape the [social inequity] Room.” Every story holds a different perspective and each perspective holds a different key. If we do not share, listen, learn and respect the stories of our siblings fighting for justice, we are aimlessly trying to “escape the room” without access to all the keys to open the locks.

4. Unjust, Not Unfortunate

“When we leave people at unfortunate, not at unjust, we aren't addressing the systems of oppression. We aren't holding institutions accountable or pushing them to do better. We aren't pushing for real change.” – Adrienne Maree Brown

As advocates, we fight injustice daily. The injustices we face have become so normalized by society that systemic oppression is often labeled as merely ”unfortunate.”Facing Race Image 6

Adrienne Maree Brown reminded us that when we label struggles caused by poverty, racism, and homophobia as unfortunate, and not unjust, we are removing ourselves from the humanity of these situations. If a situation is unfortunate, like a scrape or cut, we address it with Band-Aid solutions, because unfortunate problems may heal or resolve themselves in time. We need to be bold and acknowledge when things are more than just unfortunate. It’s unjust to listen to lived experiences and not offer a path to healing and change.

Justice requires movement; it requires systemic change; it requires acknowledgement; and it requires more than a Band-Aid. An unjust situation may require stitches, surgery, the setting of bones, or even the re-breaking of bones to then be set right. Justice is messy and hard it requires real change.

5. Be Rigorous!

Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson reminds us to "Study. Be disciplined and rigorous in what's happening now and what has happened in history. Do work. And evaluate and grow as you continue to work.”

Advocacy is hard and sometimes draining, and self-care is important, but we cannot stop! We must be rigorous in our study and learning and rigorous in the inclusion of others and their unique perspectives, because they are valuable not because they are a statistic. We must be rigorous in uncovering and acknowledging the hidden histories of our nation and oppressed peoples, and rigorous in developing our own work and growth. We must be rigorous in evaluating our progress, learning from our failures and continuing to get back up, and rigorous in helping one another get back up and into the race.

“Let’s roll together. Solidarity is a practice. You have to do it… There are opportunities to build solidarity in our shared fate. If you come for one of us, you come for all of us… We need revolutionary strategies. Let’s use our visionary muscles.” - Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson

These takeaways by no means reflect all the wisdom we gathered in this space. With well over 100 workshops, not including plenaries, planned Race Flicks, Racial Justice Reads, and social events, this conference was packed full of learning for everyone at every level of racial justice work. Check out our December TAQ (Technical Assistance Question of the Month) on VAWnet, where Ivonne Ortiz speaks to her experience attending the Race Forward conference as a woman of color and addresses the question “As a woman of color; how can I find my place in the domestic violence movement?”

Learn more about how you can put these awesome ideas into practice! Some ideas to get you started:
• PreventIPV, Tools for Social Change: https://preventipv.org/
• MEV’s Resource Library: https://www.movetoendviolence.org/resources/
• Race Forward’s research https://www.raceforward.org/research
• Race Forward’s news outlet, Colorlines: https://www.colorlines.com/
• December TAQ: We exist! As a woman of color; how can I find my place in the domestic violence movement?

 


 

 

16 Days of Activism: End Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work

 

From the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25th to International Human Rights Day on December 10th, the 16 Days of Activism campaign motivates us to take action in our communities to end all forms of gender-based violence around the world.

 


 

Voter Engagement and Participation: An Important Role for Advocates

As advocates working with and on behalf of survivors of domestic and sexual violence, we are often in a unique position to see the real impact that laws and policies have on people’s daily lives – on their safety, health, economic security, and well-being. We can notice patterns and gaps in how systems are or are not responding, and by deeply listening to survivors and communities, we can help identify policy solutions that can make a significant positive difference.•

 


 

DVAM2018: What's Your #1Thing?

Social justice movements thrive when each person does their part in advancing the cause. For some, this might mean canvassing in your community before a local election or volunteering for a local crisis line. It could also be educating your loved ones about microaggressions, showing up regularly to rallies for racial justice, or sharing your story of resilience as a survivor.

“Doing your part” to end domestic violence looks different for each and every one of us, but the key is that we act. When we go beyond raising awareness to taking action by showing up, stepping in, and speaking out, real social change is possible. That’s why, for Domestic Violence Awareness Month(DVAM) this October, we’re challenging you to find the “one thing” you can do to promote social change, and then take ACTION! What’s Your #1Thing?

 

 

Call For Stories: My #1Thing

NRCDV Radio’s Stories of Transformation podcast station is dedicated to lifting up and honoring the voices of survivors and advocates, featuring interviews with advocates from the field, real life stories from survivors, and innovative practices in advocacy. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), we mourn those who have lost their lives because of domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived, and connect individuals who work to end gender-based violence. This year we are inspiring action through a unified#1Thing message. We invite you to join us and share your One Thing!

 


 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2018: Honoring Our Elders

WEAAD 2018June 15 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a time to honor survivors of elder abuse and raise awareness about this global social issue that impacts the health and human rights of older persons worldwide. [...] In conjunction with WEAAD, NCALL is releasing some exciting new educational resources this month, including three new Training of Trainers (TOT) modules: Creating Engaging Interactive Presentations and Trainings, Interactive Training Techniques and Including Older Survivors, and Tips for Trainers. These modules, which are part of the Trainers’ Toolkit, offer helpful tips and strategies on how to lead successful training events. The toolkit also includes presentation materials for use in creating your own elder abuse training.

 


SAAMDayofAction

 

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: Celebrating Resilience

Experiences of trauma can significantly impact the mental health of survivors and their children, so this May, we’re uplifting the importance of addressing trauma and other mental health concerns for Mental Health Month. Thursday, May 10th marks National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, which draws attention to the importance of addressing children’s mental health as an essential part of healthy development from birth. This year’s theme, Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma, highlights the need for integrated health approaches to supporting children, youth, and young adults who have experienced trauma. While we know that trauma is a common human experience, we also know that human beings have a remarkable capacity for resilience.

 


 

SAAMDayofActionSAAM 2018: Embrace Your Voice

“The things you say every day send a message about your beliefs and values. When you stand up for survivors of sexual violence, you send a powerful message that you believe and support them.” National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Your voice matters! In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April, our friends at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center are calling on all of us to use our voices to support survivors, promote everyday consent, and practice healthy communication with children and youth. By embracing our voices, we can create a culture of respect, equality, and safety for all.

 

 


 

International Women's Day 2018International Women's Day 2018 Artwork: Anisah...

International Women’s Day is a global day honoring the strength, resilience, and achievements of women and inspiring action to accelerate greater gender equity. Each year on March 8th, celebrate the lived experiences and contributions of those who tirelessly demand gender, racial, economic, and social justice for all women and girls. At NRCDV, we celebrate International Women’s Day each year by commissioning or purchasing a piece of woman-made artwork that honors the struggles and successes of women around the world. This year, we are excited to highlight “Anisah: First Generation Latina Teen, Human & Civil Rights Spoken Word Artist, Muslim” by Perla Sofia González Marinel-Lo, and to release a podcast featuring Anisah González.

 


 

Healthy Me, Healthy We! Self-Care as a Strategy for Promoting Healthy Relationships and Social Justice

What is your self-care slogan? For Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month (Teen DV Month), our friends at Break the Cycle released the Healthy Me, Healthy We! campaign, which includes a video inviting youth to embark on a self-love journey and to find their “self-care slogan.” According to Break the Cycle’s video, knowing your self-care slogan is the first step to a healthy relationship with yourself and others. We at the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) couldn’t agree more!

 


 

Storytelling as a Tool for Raising Awareness & Inspiring Action

The telling of stories is in our human nature. From visual stories such as the cave paintings of prehistorical times, to oral stories passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth, to today’s digital stories, storytelling has always been a part of human interaction. Storytelling reflects who we are and allows us to recapture, record, share and make meaning of our lived experiences.

 


 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Building Strong Support for LGBT Older Adults (June 15, 2017)

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is recognized annually on June 15th. Since its inception in 2006, communities throughout the country and around the world have used this day to increase the visibility of elder abuse by raising awareness about abuse, neglect, and exploitation in later life and promoting the resources and services that work to increase victim safety and improve offender accountability.

 


 

#TeenDVMonth 2017: The Power of Youth Activism

Young people have the power to change our world. They can; they will; they do. Youth activism has propelled social justice movements throughout history, and today we are seeing youth taking on more issues than ever, employing a variety of creative strategies to accomplish real change.

 


 

Awareness + Action = Social Change: How a bold and courageous social justice approach can help heal and re-energize our movement

This October, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) is building upon conversations from 2015 around Awareness + Action = Social Change by offering key awareness activities and action steps for propelling us forward together.

 


 

Let’s Talk About Elder Abuse: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, 2016

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was established by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations on June 15, 2006. WEAAD’s goal is to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

 


 

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month 2016: Empowered Youth on the Margins

This February, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence is committed to bringing the experiences and needs of teens from marginalized communities to the forefront and lifting up the amazing social justice work of youth leaders on the margins. These young people (namely, Native youth, immigrants and teens in communities of color, teens with disabilities, teens who identify as LGBTQ, teens who are low-income, runaway or homeless, among others) have unique experiences and their voices are critical to any meaningful conversation about preventing and responding to dating violence and to our overall goal of creating safe and healthy communities.


 

Awareness + Action = Social Change: Why racial justice matters in the prevention equation

En español: Conocimiento Social + Acción = Cambio Social: Por qué es importante incluir la justicia racial como parte de la ecuación de prevención (Casa de Esperanza)

Domestic violence is preventable! This October, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence seeks to foster healthy families and communities by encouraging all of us to be part of the equation Awareness + Action = Social Change. This concept originated from the Transforming Communities: Technical Assistance, Training, and Resource Center (TC-TAT), providing leadership in prevention since 1997. Awareness + Action = Social Change is a framework that offers an opportunity to engage in critical conversations about what Action looks like.

 


 

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 2015: Promoting Youth Leadership

During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and throughout the year, it is important to highlight the role that youth leadership has played as an effective strategy in the prevention of teen dating abuse. Research shows that young people are disproportionately impacted by partner violence, with more than 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men experiencing some form of intimate partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age (CDC, 2011). When dealing with issues that directly affect their lives, it only makes sense that young people are meaningfully included in the planning and implementation of solutions. Teens, therefore, are best positioned to inform adults about the abuse that is impacting their lives and about effective strategies for promoting healthy relationships.

 


 

National Runaway Prevention Month 2014: Piecing it all Together

Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away every year (Hammer, Finkelhor & Sedlak, 2002). This figure is staggering, yet the problem seems invisible. When a youth runs away, the impact is felt throughout the entire community. Statistics from The National Runaway Safeline show that the majority (29%) of callers identify family dynamics (divorce, remarriage, step/blended families, problems with family rules, discipline, or problems with siblings) and abuse as the reason for their call. Often kids run away from home to remove themselves from an immediately painful situation, but they have no plans or resources for what to do next.

 


 

The Link between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), several domestic violence shelter programs across the country will be observing National SAF-T Day, held annually on the first Saturday in October. This national event originated in 2010 as an opportunity for shelters to host a local dog walk or other community event to raise funds to start or sustain an on-site pet housing program and awareness regarding the co-occurrence between animal abuse and domestic violence.

Why is such an initiative so important? Advocates have learned that abusive partners often use the bond between victims and their companion animals to control, manipulate, and isolate their victims. Research indicates that 20 to 65% of domestic violence victims delay leaving a dangerous situation because they don’t know where to place or how to protect their pets. Some survivors return because they fear for the animals’ safety (NRCDV, 2014).

 


 

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Logo

Every year, approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner. It is also known that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. In light of these alarming facts, every year during the month of February advocates join efforts to raise awareness about dating violence, highlight promising practices, and encourage communities to get involved.

There are many resources available to provide information and support to victims and assist service providers and communities to decrease the prevalence of dating violence among young people. Anyone can make this happen by raising awareness about the issue, saying something about abuse when you see it and organizing your community to make a difference. Take Action!

 


Universal Prayer

2013 National Call of Unity

Did you miss the Call of Unity? A recording of the session can be heard via this link with messages from national leaders, survivors, and advocates, and the dual-voice spoken word poems of ClimbingPoeTREE. The 4th Annual National Call of Unity Summary (Storify) includes links to the inspiring resources that were shared including poetry, prayer, stories, and words of gratitude and hope. View and download the Universal Prayer for use at your October 2013 DVAM Events and beyond!

 


 

Focus on Elders for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15th

Everyone knows and cares about an older person at some point in their lives; many of us throughout our entire lives—whether that person is a grandparent, an elderly parent, a mentor or coach, or an older person that has been influential to us in some way. Unfortunately, statistics show that one in ten people age 60 and older are victimized by elder abuse.

The Administration on Aging (AoA) defines elder abuse as any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Please read on (by clicking the link above) for ways to increase your awareness of this crime and determine ways you can be involved in preventing its occurrence.

 


 

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Organized by the Office on Women’s Health, within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human ServicesNational Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, held annually on March 10th, seeks to raise awareness of the disease’s impact on women and girls, and empower people with the knowledge and tools to make a difference. Listed after the jump are several ways you can be a part of these efforts in your community, state, across the nation, and around the world!

 


 

DVAM 2012 - NO MORE CAMPAIGN

Everyone is impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault either directly or indirectly, but many do not realize it. Now is the time to change that. Our goal this year is to teach men, youth, women — everyone within our communities — how to recognize domestic violence and offer support to speak openly about it.

This year we are joining others in saying NO MORE. Learn more below about the NO MORE CAMPAIGN and key International Public Awareness Campaigns addressing gender-based violence.

 


 

International Public Awareness Campaigns that Address Violence Against Women

Every year, UN Women: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women join with Say NO-UNiTE to End Violence Against Women to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. 16 Days of Activism begins on November 25 and continues through December 10 to raise awareness of this devastating issue that knows no bounds and to inspire action to end this pervasive human rights violation across the globe. Their website contains a global policy agenda, activist stories and videos demonstrating the work of their grantees, and 16 Ways to Say NO to Violence Against Women Action Steps.