A Message from our Executive Director
As a community leader and as the leader of Prevail, I have a responsibility to represent Prevail staff, clients and stakeholders in the community. I cannot stay silent on things that matter. Usually, this means I have to courageously confront things like victim blaming, even when well-intentioned people are doing it. Now, following the murder of George Floyd and the uprising of support for Black Lives Matter and other movements, I have to courageously confront racism.
This matters to Prevail, as an agency, because, as eloquently stated by the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “All forms of violence and oppression are connected, and you cannot fight against one form of injustice and not fight against others. The calls for accountability must be heard from all corners of society, including from within the anti-violence movement. We cannot end violence without addressing the power disparities caused by racism and discrimination.” It also matters to me, personally. I am one of the mothers that heard George Floyd’s cry for his mother and felt my heart ache. What I am certain about is that racism is real and that I have a responsibility to do something about it.
I heard a Prevail advocate once describe our work as, “Creating safe and healing spaces.” We do that every day for victims of crime and abuse. Now, I am reexamining what we are doing in our community to create safe and healing spaces for people of color. I know that people of color, and more specifically black people, are disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system, disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and disproportionately failing in school, among a list of other disproportionalities. What that tells me is that systems need to change. This population level of disproportionality does not happen unless our systems are not equitable. Our systems are getting the results they are designed to get, and the results won’t change without changing the systems.
At Prevail, we are actively working on what our role is in the anti-racism and racial justice space in our community. We know we have a role to play in working toward a solution. I would encourage everyone to reflect and seek out information that will better inform us all in creating equitable systems to ensure safe and healing spaces for all.
Susan Ferguson, MBA
Executive Director I Prevail, Inc.