Friday, October 30, 2020 by Action Alliance

A Declaration of Our Values

The Year 2020 has become yet another pivotal point in our history when we are loudly called to stand up for what we value. Justice for those whom we work with every day. Justice for ourselves and in service to our collective liberation. At this very moment we face challenges that seek to halt the conversation and restrict access to education that opens our minds and changes behaviors. Behaviors that usher in better ways of being in community with each other. When these challenges come from the highest position in the land, the presidency, it reminds us that power wielded without concern for those most impacted is akin to the same power and control that we see so frequently in our day-to-day work as advocates for survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence.  

Progress is often met with backlash. The President’s Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (signed September 2020) effectively prohibits future trainings that will address racism and sexism. It seeks to hide and deny the ways in which this country has historically created policies and shaped behaviors that favor and center whiteness and masculinity. It prohibits the use of theories and topics of study that provide a contextual and historical framework for understanding these issues and combatting them.  

In our work to dismantle the harmful systems of white supremacy and end all forms of violence these overt attempts to silence can feel like a roadblock. We also know that such orders coming from positions of power are meant to intimidate and instill hesitation and fear among those who are doing liberatory work. Fortunately, we know that we can overcome these challenges when we remember and stand firmly with the knowledge that our collective power is stronger than those few who seek to take it away from us. We must remain dedicated and steadfast to uplifting the voices of those who are marginalized while those voices are actively being silenced. 

Over the years we have been challenged and stretched to move as a coalition of sexual and domestic violence agencies towards a more collective, abundant, liberatory, and hopeful future. We have been having hard conversations about the disheartening truths of history and its current harmful impacts on our beloved communities. We have done so by naming the ways in which we are harmed and have caused harm. In many cases, that means openly training on the importance of naming where and how racism shows up and working through an anti-racist lens. We understand that these discussions may be uncomfortable, and we know that by leaning into this discomfort we will create a path for change, liberation for all, and a world free of violence.   

As we stand in our collective power we are reminded of our values: Collective Action, Advocacy, Equity, Commitment, Abundance, Bravery Responsibility, Respect, Joy, and Social Justice.  

These values challenge us to do more than learn. They challenge us to be better, not only for ourselves but for all of us as a community of people working to end violence in all its forms. This requires us to align our work, move closer to understanding, and provide support to each other through these actions: 
• Ask yourself, what issues as an advocate are at stake in the upcoming election? What do survivors, their families, and their communities need in order to fully thrive?  
• Vote early and in every election. Use your power, use your voice.  
• Think about the many ways you can show up for racial justice. 
• Continue to educate yourself and practice liberation in your daily life – in your personal growth, in your relationships, place of worship, school, workplace, or community, and in the ways you interact with and shape policy, media, and institutional narratives.  
• Have hard conversations about race, privilege, and oppression with yourself and your family.  
• Show up in community, show up with community – wherever that community might be; your street or neighborhood, your place of worship, your school, your work, your community of choice. 
• Donate to mutual aid efforts – widen the social safety net and support those in your community who may need help.  
• Challenge yourself to be the change. 
• Read then sign on to “We Govern” from the Resonance Network, a powerful new statement that gives us a roadmap by which people determine the norms and rules that guide our everyday life and behavior. 

To our Black and POC colleagues:  
We see you. We can feel the weight of injustice that gets cast upon your shoulders as you work, support community, co-workers, and yourselves. The actions of this current moment and the environment we are in is not new, nor should it be taken lightly. We know that each day comes with a new set of challenges, whether it be in the news, in our communities, in our places of employment, or in our minds. We see you and will be here for a listening ear and support. If you are Black and/or a person of color and would like a place to caucus please reach out to Cortney: to get added to the POC Caucus mailing list. If you are prevention focused please reach out to Raelyn: to get connected to the Black Preventionist Space.  

As Angela Davis so wisely noted, “Movements are most powerful when they begin to affect the vision and perspective of those who do not necessarily associate themselves with those movements.” Advocates and preventionists: let our light and vision for the future be so compelling that others cannot resist being called to join us. Let our guiding values and collective action be a beacon in these times. 

In Solidarity,
The Action Alliance