Thanksgiving- and the act of giving- means different things this year. All of us have been impacted in one way or another by the devastating effects of not one, but two major pandemics: first, a global public health pandemic and second, a racial pandemic that has been festering within our society for centuries.
We ask our partners, allies, and our community to participate and choose to support CALCASA so that we can continue our prevention and advocacy work that isn’t funded by our grant programs.
This year has brought with it unprecedented challenges. Even so, we continue to stand in our values in order to advocate on behalf of rape crisis centers and survivors in California and beyond.
Beginning shortly after the shelter in place mandate went into effect in California, CALCASA leveraged the collective power of our rape crisis centers to create listening spaces in order to better support all of the 63+ Rape Crisis Centers and satellite locations throughout the state. In response, we leveraged funds from CalOES ($1.6M) and CDPH ($325,000) which we disseminated to as many programs as possible dedicated to preventing and ending sexual violence in our communities.
We consistently demonstrate what it means to be fearless, most recently noted in our self reflection which we posted in June acknowledging the role that our movement has had in increasing criminalization of sexual violence and the detrimental effect that has had on ourselves, our BIPOC neighbors, and family members. We understand and proclaim- criminalization will not end sexual violence. We will continue to advocate for investment in prevention because we know, #preventionworks.
We did not cancel our National Sexual Assault Conference. Instead, we made #BoldMoves and rethought our approach in order to elevate the diversity of thought leaders and bring these relevant topics to as many folx free of charge. We do this transformative work because we understand that each and every one of us has a role to play in preventing and ending sexual violence.
We are at a moment where national attention on sexual violence has moved survivors to come forward, and the demand for culture and policy change are greater than ever. We must ask ourselves, what does justice mean for a survivor? For our families? For a community? For our society? Our member rape crisis center programs continue to provide crisis intervention and work on prevention in their communities. We continue to broaden our understanding and forge innovative relationships across movements in order to expand the toolkit of services available to those impacted by sexual harm.
Unlike direct service providers CALCASA as a leader works at the state and national level to end sexual violence through prevention, policy, and advocacy. We know that sexual violence is preventable and we work to change the attitudes that allow sexual misconduct, harassment, and abuse to exist. We educate and work with policymakers to develop approaches that empower survivors and promote prevention. CALCASA advocates for critical survivor resources provided by local and statewide service providers. And we work with systems to assert the dignity of all survivors.