This weekend, we saw oppression, violence, bigotry, and hate manifest in Charlottesville, Virginia. We know the same forces that white supremacists rely on to incite violence – power and control and fear – are the same forces that normalize sexual violence.
Every day there seems to be new examples of institutionalized oppression that should serve as warning signs so we are no longer surprised by these kinds of events. Dakota Access Pipeline. The deaths of Freddy Gray, Walter Scott, Michael Brown, Jr., Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and many others. HB2. Executive Order 13769. The writing is on the proverbial wall: the pursuit of equity and justice is perceived as a threat to the status quo and for it we must fight daily.
It’s up to us to listen to communities directly impacted by injustice so we are all prepared to share the burden of speaking truth to power, to recognize our responsibility to push back on harmful words and actions rather than avoiding an uncomfortable conversation, and to acknowledge some of the daily micro- (and not so micro) aggressions that serve as opportunities for allies to stand together against harmful actions and social norms.
We must acknowledge the daily lived experiences of people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, and other marginalized groups silenced by hatred and institutional power, rather than looking the other way or denying these realities because it is inconvenient or anxiety-producing for the majority. Active and ongoing allyship is vital and must be ongoing, especially for the safety of those who don’t have the privilege of feeling safe!
We all know that denouncing Nazis and white supremacy should not be difficult or contemplated for very long. But we must also acknowledge the slow, insidious ways the moral fabric of our society can be dominated by those with harmful intentions and hate-fueled, protectionist agendas. We share this so that our friends, allies, members, and the survivors for whom we all work know that NJCASA is with you: In support of equity. In support of justice. In support of your voice being heard. And in solidarity.
We’re proud to stand with and do this work with brilliant colleagues at statewide coalitions across the nation, and encourage you to check out their reactions and statements as well:
- Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
- Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault
- Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault
- Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
- Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
- Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence
- Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center
- National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
- Jane Doe, Inc.