CPEDV’s Building Change Together Training: Educational, Inspiring, Empowering

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Two weeks ago, I participated in an engaging & rigorous 3-day training, ‘Building Change Together’, organized by our sister coalition, California Partnership To End Domestic Violence (CPEDV). Being new to prevention and have recently joined the PreventConnect team at CALCASA, I found the training to be a great tool to educate myself about the Core Competencies in primary prevention, address challenges and privileges as a social justice advocate, and further meet and network with an inspiring community of prevention visionaries and advocates. Despite the diversity our backgrounds and work experiences, participants had a common vision. We envisioned preventing and ending sexual and domestic violence through inclusive, accessible, accommodating, culturally specific and comprehensive programming and strategies, grounded in an intersectional social justice framework. For more information on the linkage between sexual violence and domestic violence, click here.

Our sister coalition & partnerships

Using a series of interactive exercises, small group activities and sharing, engaging lectures and assessment worksheets, the training was aimed at understanding the fundamental theoretical frameworks addressing root causes of violence, including intersectional forms of oppression and social injustice. Grounded in public health and ecological frameworks, we were provided practical tools and resources for community-level changes and building a collaborative, supportive and culturally specific community of prevention advocates. On the 1st day, we discussed what prevention at the community-level mean to us, and how our community work should involve all stakeholders and those affected by sexual and domestic violence. For example, one of the activities included identifying our individual ‘passion word’ for our prevention work and sharing with our individual small groups our personal or professional experiences resulting from the passion word. The passion words were then used to frame a value statement for our common goal to end this cycle of violence and oppression.

 

Banner of OppressionDay-2 particularly focused on the social justice approach to preventing violence and learning about the intersectional and complex nature of oppression and how it affects our communities. The Fabrics of Oppression poster (photo attached) taught us to check in on our own privileges and the multiple levels of oppression including adultism (marginalizing youth). Using a translation/interpretation activity from Spanish to English— we were taught about the role and impact of language justice with a focus on intergenerational and multilingual initiatives. How does it feel for communities who cannot speak English to seek resources or be involved in the social justice movement? What barriers do they face and how can we be more sensitive and inclusive of their voices? What does it mean to be an interpreter/ translator especially for those involved in social justice movements and assist marginalized communities?

 

On the last day, we learned about how to develop a collaborative change approach and engage resistance to change. Through a case study activity, each of the smaller groups got an opportunity to learn and discuss promising and effective community-driven prevention initiatives. In summary, the message was clear: preventing and ending sexual violence, domestic violence and other forms of intersectional oppression is possible if we take the steps to build a community of advocates, stakeholders, youth activists and most importantly those who have been marginalized and experienced violence.

Meghna Bhat

Meghna recently joined CALCASA as a T&TA Specialist in the PreventConnect team. Born and raised in the city of Mumbai (India) and having moved to the US in 2004, Meghna has witnessed and experienced sexual assault and street harassment, from an early age. These unsettling experiences motivated her to participate in these intersectional social movements and be an outspoken advocate for social justice and gender equality. She is also a doctoral candidate in the Criminology, Law, and Justice program at the University of Illinois, in Chicago, with a specialization in Gender and Women Studies. Her dissertation focused on images of violence against women in Bollywood cinema and its implications on our perceptions and attitudes. Meghna earned her MS in Criminal Justice (Restorative Justice & Victimology) from Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia) and BA in Psychology, (Mumbai, India).

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