Madison – In July, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA) and End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin (EA) shared the “Moment of Truth” letter, a commitment from coalitions across the country in the wake of the Minneapolis law enforcement murder of George Floyd. We indicated that the letter would serve as a guiding document for our work moving forward. Specifically, we committed to centering Black Lives Matter, which includes supporting policies that reframe the concept of public safety, including investing in community-based infrastructures to provide support in place of law enforcement.
Recently, we learned that Embrace, a member program of both coalitions, experienced a cut in funding as well as a loss of support from local law enforcement agencies due to Embrace’s support of Black Lives Matter. Such pushback, while not surprising, is nonetheless disappointing. It is an instance of police and existing systems exercising power and control that will result in further harm to survivors of violence. We reject efforts that attempt to force us to choose between knowing that Black Lives Matter and working with legal system partners to improve responses for those survivors who engage with the legal system.
Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations, who have led this work for decades despite being marginalized by our movement, have long experienced similar funding threats due to their advocacy. They have struggled to access critical funding sources, despite providing survivors with critical culturally specific services which parallel those offered by mainstream organizations. However, BIPOC-led organizations have largely faced those barriers without the media attention and outpourings of support that has been directed towards Embrace.
WCASA and End Abuse support Embrace, and we urge others to do the same. We invite you to join us in supporting, following the lead of, and directing resources towards BIPOC-led organizations as we seek to transform oppressive systems that inequitably fail and harm survivors.