What we witnessed in our nation’s capital last Wednesday was a disgraceful act of treason, a terrifying display of white supremacy and anti-Semitism, a clear example of white male privilege, and the greatest attack on our democracy that many of us have seen in our lifetimes.
While we continue to process and reckon with the state of our country, now is also the time we must recommit to the work of ending violence and oppression in all forms. What occurred on January 6th is the product of 245 years of systemic racism and mirrors American history. On the same day that the remarkable mobilization of Black and Brown voters resulted in the historic election of Georgia’s first Black and Jewish senators, white insurrectionists, falsely claiming voter fraud in cities with large Black and Brown populations, carried confederate flags through the halls of the Capitol for the first time in our country’s history. The forces of white supremacy and patriarchy will continue to exert themselves long after January 20th when the Biden-Harris administration begins.
So our work continues, with renewed urgency. The next four years have the potential to be transformational but only with concerted attention and effort. For over 35 years, Sanctuary for Families has been there for survivors of gender-based violence — providing the tools and support survivors need to reunite and protect their families, secure safe and permanent housing, attain living-wage career-track jobs and become leaders in their communities. Our support and advocacy will continue with a special focus on:
- The immediate end of asylum policies instituted by the Trump administration, the reinstatement of DACA, and comprehensive immigration reform to benefit our clients, over 70% of whom are immigrants.
- State legislation that will deliver greater social services and protections to people in the sex trade, a population that is disproportionately made up of Black and Brown women and girls, LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants.
- Implementation of the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, a New York State law that grants judges the discretion to sentence survivors, whose abuse or exploitation was a significant contributing factor to the crime they committed, to reduced or alternative sentencing.
- Sanctuary’s survivor leadership policies to ensure survivor voices are reflected at all levels, including our Board of Directors.
- Sanctuary’s anti-racism work and review of our accountability, hiring, and compensation policies.
I urge each of you to consider how you can counter the forces of white supremacy and patriarchy which give rise to gender-based violence. Take a look at this guide from Indivisible for suggestions on addressing racism and implicit bias within you and your communities. If you aren’t already involved, reach out to us to learn more about how you can support survivors of abuse.
Hon. Judy Harris Kluger,