For the past 5 years, CALCASA has been proud to serve on the Steering Committee for the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF). The NTF is comprised of a large coalition of national advocacy groups and experts focused on the development, passage, and implementation of national policy to address sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994, the NTF has been the leading voice in the country on addressing gender-based violence through public policy.
It has been a tremendous privilege to act as CALCASA’s representative to the NTF during my time here, and to consistently bring a California voice to the national table discussing the most prevalent and emerging policy issues related to domestic and sexual abuse, including immigration, criminal justice reform, firearm policy, VAWA Reauthorization, the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA).
Every day at the NTF, we are living into CALCASA’s theory of justice by asserting the dignity of ALL people, and recognizing that survivors of sexual violence do not live single-issue lives. Survivors are black, survivors are Native, survivors are disabled, survivors are poor, survivors are immigrants, and survivors are queer. We have been proud to apply this understanding to the critical policy work being done at the NTF, and to promote a vision for ending sexual and domestic violence that leaves no one behind. In this spirit, it is one of the great honors of my life to have been a co-founder and one of the first co-chairs of the Black Caucus of the NTF, formed in 2020 during the national reckoning on racial justice arising from the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. The Black Caucus was established to provide a strong representative voice for black advocates and black survivors of gender-based violence on national public policy issues, and to guide the work of the NTF as it relates to issues affecting black families and the black community. We are active in the conversation around re-evaluating the movement to end sexual and domestic violence’s longstanding relationship with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, and endeavor to ensure that black voices are heard in every discussion and decision that affects black people.
As the only statewide sexual assault coalition with a seat on the Steering Committee for the NTF, CALCASA also recognizes the solemn responsibility to consistently advocate specifically for survivors of sexual assault and rape crisis centers, and to make sure that their voices are not lost within a broader conversation about gender-based violence. We are proud to stand with our strong partner organizations focused specifically on sexual assault, including the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault, and more. CALCASA will always be a voice for survivors and rape crisis centers wherever we go, and leading the nation from California will continue to be a strategy of which we are deeply proud.