Domestic violence is an issue of social injustice, rooted in oppression. To end domestic violence, active steps must be taken at individual, local, regional, and statewide levels to end all forms of oppression. More specifically, domestic violence cannot end without addressing the oppression of Women of Color (WOC).
Ending Racism in our Organization
In 2010, GCADV recognized that this critical piece of anti-oppression analysis was missing from our work, specifically in the work of undoing and ending racism. When we took a closer look at ourselves, we found that not only was this analysis missing from our work to end domestic violence, but as an organization, we were contributing to the perpetuation of racism.
GCADV’s first step was to conduct an internal evaluation of our own organization’s history of oppression and racism. This evaluation included conducting a human resources audit in 2010 of all staff members and former Women of Color (WOC) employees. The evaluation uncovered that WOC staff members experienced overt and covert racism while on the job and did not feel safe bringing their whole selves to their work. Current and former WOC staff members experienced micro-aggressions from white staff members, which further undermined their work and contributed to an unhealthy work environment.
Furthermore, WOC were given minimal support to succeed in their positions. There were limited opportunities for professional development and few leadership positions available to them. The conditions created by the covert and overt racism at GCADV led to many WOC staff leaving under less than desirable circumstances, especially when compared with their white colleagues.
With the results of the internal evaluation, GCADV made undoing racism an organizational priority. This includes:
- Actively incorporating strategies for supporting WOC leadership into GCADV’s strategic plan;
- Adapting hiring practices to be more inclusive of WOC;
- Developing a plan to hire, develop and retain WOC staff;
- Creating and distributing GCADV job announcements where WOC are;
- Dedicating time monthly for Aspiring White Allies to learn, reflect and examine the impact of their privilege;
- Creating safe spaces for Women of Color voices’ to be heard, to receive professional opportunities and heal from the emotional labor of experiencing intersectional oppression.
These efforts are the beginning of GCADV’s ongoing commitment to not only end domestic violence, but to end oppression and promote racial justice.
Continue on to learn about how we are Looking Ahead.