The first in a series of blog posts on evoking change.
As part of the anti-violence movement, AVDA stands at a monumental crossroads at a historic moment in time, and we recognize the role we can play in racial justice. We remain steadfast in our mission to end family violence, especially as we see injustices levied on the defenseless. The same forces of power and control that abusers use were at work in the senseless death of George Floyd, and our hearts are heavy. We are, however, inspired to assess and understand how systemic racism relates to our work in the anti-violence movement and do all that we can to help eradicate the harm it has on those we serve.
For four decades, AVDA has served the Greater Houston area in its mission to end family violence through its Legal Advocacy Program and Battering Intervention and Prevention Program. Although domestic violence occurs in every culture regardless of socioeconomic, educational, and religious background, we recognize that violence disproportionately affects marginalized groups, especially those who experience multiple forms of oppression. The root causes of violence are inextricably interconnected, and we cannot end gender violence unless we also work to end all oppressive systems: patriarchy, sexism, racism, nationalism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, able-ism, audism, anti-Semitism, religious discrimination, and xenophobia/anti-immigrant sentiment.
On one hand, we realize that deep-seated, systemic racism and the inequities that disadvantaged communities of color in the past are still woven into the fabric of our institutions today—from education and housing to the criminal justice system, which mass incarcerates and punishes more harshly people of color than white people. On the other hand, AVDA and our partner domestic violence service providers must take inventory of our own oppression, power imbalances, and racism within our organizations.
We are committed to change—both within our organization and in the communities that we serve. Please follow us on our journey and help us by committing yourself to social and racial justice.
These articles informed this blog post: