Statement on Racial Solidarity
At the heart of the work we do to end intimate partner violence is the idea that people in a relationship are equals, and that a healthy relationship is one built on trust, respect, and love. Partners in a healthy relationship see one another, support one another, value one another, and prioritize one another’s health, safety, and feelings first and foremost. Without these tenets of trust, respect, and love, the opposite takes hold— disregard, division, devaluing. At best, this is unhealthy. At worst, it turns into a relationship where there is an imbalance of power and a misuse of privilege and control: an abusive relationship.
We must recognize the parallels between how an abuser treats their partner and how white society treats people of color. As Women’s Center & Shelter advances our mission of preventing and responding to intimate partner violence through social change, we find ourselves looking to the heart of our work as it extends to society, for what are we as a society if not in relationship with one another? When members of a society may disregard, divide, and devalue others with impunity, the entire society bears the scars of the abuse. How many more people of color must be murdered to prove that? How many more people of color must have the police called on them for doing nothing but living in their own skin before this is acknowledged?
Dismantling systems of oppression has always been the foundation of our work to end violence, for we cannot be against violence in the home and not be against all violence. WC&S promises to work to end all violence by elevating and amplifying the voices of our black community—and all disenfranchised communities—now and always. We promise to be anti-racist and anti-oppression and to speak out for justice and equity. We promise to foster love, trust, and respect among all people. To paraphrase a quote originally made about the news, we will strive to play an active role in comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. Being uncomfortable is not only okay – it is really the only way to create the space for this much needed, long overdue systemic and societal change to happen.
To our black community and all communities of color – we know you are hurting. WC&S sees you, we support you, we value you, and we love you. We hold in our hearts a vision of a unified, healthy society that values every single member. A society that is just, equitable, welcoming, and loving toward all. Only then will we fully live into our work to end violence.
Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
June 4, 2020