Today is the second day of the A.S.C.E.N.D. Academy, and the focus of the morning is managing from an anti-oppression framework. The facilitator is Yolanda Gotier, executive director Alternatives to Family Violence in Colorado.
This morning, the trainees are working in small groups to talk about anti- “isms.” Each group was assigned a different “ism:” anti-racism, anti-ablism, anti-ageism, anti-sexism, anti-heterosexism and class oppression. Then, each team was tasked with defining its particular “ism” and creating a work plan to address the “ism” within the workplace.
Yolanda talked about the importance of anti-oppression work for meeting the needs of clients within rape crisis centers. She said that if agencies aren’t meeting client needs, those clients will go somewhere else to find what they need. And she added that this anti- “ism” work can’t be done in silos, but it has to be holistic work.
“I can’t to anti-oppression work only at work and make it real,” she said. “I have to call it when I see it — when I’m in an environment that makes me very uncomfortable. As a leader, I need people around me who will lovingly tell me, ‘I don’t think so. Have you thought about? Did you do _____?”
At the end of the morning session, Yolanda asked this question to the group: If I had to come to my agency to receive services, would I stay or would I go?
I think this is a great question for all agencies who are doing the work to end sexual violence. Even if your workplace doesn’t provide direct services, would you feel welcomed at your agency? Feedback please! 🙂
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