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Towards Thriving Cover

June 14, 2018

On June 11th, the Attorney General Sessions reversed the Board of Immigration Appeals grant of asylum to a Salvadoran domestic violence survivor known as Matter of A-B. Ms. A.B. fled to the United States after suffering 15 years of brutal violence at the hands of her ex-husband. He beat and kicked her, including while she was pregnant; bashed her head against a wall; threatened her with death while holding a knife to her throat and while brandishing a gun; and threatened to hang her.

An immigration court had previously granted her asylum, allowing her to remain in the country legally, but Attorney General Sessions intervened to reconsider the finding, as part of a broader rethinking of whether or not victims of domestic violence can qualify for protection under U.S. asylum law. In ruling against Ms. A-B, the Attorney General overturned the groundbreaking Board of Immigration Appeals decision in Matter of A-R-C-G-, which in 2014 affirmed that domestic violence survivors are deserving of protection. In his decision Sessions makes the disturbing statement that, in accordance with his opinion, asylum claims “pertaining to domestic violence” should “generally” no longer be approved.

The decision means that the U.S. can now begin to turn away tens of thousands of women who arrive in this country every year, seeking safety from violence and abuse at home. The Attorney General could be repealing sixty to seventy per cent of asylum jurisprudence according to Deborah Anker, an immigration expert at Harvard Law School. The case was originally filed by Tahirih Justice Center, the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Asista Immigration Assistance, and Casa de Esperanza with support from the National Network to End Domestic Violence urging the Attorney General to uphold the BIA’s order in her case, and to uphold the precedent.

This extraordinary removal of asylum protections for survivors of domestic violence, along with the new “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting everyone, which has led to the inhumane and traumatic separation of children from their parents, has continued to deepen the fear in communities. The Attorney General’s inhumane immigration policies are inflicting of trauma across families and communities, risking the lives and futures of survivors of domestic and sexual violence. These new policies ignore the reality of the human beings – children, women, men – fleeing horrific violence. Each new policy or position slices apart families, deepens the generational trauma in their bones – from screaming children separated from their parents to imprisoning children in wire cages to now denying domestic and sexual violence survivors asylum.

We must come together and fight for what we love – communities where everyone is valued, everyone is safe, and everyone can thrive; communities rooted in our interdependence, resilience and regeneration, with the freedom to migrate and healing centered liberation. The Idaho Coalition will continue to work with and follow the leadership of our allies – PODER, Idaho Organizing Project, ACLU and others – to provide protections for domestic and sexual violence survivors who are seeking safety through our immigration process, to end the inhumane policies of this administration in separating children from their parents and creating fear in so many people who are threatened with deportation.

We Choose All of Us,

Kelly

What I Know for Sure

For the next few months, we will be highlighting stories and lessons learned from our program executive directors, and they’ll all follow a theme of “What I Know For Sure,” a style we are borrowing from Oprah. Enjoy!

Teena McBride What I have learned as an E.D. in the past 25 years:

  1. None of what are perceived as my accomplishments were done alone. I get the accolades but need to remain humble and realistic with what actually happened to get me where I am today.
  2. I cannot preach to anyone about the need for behavior change if I do not practice it on a daily basis. This sometimes means curbing my tongue even in defense of myself or someone close to me. I am a reflection of my agency even in private.
  3. Cross-train your staff and include other agencies when possible. This allows your agency to understand the limitations another agency may work under. As advocates we are kind of like free range chickens…we set our boundaries, we establish our policies, we may have more freedom than the entity we are frustrated with…we need to understand their limitations and how we can assist those we serve in understanding them. We don’t get to write anyone else’s policy (a direct quote from a former chief I worked closely with).
  4. What am I bringing to the table that enhances what others are already doing…Before I offer my complaint can I also offer a possible solution? It’s okay to be the squeaky wheel but understand if all you do is squeak they will stop listening and move on without you.
  5. Set a time for yourself to mull something over that is really bothering you, especially criticism of your staff or agency. I give myself at least five days maybe even ten before I go back to ask for clarification or further discussion. I can’t let my passion or commitment destroy working relationships that impact victims.
  6. This isn’t a journey about you, this is a journey about hundreds or thousands of individuals who will come through your door looking for safety, guidance, and support. Their journey may take years to navigate with you or your staff as a supportive component.
  7. Build a foundation that can exist without you. Hopefully you will leave a legacy that someone else can build on but will look different in the end. There is life after this.
  8. Don’t ask your staff to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself.
  9. A lot has been accomplished in 40 years, it is not an overnight process and there is a lot left to fix.
  10. NEVER CREATE A CRISIS IN YOUR OWN OFFICE! There is enough work to do.
  11. Here’s to the next 25 years!!!

Teena McBride, Executive Director
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center
tmcbride@co.bonneville.id.us

12th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Census

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) has released results from the National Census of Domestic Violence Services (Census) in its 12th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report. For 24 hours, the Census surveys domestic violence programs across the United States and territories to create a one-day snapshot of the services provided to survivors and their children.

In Idaho, 21 out of 24 (88%) identified domestic violence programs participated in the 2017 census. Idaho programs served 514 victims in one day, answered 138 hotline calls, and provided prevention/education trainings to 275 individuals. 341 requests for services were not met, of which 33% were for housing. Click here (link attached doc) for a complete state summary.

The information from this Census is used to highlight Idaho-specific needs and barriers and informs our work with our policy makers to ensure that funding from both VAWA and VOCA is recognizing the needs of programs such as yours. We value the work that you do every single day to provide a compassionate response to individuals who experience sexual and domestic violence. This vital work is captured by the census and helps inform policy and funding platforms. Thank you for all that you do!


Yara Slaton
yara@engagingvoices.org

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • Membership
  • Reimbursements
  • Travel/Event Logistics

Lessons Learned from the Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative *

The Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative (SADI) was created to enhance sexual assault outreach, services, and community partnerships in dual/multi-services programs. SADI staff worked with six sites across the country over the course of four years to assess, plan and implement new and enhanced sexual assault services and build organizational capacity to provide such services. On May 8-9, 2018, SADI held a Coalition program staff meeting with the purpose of sharing lessons learned during its project period with the goal of helping Coalitions support program staff. At that meeting SADI shared the following lessons for community-based programs seeking to enhance sexual assault services:

  1. Effective and accessible services can only happen when a program has an understanding and direct response to racism and oppression.
  2. Programs must have a clear organizational identity as a provider of services for survivors of sexual violence.
  3. Sustainable sexual assault services require explicit and agency-wide support included policies and procedures that place sexual assault services as an integral component of the program’s work.
  4. Stable and empowering leadership is fundamental to successful organizational change and requires direct, open, and transparent communication.
  5. The extent to which programs support staff and organizational well-being directly influences the quality of services provided to survivors
  6. Programs should prioritize in-depth and ongoing sexual assault specific training, integrating trauma-informed and anti-oppression frameworks, and developing advocacy skills based on active listening, empathy, rapport building, empowerment, and collaboration.
  7. Programs must offer more than crisis-focused services to meet the diverse and wide-ranging needs and experiences of sexual assault survivors.
  8. Strong programs are those that embrace change and growth, including acknowledging that sexual assault survivors are not getting the services they need and deserve. Programs must be open to receiving honest feedback in all areas, including those where they think they are doing well.

If you have any questions about the SADI Coalition meeting or the lessons learned, please do not hesitate to contact me.

*Adapted from Townsend, S. M., National Sexual Assault Coalition Resource Sharing Project, & National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2017). Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative: Final Report. Des Moines, IA & Enola, PA: RSP and NSVRC.
Annie Pelletier_Staff Photo_2017
Annie Pelletier
annie@engagingvoices.org

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • Legal Questions
  • Legislative Updates
  • Sexual Assault/Title IX

Empowering Young People for Change

Why should we ask for help from young people?

Including young people in organizations aiming to create systemic change is very beneficial to cultural change. Young people have repeatedly been the leaders and creators of powerful and historic movements. Finding these youth and helping them grow can create even more leaders and therefore lead to even more generational change. It’s important that organizations who are considering including young people in their work acknowledge communities who experience oppression and violence. Prioritize the communities that you are trying to support by empowering young people with multiple, marginalized identities. These communities could include: youth of color, undocumented or first generation youth, youth from the LGBTQIA+ community, youth with disabilities, youth who are survivors, etc. These are the young people who will have the most insight when it comes to systems of violence and deconstructing them. Empowering and teaching youth from these communities will ensure that those who are often ignored and forgotten are turned into compassionate change-makers. Young people are the present as well as the future. The more well-educated and uplifted these youth are, the more their knowledge and power can ripple into their communities, creating more intergenerational focus on social justice work.

Where do we start?

Reach out to the teachers and counselors of the schools around you. Many young people are already doing this work without an organization. Teachers and counselors will know which of their students would enjoy working with you. Most high schools also have a job opportunities board or school announcements, contact a counselor to get featured!

  • Connect with organizations made for youth, The Boys and Girls Club, the library, coffee shops, anywhere that is welcoming to teens is a good place to start!
  • Reach out to young people who have been present at events your organization and partner organizations have hosted.
  • Engage with young people on social media. Social media such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat is very popular among young people, and where most youth get their information. By having a youth-focused social media campaign, you may gain some followers who are interested in working with you!

Reminders:

The youth have so much insight and perspective to offer, but are not used to having the opportunity to share these ideas. Keeping this in mind, be sure to remind the youth that you work with, that their thoughts and feelings are valued, and take their feedback seriously. Young people are here to provide an intergenerational lens, they have valuable perspectives. While it is important to include young people it cannot stop at simply utilizing them for tokenization. It’s important to remember that young people often go to school and have other extracurriculars; scheduling your events for evenings and weekends rather than the middle of a weekday is a great way to utilize accessible practices for them. Contact young people in ways that make sense to them. Most teens are not inclined to answer emails and phone calls. Social media posts and text messages are much more likely to get a response! It’s crucial to remember to teach young people that their time and effort is valuable by paying them for their work or at least providing meals and snacks. Being a young person can be difficult and complicated for many different reasons, so it’s extremely important to remain flexible and offer emotional support and guidance whenever the young people you work with may need it. Sharing the wisdom you have gained from your years is a great way to connect with youth and help make knowledge more attainable.


Outgoing Idaho Coalition Youth Organizers
Alyssa Wainaina | Fanisee Bias | Monique Kitnikone | Bukky Ogunrinola

Re-Centering Pride

Marsha and Sylvia

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/2JBPxGC

Every June, communities in Idaho observe and celebrate Pride in an effort to amplify the voices of our LGBTQ+ friends, families, and neighbors. Pride celebrations are a beautiful opportunity to bask in the warmth of the progress which has been made, while at the same time recognize the long path ahead. As we turn our gaze toward the future and the vision of that liberation, I invite us to reach back to the past and bring forward the many voices which made this path possible. This move will bring us to a rich history, catalyzed by the voices and tireless efforts of trans people of color. These individuals launched a new movement and sustained it for years to come.

As our Pride celebrations in Idaho continue to grow and expand, there are many successes to celebrate. And many are realizing a need to honor the roots of Pride – not necessarily to get back to them, but to hold these close as we discover new ways of being in community together. As a white, heterosexual man, I consistently challenge myself in the ways which I support Pride and the movement for LGBTQ+ liberation. When I reach back to the past, I am constantly inspired – specifically by the contributions of trans women of color such as Martha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. These individuals embodied the power which spawned the movement we know today yet are all too often left out of the narrative. I encourage all of us to seek out the full history of the Stonewall Inn, powerful humans like Martha and Sylvia, and the many ways in which they showed up for all communities. As we celebrate Pride this year, let us re-center our conversations on those individuals and communities who made it all possible.

None of us are of one identity. And the liberation of our LGBTQ+ community is tightly woven with the liberation of communities of color, immigrant communities, people with disabilities, and all people targeted for who they are. Regardless of your identity, I invite you to amplify the voices of individuals like Martha, Sylvia, and all of the courageous leaders whose stories are too frequently diminished. Let us envision Pride in the whole collective history of resistance to all forms of oppression and hate.

#WeChooseAllofUs

Bryan Lyda_Staff Photo_2017

Bryan Lyda
bryan@engagingvoices.org

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • Engaging Allies
  • Youth Engagement
  • Reaching Marginalized Communities

Training & Events

2018 Boise Pride | June 15 – June 16 | Cecil Andrus Park The Idaho Coalition will have a booth at Boise Pride. Swing by to meet our staff and youth organizers, and learn more about the work we are doing. Booth Operating Hours are as follows:

  • June 15, 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • June 16, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Boise’s Pride has been an annual event since 1989! Most events are free and open to all ages. For more information on Boise Pride Fest, check out their guide.


Save the Date! September 12 – September 13 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm | Linen Building

Cat FribleyOn Wednesday, September 12th, Cat Fribley with the National Sexual Assault Coalition’s Resource Sharing Project (RSP) will provide a day-long workshop on sexual assault services in dual programs and more! As the Director of RSP, Cat provides capacity building training and technical assistance to state and territorial sexual assault coalitions, state SASP Administrators, rural grantees, and Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative (SADI) project sites. In addition, she coordinates the national activities and events of the project. Cat has worked to end sexual violence for 20 years at national, state and local advocacy organizations. She has held such varied positions as SART Coordinator at a university-based rape crisis center, and Director of Training and Volunteers at a dual program. Cat trains on a broad range of sexual assault issues, with special interest areas including: survivors giving birth; healing sexuality; organizational trauma and resilience; organizational development; and LGBT issues.

Janie D'Anniballe On Thursday, September 13th Dr. Janine D’Anniballe will present a day-long workshop on The Neurobiology of Trauma and Implications for Healing and Current Trends in Sexual Assault. Dr. D’Anniballe is a licensed psychologist and a nationally recognized expert who specializes in the areas of neurobiology of trauma, vicarious trauma and treatment for survivors. Her expertise, professionalism, and presentation style have made her a highly sought-after trainer. Her workshops have been described as dynamic, inspirational, and impactful.

Idaho Coalition Store Materials

Engaging Voices Website StoreReminder that shipping for all material orders made by Programs on the Idaho Coalition website store is FREE of cost, please use the below coupon for all orders.

Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order. For store questions, please contact Lacey Sinn.

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