Commitment to Anti-Racism
Integrating Anti-Racism and Racial Equity Efforts
Project PEACE celebrates the diversity and lived experiences represented by the Arlington community and our partners. We strive to enhance the quality of services provided by partner organizations by acting as allies for the promotion of anti-racism, equity, and justice.
To adequately address and eradicate intimate partner and sexual violence, our efforts must center race and use integrated anti-racist approaches. This includes educating ourselves and our agencies on how and why people experience race-based oppression and marginalization, identifying intersectionality in anti-violence work, creating a shared language and understanding, and building anti-racist frameworks.
To begin this journey of knowledge and skill building Project PEACE curated a Learning Library on Racism and Racial Equity with several free and easily accessible resources. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, we hope it provides a foundation for self and organization self-exploration. We hope resources create more questions and more opportunities for our partners to incorporate anti-racist efforts into their day-to-day work and personal lives.
Project PEACE’s Commitment
Over the next several years Project PEACE will be actively working to create and use anti-racist and social justice frameworks to address the historical and foundational driving forces of racism and interpersonal violence. The goal is to create anti-racist policy, practice, and culture that supports those most vulnerable and marginalized.
Therefore, we commit to:
- Acknowledge, seek out and include individuals, families, and communities of diverse world views and lived experiences to understand the unique impact of intimate partner and sexual violence on racially diverse communities. For example, reducing barriers for community members to formally join Project PEACE and offering accessible opportunities for anyone to share voice and experiences with PEACE members.
- Work diligently to be anti-racist through ongoing education to increase awareness of racist and oppressive structures and their impact on those experiencing intimate partner and sexual violence. For example, Project PEACE can sponsor, host, and incentivize ongoing trainings for allied professionals at all levels.
- Challenge both the historical roots and perpetual structural racism that exists in our systems, practices, and communities. For example, create and advocate for policy and practice change that builds a safer, inclusive community. Assess existing policies for racial disparity impacts and advocate for necessary changes.
- Learn, understand and acknowledge the double standards related to immigrants and U.S. immigration policies and the ways in which immigrant community members can be impacted by both racism and xenophobia present in the United States. For example, partnering with culturally specific communities and organizations in Arlington to ensure services, and service promotion, are culturally and linguistically assessible to all. Ensure consistent access for minority communities such as ensuring all materials and services are easily accessible, at a minimum, in English and Spanish affirming access for the almost 15% of Arlingtonians who speak Spanish.
- Acknowledge the unique influence and impact of intersectionality and systematic racism to better service of our community. For example, building capacity for partners to adequately and thoughtfully collect, report and review data disaggregated by race and ethnicity.
- Build environments where individuals are welcomed and included- where respect, acceptance, positive regard, and safety are the foundational framework of an individuals’ experience. For example, ensuring partners have access to comprehensive tools to screen and train new and existing staff on racial equity past, present and future.
- Partner with, and support the sustainability of, culturally specific organizations working to end intimate partner and sexual violence for historically disinvested communities in Northern Virginia. For example, seek out and support funding efforts to strengthen and enhance communities and service providers meeting the unique needs of culturally specific and underserved communities.
- Provide the compassionate accountability that is necessary to build and sustain an anti-racist community where stakeholders support and hold each other accountable towards cultural humility. For example, creating brave and safe spaces for people to express ideas, concerns and harms in moments when it happens to create opportunities for healing, learning and growth.
- Demonstrate our commitment to equity, anti-racism and social justice through our policies, practices and partnerships. For example, hiring and contracting with service providers who emphasize equitable access and antiracism and adequately reflect the populations served.
The Importance of Centering Race
Project PEACE understands and recognizes that intimate partner and sexual violence do not exist in silos- that societal power imbalances, sanctioned by privilege, exist and that they perpetrate and reinforce the infinite experiences and impacts of interpersonal violence. More specifically institutionalized and individual racism creates inequities in how Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), experience and heal from intimate partner and sexual violence.
Although interpersonal violence touches all races and cultural backgrounds, the narrative cannot remain monolithic, omitting explicit mention, when certain communities’ racial groups continue to be disproportionately harmed. All the data illustrates disproportionate impact and disparate outcomes for groups that face multiple oppressions. Notably, Black women experience intimate partner violence at higher rates than women overall. More than 40% of Black women experience physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetimes (41.2 %), compared with 31.5 % of all women. Moreover, as many as 60% Black women report being subjected to coercive sexual contact by age 18 ,as compared to all women at an estimated rate of 13%.
Even with higher rates of violence, Black women are less likely to have access to the services they need and deserve. According to the 2010 Trauma, Violence and Abuse journal article, Shattering Silence: Exploring Barriers to Disclosure for African American Sexual Assault Survivors, “Sexual assault researchers and activists have often found that African American women are generally unlikely to seek help from rape crisis centers that are predominately directed and staffed by White staff members due to the belief that their needs and concerns will be overlooked and not addressed. Furthermore, pervasive racism and limited knowledge about different cultures often results in service providers being predisposed to biases and prejudice that affects assessment, treatment, and therapeutic engagement with ethnic minorities in the helping services.”
When Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) are impacted by intimate partner or sexual violence they face systemic and institutionalized barriers to accessing and receiving the services they deserve.
- Historic institutional injustices from government systems such as law enforcement, criminal justice system, and social services.
- Service providers who do not resemble or share common cultural experiences with the survivor or person who has harmed. Service systems that lack cultural and linguistic capacity to effectively engage survivors and those who have harmed and deliver services in a culturally responsive manner.
- Historically untrustworthy institutions, policies and practices based on racism and classism in the United States, U.S. Territories, and countries of origin. Systemic manipulation and false reinforcement of experiences confirming stereotypes placed on an individual, family, or community’s ethnicity.
- Assumptions by providers based on an individual’s ethnicity.
- Attitudes and stereotypes of service providers about the prevalence of intimate partner violence and sexual assault in communities of color.
- Harmful and traumatic immigration and deportation practices in the U.S. for the survivor and/or the person who harmed.
- Oppression, including re-victimization is intensified at intersections of areas such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, legal status, and socioeconomic status.
Special thanks to the Department of Human Services’ Racial Equity Advancement Partners (REAP) workgroup, the Virginia Domestic and Sexual Violence Action Alliance and the Project PEACE Racial Equity Workgroup for their review and support of this commitment statement.