The last two years have been difficult for all of us, as we’ve collectively weathered the challenges of living through a global pandemic. And yet, our struggles as individuals during this time have looked different from each other. COVID-19 pulled back the curtain on the disparities that impact communities of color experience, and their access to healthcare, food, shelter, and financing.
While we are incredibly grateful that we’ve had the ability to continue serving survivors through this time, we acknowledge that Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities continue to face racial prejudice and oppression from systemic and institutional racism. Over the last 24 months, we witnessed the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery, and the murders of Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, George Floyd, and Quadry Sanders and many others, including the most recent white supremacist terrorist attack on Black community members in Buffalo, New York. We’ve seen increased violence toward Asian Americans rooted in xenophobia and misogyny and many viral moments of racial bias and hatred on social media channels. And while none of this is new, technology, social media, and a 24-hour news cycle have catapulted this historic struggle into our daily conscience.
For the last eight years, Emerge has evolved and transformed through our commitment to becoming a multicultural, anti-racist organization. Guided by the wisdom of our community, Emerge centers the experiences of people of color both in our organization and in public spaces and systems to provide truly supportive domestic abuse services that can be accessible to ALL survivors.
We invite you to join Emerge in our ongoing work to build a more inclusive, equitable, accessible, and just post-pandemic society.
For those of you who have followed this journey during our previous Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) campaigns or through our social media efforts, this information probably isn’t new. If you have not accessed any of the written pieces or videos in which we uplift our community’s diverse voices and experiences, we hope you will take some time to visit our written pieces to learn more.
Some of our ongoing efforts to disrupt systemic racism and prejudice in our work include:
- Emerge continues to work with national and local experts to provide staff training on the intersections of race, class, gender identity, and sexual orientation. These trainings invite our staff to engage with their lived experiences within these identities and the experiences of the domestic abuse survivors we serve.
- Emerge has become increasingly critical of the way we design service delivery systems to be intentional in creating access for all survivors in our community. We are committed to seeing and addressing survivors’ culturally specific needs and experiences, including personal, generational, and societal trauma. We look at all the influences that make Emerge participants uniquely them: their lived experiences, how they have had to navigate the world based on who they are, and how they identify as human beings.
- We are working to identify and re-imagine organizational processes that create barriers for survivors to access the resources and safety they need.
- With help from our community, we have implemented and are continuing to refine a more inclusive hiring process that centers experience over education, recognizing the value of lived experiences in supporting survivors and their children.
- We have come together to create and provide safe spaces for staff to gather and be vulnerable with each other to acknowledge our individual experiences and allow for each of us to confront our own beliefs and behaviors that we want to change.
Systemic change requires time, energy, self-reflection, and at times discomfort, but Emerge is steadfast in our unending commitment to building systems and spaces that acknowledge the humanity and worth of every human being in our community.
We hope you will stay by our side as we grow, evolve, and build accessible, just, and equitable support for all domestic violence survivors with services that are centered in an anti-racist, anti-oppression framework and are truly reflective of the diversity of our community.
We invite you to join us in creating a community where love, respect, and safety are essential and inviolable rights for everyone. We can achieve this as a community when we, collectively and individually, have tough conversations about race, privilege, and oppression; when we listen and learn from our community, and when we proactively support organizations working towards the liberation of marginalized identities.
You can actively engage in our work by signing up for our enews and sharing our content on social media, participating in our community conversations, organizing a community fundraiser, or donating your time and resources.
Together, we can build a better tomorrow – one that brings racism and prejudice to an end.