By Casey Keene, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV)
Division is a tool of oppression. The remedy is collaboration.
Advocates across social justice movements have long known the power of solidarity. However, often the very institutions that sustain us also perpetuate a system of divisiveness and competition among organizations whose goals and values intersect, and between movements searching for voice and visibility. It takes humility and courage to prioritize collective action over individual agendas, and to step back to make space for others, which are necessary shifts in order to achieve true social transformation.
“Transformative movements recognize that we are whole people, our communities are whole, and because the issues and problems are interconnected our systemic solutions and movements must be as well.” - The Practices of Transformative Movements, Movement Strategy Center, 2016
The VAWnet TA Question of the Month for October, How can movement building support our efforts for social change and collective thriving?, explores the Idaho Coalition’s journey to engage in multi-generational movement building work in order to actualize “beloved communities with social equity and collective liberation.” They describe this work as “building a bigger we,” which includes intentional efforts to build authentic relationships with leaders and organizations connected to and rooted in historically marginalized communities.
Similarly, NRCDV’s CEO, Farzana Safiullah, has articulated a clear and bold vision for moving our transformative work forward. Among other priorities in service to this charge, she has emphasized proactive efforts to deepen NRCDV’s commitment to racial justice, to cultivate authentic relationships with community leaders and movements, to invest in stronger connections with community-driven social change efforts, and to engage diverse voices to create healthy relationships and beloved communities.
In May 2018, the Global Fund for Women engaged researchers, advocates, and philanthropists in a conversation that identified the following broad-based movement trends (Investing in Social Movements, Global Fund for Women, 2018):
• “There are new forms of solidarity across issues, sectors, and geographies. We are seeing social justice organizations linking up and bridging issues, such as environmental justice with land rights or domestic worker rights with migrant worker rights—bringing together movements advancing racial, gender, social, and political justice. By seeking commonalities and overlapping goals, our collective impact is more inclusive, effective, and sustainable.”
• “There are interesting new forms of transnational activism both online and offline, such as #NiUnaMenos, #Neveragain, and #MeToo. These movements are led by women who have been historically left out of the conversation. They are bringing the marginalized to the center, crossing borders, and allowing online organizing of major protests that bring thousands together in person.”
• “Intersectionality is being recognized as a critical component of social movements. Audre Lorde understood that we must acknowledge the various ways that discrimination intersect and the commonalities across our organizing when she said, ‘There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives.’”
Now is the time. We must act together.
“#1Thing is about harnessing the momentum of our movements – especially at their critical points of intersection – by calling people to specific and direct collective action that are informed by the communities most directly impacted.” – Awareness + Action = Social Change: What’s Your #1Thing?, 2018
This October, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project has chosen the theme, #1Thing, One Movement, challenging each of us to identify new ways to move forward together toward our common vision.
What are some concrete ways that you can “build a bigger we” during Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Beyond?
Take action today:
• Share your #1Thing for one movement
• Take the #1Thing Pledge
• Download, Personalize, and Share the #1Thing Photo Card
• Use the #1Thing Facebook Photo Frame
Join us and our partners in observance of DVAM 2019:
• National Week of Action - Sunday, October 20, 2019 to Saturday, October 26, 2019
• Purple Thursday – October 24, 2019
• NRCDV’s 25th Anniversary – Highlighting key milestones and moments of pride in NRCDV’s 25 years.
• FVPSA’s 35th Anniversary – Celebrating 35 years of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act!
• Engage with NRCDV’s #1Thing Campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – Throughout October, NRCDV will be highlighting key topics: serving male survivors, housing, prevention, and supporting older survivors.