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October 17, 2013

More Beloved More Community

Recently, Movement Maker organization Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) hosted its 2 Annual Conference in Yakima, Washington. This year, the 3-day conference drew nearly 400 advocates from the coalition’s beloved community in Washington State.

Following last year’s “Beloved Community” conference, WSCADV executive director, Nan Stoops continued to engage coalition members in dialogue and practice that have emerged from the Move to End Violence.

Nan was joined by several Movement Makers including: Aimee Thompson Arevalo (Founder and Executive Director, Close to Home, Boston, Massachusetts), Neil Irvin (Executive Director, Men Can Stop Rape, Washington, DC), Joanne Smith (Founder and Executive Director, Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn, New York), Beckie Masaki (Associate Director, Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence, San Francisco, California), Kelly Miller (Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence), Patti Tototzintle (Chief Executive Officer, Casa de Esperanza, Minneapolis, Minnesota), Leiana Kinnicutt (Program Manager, Futures Without Violence, San Francisco, California), and Priscilla Gonzalez (Director of organizing for Communities United for Police Reform, New York, New York).

Movement Makers Pictured Left to Right: Nan Stoops, Joanne Smith, Kelly Miller, Aimee Thompson Arevalo, Leiana Kinnicutt

“I have learned so much from each of you about what it means to work and live in beloved community.  To be curious, to speak authentically and listen intently, to be both scientific and creative, to have kindness for strangers, to hunger for justice, to dance and laugh and play, to have moments of stillness, to believe in the impossible, and to deeply value all women and girls, to the last girl.– Nan Stoops”

The conference plenaries focused on the three pivots that the Movement Makers have identified as key shifts the movement needs to make in order to truly end violence against girls and women:

  • Proactive: Move from a reactive to proactive; pursue a bold vision for change.
  • Interconnected: Move from a fragmented field working in silos to an interconnected movement that has exponentially greater impact.
  • Social change: Move from a primary focus on meeting the immediate needs of people impacted by violence to an integrated approach that combines services and social change.

Throughout these sessions, Movement Makers incorporated the practice of Tai Ji—a physical practice that was – and continues to be – a centerpiece of their cohort experience. “This physical practice helps remind us that we do not work in isolation, that we belong to something bigger and more powerful, and that our voice and our determination give life to our vision.”

Movement Makers Beckie Masaki, Aimee Thompson Arevalo, and Nan Stoops Lead Conference Participants in Physical Practice

In the plenary focused on social change, Celinda Lake of Lake Research shed light on the opinion environment—what (and why) our community members really think about violence against girls and women. In the coming weeks, thanks to WSCADV, we’ll share a video of Celinda’s presentation.

Movement Makers also led a variety of workshops during the conference: physical practice, connections between domestic workers and domestic and sexual violence, role of men in prevention, neighborhood organizing as a way to eliminate violence against girls and women, and Girls for Gender Equity’s “Hey Shorty” approach to challenging sexual harassment in school culture.

According to Nan and the other Movement Makers, the energy at the conference was palpable. Advocates from all over Washington came together to work hard, to celebrate, to envision, and to be. . . more beloved, more community.

Art by lizar_tistry