“Freedom is not a state, it is an act”

On Friday we lost two pillars of the Civil Rights Movement – Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian. At Sanctuary for Families, we mourn the loss of these brave men who transformed our country through their love, compassion, and unyielding commitment to racial justice.

Our mission of ending gender-based violence is inextricably linked to the fight for racial equity. Here in New York City, we see how forces like housing segregation, underfunded schools, inequitable health care, police brutality, and unconscious bias in social services converge. These systems oppress Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, creating the circumstances that too often engender abuse and exploitation.

The work of Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian and the Movement for Black Lives must continue. Words alone are not enough when it comes to honoring these freedom fighters. Here’s what we can all do:


Rep. John Lewis said, “Do your part and vote like you’ve never voted before. Believe in the power of love and together we will build the Beloved Community here in America.” Visit Vote Save America to register or make sure you’re registered, then check with your friends to make sure they’re ready for November as well.


Learn more about Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian, their values and their legacies: The Atlantic – John Lewis was an American FounderThe New York Times – John Lewis Risked his Life for Justice, and OWN: A Tribute to Reverend C.T. Vivian


From the “three-fifths” compromise, continuing through the Jim Crow era, to today, the census has historically been weaponized to deprive critical federal funding to Black and Brown communities. Fill out your census and consider exploring ways you can support NYC census efforts which have been hampered by the pandemic.

Sanctuary for Families joins in mourning the passing of Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian this week and we send out condolences to all who were fortunate to know them personally. As we strive to build a world in which freedom from gender violence is a basic human right, we remember the words of Rep. John Lewis who said, “Freedom is not a state, it is an act.” With your support, our fight for freedom continues.