June 02, 2022
Written by D, a visionary changemaker & caretaker who works with the Idaho Coalition as a Bilingual Social Change Associate:
Every Pride season, I try not to cringe at the sign of rainbows and performative “affirmations” welcoming Queer and Trans folks. I get that most of the celebratory energy is well-intentioned, but I can’t shake the feeling of being jaded. It feels less & less like ours and more & more about projections of the cisgender, straight nonprofits and corporations.
The anti-violence movement is not exempt from criticism. Leaders in this movement have shut out my siblings, historically excluding our communities from critical life-saving services & power. The harm of this exclusion is still present today. Many of my Queer and Trans beloved community members do not perceive our local domestic & sexual violence programs as safe, viable places to receive services.
Many of them fear being denied services. They fear that questions about their genders, bodies, and chosen families will lead to institutionalization or systematic retribution. These fears are not unfounded—our criminal legal system disproportionately detains and punishes Queer and Trans folks.
Most historically marginalized communities share information for survival (about what places are safe[r], who in that organization can provide meaningful advocacy, if the resources they offer are helpful, etc). If a program or service provider has caused harm in the past, the trust between the program and the community has been severed. Even when the transphobic/homophobic person or leader has left the organization, it does not build trust within the community. That distrust remains. Our responsibility is to all survivors, including survivors from Queer and Trans communities.
For some advocates and service providers, this can be frustrating. Advocacy on behalf of victims and survivors of gender violence is already difficult. Adding on the responsibility of addressing and undoing the caused harms of our predecessors can feel daunting and overwhelming. This, too, is a part of our work. These are valid responses to a broken system—but it does not have to be this way.
Join me as we continue to deepen our relationships with Queer/Trans/Intersex/2-Spirit siblings in the following June newsletters.
D, like after C
As survivors & advocates, we know that freedom, self-determination, and interruptions of violence are important—to say the very least—for our communities. We recognize the significance of Juneteenth, and we are working to expand how we understand Emancipation Day’s effects on our shared liberation & thriving.
Excerpts from the National Museum of African American History & Culture:
Frederick Douglass once famously asked, “What to a slave is the Fourth of July?” To honor the anniversary of the freedom granted to those enslaved African Americans, we’ve pondered a similar question, “What is the significance of Juneteenth to the Black community?”
In a three-part series, we interviewed three experts at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to find the answer: Mary Elliot, Curator of American slavery and emancipation; Angela Tate, Curator of African American women’s history, and Kelly E. Navies, Specialist of oral history. In this series, Tate asserts:
“This is not just a holiday that is fixed and has one meaning. It has a multiplicity of meanings to people of African descent in the United States. They also see it as relevant to Africa, the Caribbean, and any other place where there’s an African diasporic community. It’s a continuous struggle, a continuous fight, a continuous place of remembrance.”
This series also describes how Juneteenth became a holiday & how people celebrate. This information, including the many stories between & beyond those from the interviews, can influence the ways we connect advocacy & programming to liberation, restoring our wholeness, and ending systems of violence. Click here for the full NMAAHC article, “Why is Juneteenth important?”
National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is Monday the 27th. The purpose of this date is to raise awareness & encourage folks to get tested—all in a bigger effort to educate & support folks with getting an early diagnosis or being informed about their status so they can be linked into care.
HIV is often stigmatized & criminalized in ways that end up leading people away from knowing or doing what’s best for them. We know that these outcomes acutely impact survivors of sexual & domestic violence. In turn, we shift our focus toward ending HIV stigma. Why? Because we want our community members, particularly the survivors we serve, to be safer & cared for & defended from habits of harm.
As we mobilize our communities to stop HIV stigma, it’s important to remember that language matters: When talking about HIV, certain words and language may have a negative meaning for people at high risk for HIV or those who are living with HIV. You can utilize this link for a guide on talking about HIV without promoting stigma and misinformation.
It’s also important to remind folks that there are free HIV self-tests available, and it’s crucial for us all to know our status: This link provides a quick video about self-testing (and it’s a great video to use across social media platforms).
People in every place, of every background, live with HIV. These people face legal and cultural discrimination, and too often, are unable to get what they need to stay healthy. It is our responsibility to end the stigma that impacts people’s wellness & lives.
Queer & Now: Pride Month Toolkit | advocacy resource
Advocates for Youth created a true rainbow of resources for Pride Month, including:
Actions to take this month to support Queer & Trans youth, movies & documentaries to watch (with a particular focus on positive portrayals), LGBTQ-themed podcasts, suggested social media to share, resources/stats/etc. Check out the Queer & Now toolkit for this month, and every month, here.
Planting Seeds: The Power of Indigenous Circle Work | 35 min. podcast
Last week, ValorUS® shared a new “Leadership Moves” podcast episode featuring Strong Oak Lefebvre, co-founder and executive director of the Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition INC.
They speak with us about the years leading up to starting their own organization, including what catalyzed their move away from mainstream gender-based violence work in order to embrace restorative and transformative justice practices. Strong Oak asks us to be mindful of the ways in which RJ and TJ are often co-opted by the state. Stream this episode—and more from this podcast—here.
Effectively Serving Survivors with Disabilities | June 8
People with disabilities account for 25% of the population and experience domestic and sexual violence at up to 3X higher rates than people without disabilities. Yet, many service providers do not feel equipped to effectively serve survivors with disabilities. Since 2005, the Office on Violence Against Women has partnered with the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Victimization and Safety to design resources and supports for service providers to increase their capacity to address the needs of survivors with disabilities and Deaf survivors. This session will review some of the common barriers faced by survivors with disabilities and the resources available to you to address those barriers and build the confidence of your staff to work with these survivors.
Learn more about this webinar here.
2022 National Self-Care Conference for Anti-Violence Advocates | June 15-17
Self-care is critical, and community care makes that possible. Workshops throughout this conference will explore individual self-care methods and ways our organizations can be proactive in fighting burnout.
Up to 10 hours of social work continuing education credit will be available. 12.75 hours of NOVA CEUs are available. Counseling continuing education credit are being applied for. ALL proceeds will go towards funding advocacy efforts specifically for anti-violence advocates. Learn more about the conference sessions, speaks, and info here.
Idaho’s Juneteenth Commemorations | June 17-19
Juneteenth Idaho strives to provide opportunities to learn about the cultural & historical significance of Juneteenth while also 1) fostering some restorative joy, and 2) leveraging our collective power to uplift Blackness in Idaho.
In Boise and Lapwai and Twin Falls—from outdoor vendor pop-ups to dance parties to online spaces and beyond—there’s a series of spaces that are co-created for our beloved community during 2022’s Juneteenth Weekend. To learn more about this year’s events, visit the Juneteenth Idaho Facebook and/or Instagram page.
*Idaho Coalition – Office Closure | July 11-15
Our team will not be working this week. We invite you to help us honor this time away so we’re best able to show up for ourselves, our shared work, and our beloved communities.
2022 Idaho Indian Education Summit | August 15-16
This conference is taking place on the Boise State University campus. Strands of this summit include: policy, educator preparation programs, land acknowledgements, memorandums of understanding, tribal sovereignty, government to government relationships, educational engagement, and more.
Save the date to advance the future! For more information about this summit, email Johanna J. Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or Patty Sanchez at email@example.com.
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