Last week the federal Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Housing and Urban Development hosted 10 regional Town Halls on Engaging Men and Boys in Eliminating Violence Against Women. I had to opportunity to attend the session for Region IX held in Oakland, CA on October 27, 2011 where I moderated the session on engaging men. The results of these Town Halls will be shared with Vice President Joe Biden.
Over 100 people, including representatives of many California Rape Crisis Centers, attended this series of panels and opportunities for community feedback. My highlights included:
- Frank Blaney of Peace Over Violence, describing his work with MyStrength Clubs in Los Angeles. He also explained why he uses the term “young men” instead of “boys” in recognition that all the young men he works with aspire to be “men” and in acknowledgement of the racism where African-American males have been historically called boys regardless of the age.
- Jennifer Rauhouse of Peer Solutions from Phoenix, AZ, describe her top hints for everyone, including men, boys and young people, in the prevention of relationship violence. For example,
- We must view everyone as part of the solution, not the problem
- It is helpful to presume men, boys and young people care about preventing relationship violence, want to be included, do not wants someone they care about getting hurt and most likely have been harmed by relationship violence.
- Donna Garske of Center for Domestic Peace’s Transforming Communities describing how she sees “unlearning violence is a revolutionary and evolutionary process.”
- Ernest Brown describing the misuse of biblical fragments and the importance of men being active to prevent violence,, based on his experience with From Bruised and Battered to Blessed Ministries.
- Wilfred Brown of STAND for Families Free of Violence highlighting how over 200 men have been honored in the last 6 Men of Merit annual awards in Contra Costa County, CA.
- Mario Ozuna-Sanchez from the National Compadres Network describing the culturally relevant rites of passage and violence prevention work of El Joven Noble.
- Chic Dabby of the Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence calling for us to replace “relationships of power with relationships of meaning.” She reminded us not only raising young men to respect other, but also to become active in working with their communities to prevent violence.
If you attended one of these town halls, what where your highlights?