We just completed the second Dismantling Oppressions Work Group’s Anti Oppression Institute, At the Crossroads of Race and Queer, in Los Angeles, CA and, from what I heard, it was a day of challenges, understanding, appreciation and “aha” moments  for participants and facilitators alike.  The Dismantling Oppressions Work Group (DOWG) is a group composed of some of CALCASA’s Leadership as well as other allies in the movement for Social Justice.  CALCASA and the DOWG group were grateful to be able to provide two opportunities for Rape Crisis Center Executive Directors and Managers to convene and discuss issues of Oppression within the movement, their agencies and their communities.
The DOWG Group focused on topics such as Oppression, Internalized Oppression, Intersection Issues, Resistance, Insurgence and Liberation.  The 2-Day Institute touched on issues of homophobia, heterosexism, racism and transphobia and how those intersect with our clients needs and experiences. In order to provide the most holistic services and support to survivors, it is important to keep in mind that it is very likely that survivors are also experiencing trauma associated with other forms of Oppression, not just sexism.  As Audre Lorde once stated:

There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, because we don’t live single-issue lives

Participants had an opportunity to discuss how these issues affect not just survivors of violence but advocates in the movement as well.  Talking about issues of Racism and Oppression is never an easy discussion to have, but we were very happy to see how many Rape Crisis Center E.D.’s and Managers made the time and commitment to attend this Anti Oppression Institute.  CALCASA and the DOWG Group hope to continue working together to provide similar trainings to Rape Crisis Centers in the near future.