It’s always better when we’re together…

This week the Preventionista features a guest blog post by Liz Zadnik. Liz discusses the recent Applied Research Center case studies examining the relationship between racial justice and LGBTQ communities.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get very focused and can’t “see the forest for the trees” as they say (whoever they are).  Losing vision and perspective is often a consequence of working/living/breathing a social change movement.  Passion propels us, but it can also create tunnel vision.  That’s why I’m always excited when a person or an organization I respect can eloquently synthesize multiple goals and issues.  The Applied Research Center (ARC) recently released case studies as a follow-up to their 2010 Better Together: Research Findings on the Relationship Between Racial Justice Organizations and LGBT Communities report. 

Both projects were supported by the ARCUS Foundation and the case studies profile three innovative organizations on their journey toward social transformation. 

The first organizations profiled in the case studies, the South Asian Network (SAN) and a LGBTQ South Asian advocacy organization, Satrang, worked tirelessly to educate and train staff on connections between community services and LGBTQ rights.  Using care and compassion, an advisory committee was established and implemented two years of staff training with the goal of SAN staff investment in LGBTQ rights as a human rights issue.  The process highlighted a number of areas for growth, as well as some opportunities for ongoing support and partnership.  SAN responded to community reactions and homophobia with consistency and a unified voice.

What can we learn from this? Prevention is about transformative social change.  As social change agents, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves and our colleagues on the connections between our work and the work of others in anti-violence and anti-oppression movements.  This could mean working with LGBTQ rights organizations, partnering with racial justice programs, or supporting the efforts of agencies ending poverty.  If you or your organization would like to strengthen efforts or start engaging LGBTQ communities, a helpful resource could be Creating Inclusive Agencies from the new NSVRC Sexual Violence & Individuals Who Identify as LGBTQ Information Packet

Partnerships, collaborations, coalitions – however framed, sharing and working together is only going to strengthen sexual violence prevention and, ultimately, social change efforts.  Looking to these leaders, we can begin forging a new path – one that encourages we as activists, as well as the community at large, to examine oppression.

Who am I?
Liz Zadnik, Education & Resource Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. I’ve been with PCAR for almost three years now, but I’ve worked in violence prevention and reproductive justice for close to six. I’m stoked to be a guest blogger for Preventionista – I hope my thoughts and perspectives can start some productive conversations.


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