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Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Allies,
The Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Crisis Center is proud to be a member of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault and is ready to further embed anti-racism into our anti-sexual violence work. Please see the full statement from the Coalition below...
We, the staff and Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA), recognize oppression as the root cause of sexual violence. We know that issuing statements in support of #BlackLivesMatter is only a starting point when it comes to standing in solidarity with communities of color, particularly Black communities.
While we have made strides to center anti-oppression in our work, we have not done enough. We are committing to being more intentional in how we, as a coalition, work to disrupt white supremacy and oppressive systems. We know we must make improvements.
Over the last few weeks, we have had many difficult and overdue conversations as a board and with New Jersey’s county-based programs about ways to better center racial justice in our anti-sexual violence work. In response, we have surveyed the staff at our member organizations, asking them to identify the ways those with racial privilege (especially white privilege) will personally commit to strengthening their allyship for members of New Jersey’s diverse communities, in what ways they’d like their organization to better center anti-oppression principles in its work, and how they would like NJCASA to do the same. The responses to that survey will serve as a baseline starting point as we work to hold ourselves collectively accountable to do better.
We will be challenging ourselves to acknowledge and begin to repair where we’ve fallen woefully short in supporting the needs of survivors from New Jersey’s rich, diverse communities, including Black survivors and all survivors of color, LGBTQ survivors, survivors who are incarcerated , survivors with disabilities, deaf/hard of hearing survivors, survivors who are immigrants, and survivors with limited English proficiency. At NJCASA, we will start by reviewing our vision, mission, and values statements – cognizant that we have not sufficiently rooted the very foundation of our organization in the principles of anti-oppression. We will continue by considering changes to our own bylaws, membership standards, internal policies, legislative priorities, and staff and board recruitment procedures to ensure they align with our mission and values.
We commit to updating you of our progress. We have made many mistakes and know we will make more. Learning from these mistakes will be a critical part of our growth.
The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault Staff and Board of Trustees
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