We grieve with the nation over the brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and the subsequent violent response to peaceful protests. As our sister coalitions work to relocate domestic violence shelters and survivors from parts of their cities that are burning or experiencing violent outbreaks, we have started to take a hard look at how we address anti-Black racism in Hawai‘i. Yes, we stand in solidarity with racial justice advocates and are outraged by the senseless killings and violence, but that is not enough. We assert that to truly do the work to end domestic violence in Hawaiʻi we must equally fight for the dignity of people who live here. Black Lives Matter in Hawaiʻi too. As advocates against gender-based violence, we know that domestic violence is intricately linked to disrupting systems of oppression and ending racism. In Hawai‘i, we work to address the effects of colonialism and oppression on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, people of color and those living in Hawaiʻi’s margins. Have we done enough to understand and acknowledge anti-Black racism here and how anti-black racism is rooted in slavery and institutionalized in every sector of American society? The criminal justice system is perhaps the most deeply entrenched in racist policies and practices. Consequently, for many victims of domestic violence calling the police is not an option, and with each new event triggered by police brutality, victims are increasingly losing faith in the criminal justice system. While the domestic violence movement has successfully drawn the nation’s attention to issues of the legal repercussions for perpetrators of domestic violence, has it been at the expense of rectifying the social conditions and systemic inequities that allow domestic violence to flourish in our communities? Should we also focus on more solutions that would prevent violence in the first place? Today, we are called to challenge our views and biases and the systems we trusted to protect us. We are challenged to imagine and embrace a broader view of what a world free from violence in all its forms can look like. We invite you to join us on the journey to develop a framework to prevent domestic violence, one that centers on anti-racism and freedom from oppression.
Below are training resources to begin the conversation within our organizations (with additional resources here):
Anti-Racism as Violence Prevention from Futures Without Violence
Exploring Intersections: A Primer on Racial Violence from WCSAP is one tool of many to uproot racial oppression
Watch: 13th (Directed Ava DuVernay) available Netflix
Read: Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, by Ibram X. Kendi
Here are some of the initiatives we have been working on for the last several months that we hope will move us in that direction:
We’ll be reaching out to members and community partners to help inform the strategic plan for HSCADV. This planning process will be facilitated by Dave Nakashima, principal at Nakashima & Associates. Over the past 28 years, Dave has been providing group facilitation, strategic planning, project management and program technical assistance to national, statewide and local collaborative efforts addressing Diversity Equity and Inclusion issues.
The next membership meeting has been moved to June 23, 2020 9am-12pm and will consist of a workshop on Trauma, Compassion Fatigue and Self-Care led by Sharon A. Simms, MSW CPC, the CEO of SAS Services, LLC. Not your typical trauma workshop, this training session is built on the premise that we have an ethical responsibility to develop trauma informed practices for our organizations.
Sharon has 20 years of experience working in human/social services and has worked within the nonprofit sector for over 17 years. She has a passion for identifying ways to assist agencies in providing effective programs and services to their clientele.
Our annual conference is back and will be virtual, August 3-6, 2020. The conference “Building on the Strengths of Our Community” will have an emphasis on prevention. Stay tuned for more information and registration link in the next week.
The keynote will be delivered by Arlene Vassell, Vice President of Programs, Prevention & Social Change at the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Arlene joined the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) as staff in 2015. Prior to joining staff, Arlene served as the Vice-Chair of NRCDV’s Board of Directors from 2011 to 2015. Arlene supervises NRCDV’s Programs & Prevention and Communications Teams and oversees several key initiatives, including the Domestic Violence Awareness Project and PreventIPV.
Angelina Mercado, Executive Director
Board of Directors, Hawai‘i State Coalition Against Domestic Violence