Dismantling oppression at your agency

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Are advocates born or are they created by the lessons of their life experiences?  Whichever is true; it is evident that employees of California rape crisis centers will eagerly and aggressively work on behalf of survivors of assault without giving it a second thought.   However, when it comes to advocating for oneself at work with regards to discriminatory behavior expressed by coworkers, supervisors, volunteers, or board members in relation to race, sexual orientation, religion, etc; the same tenacity and perseverance with which they used to help victims is not displayed to assist themselves.

Does your agency have mechanisms in place to address incidents of discriminatory behavior toward staff by others affiliated with the organization?  Is your staff aware of these policies and or procedures; and has your management staff been trained to respond appropriately and in a timely manner?

Last year CALCASA provided resources to address the issues of oppression within the work environment through the  “Anti Oppression Institute – At the Crossroads of Race and Queer”  designed and facilitated by the CALCASA Dismantling Oppression Work Group (DOWG).

CALCASA also provides venues for issues to be addressed through dialogue and problem solving with the Queer Women Caucus,  Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities Caucus, Women of Color North Caucus and Women of Color South Caucus.

Having mechanisms in place to address the issues of discrimination is a good risk management practice for any agency.  Also some of your state and federal grants may have  Certification of Assurance of Compliance  regarding discrimination that your agency must agree to  in order to accept their money.

Not addressing discrimination in your agency can affect work morale and the quality of service being provided to clients and the community; not to mention your ethical and legal obligations.

To receive more information about the various caucuses that CALCASA has or to contribute to the discussion of dismantling oppression at your agency please comment in the box below.

Kavin Black currently holds the position of Organizational Services Coordinator at CALCASA. He works with rape crisis centers as well as other organizations to build agency capacity and infrastructure to further the mission of the organization. Kavin began working at CALCASA in July 2002 as the Campus & Training Resource Coordinator on the National Campus Program to Address Violence Against Women on College Campuses. Kavin is a former Executive Director of a California rape crisis center and a former academy instructor for California POST.

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