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Prevail's Racial Justice Journey

 

About a year ago, I wrote and released a statement from Prevail taking a stand by affirming Black lives matter and committing to courageously confront racism.  At that time, I affirmed the statement from 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.”  I also stated that Prevail was actively working on what our role is in the anti-racism and racial justice space in our community. 

 

Prevail also celebrated National Police Appreciation Week last month by delivering goodies to all our local law enforcement partners.  Prevail continues to be thankful for our partnerships with competent and caring law enforcement agencies and personnel - and we are saddened by the deaths of Black and Brown bodies at the hands of law enforcement.

Over the past year, Prevail staff have participated in numerous initiatives to move toward the goal of being an anti-racist organization.  There has been significant investment of the time, energy, and dollars in this initiative.  I am resisting the urge to list all the ways that Prevail has attempted to move toward racial justice in the last year because I also want to acknowledge that I haven’t always gotten it right.  In fact, that is what the journey toward racial justice requires – being willing to stumble and get back up and keep going.  During this time, we’ve repeatedly been witness to tragedy, resulting from terrible inequities built into our systems.

Most importantly, Prevail has identified Social Justice as one of our core values and we are committed to eliminating barriers and increasing equity in access, participation, and rights.  We have engaged with a racial equity firm, Favorite Part of My Day, who is helping us to move boldly toward being anti-racist and practicing equity in all things. 

 

In that statement a year ago, I proclaimed that Prevail is committed to creating safe, healing, supportive spaces for all our clients, and even extending that responsibility into creating those spaces for the community.  On many Prevail materials, you will see our description something like this:  Prevail is committed to offering crisis intervention and restorative support services for those who have experienced crime and abuse, free of charge, in a confidential, supportive, non-judgmental environment that is meant to empower those we serve.  In the future, you will see that description followed by this statement:  We know this work must be grounded in building a community that actively promotes authentic wellbeing for all its members and boldly moves toward being anti-racist and practicing equity in all things.  This is a reminder to those of us who work at Prevail, and a commitment to our community that we will continue to strive toward justice for all. 

 

Susan Ferguson

Executive Director, Prevail, Inc.

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