Here at CASS, we always say that your stories matter. We believe in this so much that we ask you to raise your voice and speak out about your experiences of public sexual harassment and assault on our blog. And time and time again, be it in our WMATA advocacy or our community workshops, you’ve proven to us how much a few voices – or even just one – can change the city we live in.
But if our voices matter, then it also matters when and how we use them. This is why, when February 14 rolls around, CASS will not be participating in V-Day’s One Billion Rising campaign. The ways in which this campaign has co-opted or erased the community-driven work of people of color — while representing this erasure as the price to pay in building a universal movement — have been well-documented since the campaign’s beginnings, and the conversation is far from over. The movement to end gender-based violence can and should involve learning, solidarity and alliances across communities and borders. But CASS recognizes that not all communities experience gender-based violence in the same way(s), and that effective and sustainable responses to violence must, by definition, be community-driven.
Instead of supporting One Billion Rising this Friday, we will use the small platform we have to show our solidarity with the good work of activists and organizations that are responding to the needs of their communities in innovative ways.
CASS staff is working hard to ensure that our values of diversity and accountability inform everything that we do. We’ll be updating our anti-racism policy and other related materials in the coming weeks — keep an eye on our blog! And, as always, if you have any questions or comments, we’re here to listen. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.