At CASS, we are dedicated to building spaces that treat all individuals with dignity and respect. We work every day to challenge power imbalances that enable the unequal treatment of people in public spaces.
It’s an especially important time to recognize the importance of countering state violence — violence enacted by a government or its institutions—in this mission.
Today, our new factsheet illustrates that state actors have long been perpetrators and facilitators of gender-based violence. Sexual assault is the second most common form of police violence, following excessive force, and the issue has been on national agendas since 2007.
This violence is disproportionately experienced by marginalized populations including women of color, transgender women, those living with mental illness, and undocumented immigrants.
It’s clearer than ever that addressing the role of the state in perpetrating violence must be part of our work toward the safety of all.
This weekend, CASS will join the Women’s March on Washington in an anti-racist, anti-street harassment contingent marching for safe public spaces for everyone.
If you’ve followed the news, you’ll know that the march has drawn criticism for many legitimate reasons: co-opting a 1997 march led by black women, lacking focus, and censoring the input of women of color. At its conception, the march was billed as a feel-good exercise for white women that excluded and ignored minority voices.
As a more experienced team of organizers took the reins (read: thanks to the physical and emotional labor of women of color), things have improved. Last week, the Women’s March released a policy platform that many of us felt we could get on board with.
It’s not perfect, and our concerns persist. But it’s a step in the right direction.
We are excited to be part of a march that will bring many into the fold and amplify the call for safe public spaces.
We will continue our commitment to building communities in which people of all backgrounds, identities, and experiences can feel safe. We will resist racist policing, violence, and other forms of state-sanctioned oppression that target people of color, sex workers, and other disenfranchised communities.
We are proud to stand up for black, Muslim, Jewish, LGBTQNC, and immigrant women, and so many others who have been on the receiving end of hate and harassment. We are honored to recognize their past, present, and future legacies in defending human rights.
We will continue to call out white feminism and other exclusionary agendas when we see them, and work to build movements that center the most marginalized identities in our community. We believe that activism is divisive, inefficient, loud, and uncomfortable — and necessarily so.