Today the YWCA’s Stand Against Racism annual event brings together hundreds of thousands of people across the nation, from all walks of life, to call attention to the legacy of discrimination and raise awareness that racism still exists. In the four days leading up to the Stand Against Racism, we examined how discrimination and institutional racism can block violence survivors from accessing housing services and other resources. We've compiled the series for you here, co-authored by YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish's GirlsFirst and Volunteer Services Coordinator Nanyonjo Mukungu, and YWCA Walla Walla's Communications Coordinator Sara Rasmussen, who became friends while students at Whitman College. Will you take a stand alongside Nanyonjo and Sara? Reading their blog posts is one important way to grow awareness and sharing one or more posts with others is a great way to continue to build that awareness.
Friends of YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish march at the 2012 Pride Parade, showing their support for and solidarity with the LGBTQ members of the YWCA community. Read more about the “many faces of pride” in our "Participating & Proud” blog series.
With its expansion and renewal earlier this year, the Violence Against Women Act made an important step in ensuring that its protections and services fully include and extend to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. But changes in the law won't instantly end discrimination against LGBTQ community members and create access to services they need. As YWCA Walla Walla Communications Coordinator Sara Rasmussen points out in this third installment of our Stand Against Racism blog series, we need to continue to shift the cultures of law enforcement, service providers and shelters, amongst staff as well as those they serve, in order to protect and better meet the needs of the LGBTQ community.
Guest blogger Nanyonjo Mukungu shared her personal story of surviving rape, and the poor treatment she received when she reported the crime to police, in order "to break the silence around domestic and sexual violence and to combat the invisibility of the experiences of survivors of color." Photo credit: YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish
"As a black woman aware of the way communities of color are treated by the police, I was afraid of reporting my rape," writes guest blogger Nanyonjo Mukungu. When she did go to the authorities, they refused to report her case.
This second post in our Stand Against Racism blog series shares Nanyonjo's personal experience of being re-traumatized by police when she tried to seek justice for sexual assault. Her story is not unique; she writes about how violence survivors who already face oppression -- such as racial, class-based and gender expression discrimination -- are at particular risk of being denied victim status. When victims are not treated as such, they face barriers to accessing the resources they need to heal and remain stably housed.
Every time I hear of people’s prison experiences, I shudder. I cannot imagine “living” in a small, cold room with other people, constantly being watched over but being surrounded by solitude, loneliness and my own private thoughts........
We continue our series, "Not a Prisoner of the Past," exploring the challenges facing women and families that are attempting to build their life again after being incarcerated and other life changing circumstances. This is our fifth post in this series and Andrea VanHorn continues to invite us into the YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish Passage Point, a supportive residential community for parents discharged from the corrections system who would otherwise be homeless and who seek to reunite with their minor children and families. We introduced you to Nora in this earlier Photo Friday post, and now share her story along with others below.
"Being a client here at the YWCA in Bellevue, I find this place to be safe, warm, and reliable. A resourceful place to network for jobs, housing, healthcare, and community services. A place where the staff is always exceptionally caring and supportive. I am grateful for the YWCA and all it's contributions. They make it possible for women like me to have a place to grow and to go."
It's another Photo Friday in the "Not a Prisoner of the Past," series, exploring challenges facing women and families that are attempting to build their life again after being incarcerated and other life changing circumstances. We introduced you to Tiffany in our earlier post, "Struggle and Survival: Learning about Domestic Violence." Tiffany and her son are residents of the YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish Passage Point, a supportive residential community for parents discharged from the corrections system who would otherwise be homeless and who seek to reunite with their minor children and families. Passage Point also offers support for women, like Tiffany, who are survivors of domestic violence.
YWCA Opportunity Place--Site of the Worksource Program.
Memorial Day may have passed but outreach to our veterans continues. Over the weekend, the YWCA USA blog highlighted the YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish services for veterans. Matt King, a Senior Program Director at the YWCA Seattle I King Snohomish wrote this piece that was posted on the National blog and we are excited to share it here as well.