The national domestic violence technical assistance agency, Women of Color Network (WOCN), offered three days of intense training and collaboration with GCADV staff to address issues of race and privilege that affect our staff, coalition, survivors and advocates. Throughout the training, GCADV staff considered the history of Georgia and our coalition to better understand the root causes of racism and the ways in which it influences policy, the day-to-day issues that Women of Color advocates and survivors face and reasons why we must address this in Georgia. As leaders in Georgia, GCADV is working to involve communities of color and promote leadership in women of color so that we can work together to address the root causes of domestic violence in ALL communities across the state.
GCADV Executive Director Nicole Lesser said of the WOCN training, “On a micro level, this training was both eye opening and healing for us as a staff, but I really hope it will not stop there. In a state where African-American women are so disproportionally victims of domestic violence homicide, we must take a look as domestic violence service providers to see what we can do to better meet this community’s needs. I have made a commitment to do this, both personally and as an agency, and I hope that our member programs and allied organizations will join us.”
“I am so excited that GCADV brought the WOCN and associates in to work with our staff. We are dedicated to weaving the fiber of the work and the messages that Tonya, Sumayya, Tony and Jane brought with them into our culture here and I know it will enrich what we do both at GCADV and throughout the state. I am personally going to aspire to be a true ally to women of color by helping to sew that common thread of anti-racism and inclusion throughout GCADV,” added GCADV Associate Director Jan Christiansen.
What did other staff have to say about the training?
“Our experience with having the Women of Color Network come and work with us has been quite an eye opener. It has helped me to have a better understanding of how racism has shaped our lives and our work as white women and women of color. It is essential that we in this movement have serious conversations about racism and the way it impacts not only how women of color are served but how it also impacts women of color who are a part of this movement, whether they are working on the front lines or they are working to create systems change on the local, state, and federal level.” – Economic Justice Coordinator
“Working with the WOCN network was a valuable opportunity for both personal and professional growth. We have made individual and collective commitments to continue this work, and I look forward to where it takes us.” – Fatality Review Coordinator
“After spending the time the WOCN, I feel so much clearer about the work I need to do to personally and professionally to address racism around me and be a better ally to women of color. I’m sure the work will be challenging and uncomfortable at times, but I’m really glad to have a plan for moving forward. – Director of Training and Membership
“I am excited and hopeful about the things to come as we challenge ourselves and embark on this area of work supporting women of color.” – Community Resources Coordinator
“After this training, I am more aware of the privileges I have in this world and how I have a responsibility to aspire to ally with women of color. I am hopeful that we will be able to make positive steps toward undoing racism in this state.” – Project Connect Coordinator
“This discussion allowed me to grow in ways I haven’t completely realized yet. I thank everyone at WOCN and GCADV that made this learning possible. I look forward to the real challenge of being a better aspiring ally to not just women of color, but to other groups that have been affected by oppression. I’m glad I was given this learning opportunity early in my work in the movement so that I can continue critical analysis of these issues and act with more insight in the future.” – Communications Coordinator
“The training we did with the WOCN was very eye opening. What goes on under our noses each and every day is sad and scary. We need to work to make a change!” – Director of Finance