Growing Towards Justice For All—Addressing Oppression in Our Work
I want to talk about an incredibly important issue that is challenging to discuss on our SARTs, in our communities, and in our work: oppression. This becomes multiplied when working in small and seemingly homogenous places. How many times have you heard someone say something like, “We are all the same here.” Or “We don’t have people like that here.” Or “We give everyone the same services/we serve everyone.” I’ve heard it. I’ve said it. Those kinds of statements—when talking about underserved and marginalized communities—do a lot of damage and prevent us from growing. None of us are excluded from needing growth in this area, and it is okay to need growth and support in creating justice for all victim/survivors.
Let’s choose a growth mindset.
I’m not an expert in dismantling oppression. I make mistakes regularly. I do my very best and am continuing to learn all of the time. I’ve done harm—and it didn’t matter that it was unintentional or accidental. We all need to take ownership and look for facts. This is where I want you to use the growth mindset—we aren’t there, yet. I’m not there, yet. Our communities aren’t there, yet. Our services aren’t there, yet. But, we are all in this together, and we can be working together to respond to all the victim/survivors in our communities.
Here are some ways to start finding out the realities of our communities and neighbors so we can start providing services that really do seek justice for all victim/survivors and grow in our SART work. Some of these were inspired by the recent White Ally call with RSP. Others are suggestions and ideas from some internet search skills.
- Check your county’s demographics and talk to other service providers
- Get solid statistics and facts about the realities of your community
- Check your service demographics
- How do they compare to the county demos?
- Make a plan for outreach if there are gaps
- With what organizations will you partner in order to better serve folks?
- How will you change your service delivery models to meet all needs?
- How will you train staff to better meet un-met needs and appropriately serve folks?
- What concrete things can you do or say to address oppression and intersectionality in your daily work?
- How can you encourage others with privilege to be reflective and active allies?
- How can you support your fellow SARTners in making improvements and growing together?
There are so many ways we can approach these necessary changes through a growth mindset. Keep doing good work and push for more good and more justice for all. Please share any resources you have in the comments!