December 20, 2016

A LETTER FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WINTER 2016

By:

Category: Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I love this week. I love this week because at long last, the Winter Solstice is here. We’ve had a dark few months, but in this moment, we start gaining light. In many cultures and traditions in the Northern hemisphere, this is a time of reflection, celebration, and connection to family and community.

Here at the Coalition, we’re reflecting on some of the year’s accomplishments, and looking towards our future goals and plans.

We’ve had some major successes in 2016! This year, over 500 advocates, attorneys, and therapists learned how to use our DV and Mental Health Collaboration Project’s Family Law Toolkits at eight local and national workshops and conferences. We provided training to hundreds of additional professionals in our region on topics ranging from engaging communities in violence prevention, to restorative and transformative justice, to responding to racial micro-aggressions. We worked with allies in the legal system to improve enforcement of firearms restrictions in protection orders. And we mobilized our members and allies to secure over $1.7 million in new local funding for flexible mobile advocacy, housing support, and critical legal services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Working in coalition with others enables us all to do our work better, and our collective advocacy leads to survivors receiving the help they need and deserve.

As we look ahead to 2017, we’re excited to celebrate our successes as a community, support our members, deepen our connections with social justice organizations, and work for improvements in the family law and mental health systems. Planning is under way for quarterly membership meetings, future training opportunities, and mobilizing for state legislative action. We will be launching our new 3-year federally funded project aimed at improving policy and practice related to domestic violence and parenting evaluations, completing the 2017 Trans Resource and Referral Guide, and piloting Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses for survivors. We will be monitoring local, state, and national legislation, and mobilizing support for policies that support survivors and promote gender, racial, economic and social equity.

This coming year, when the health, safety, and dignity of so many in our communities feel threatened, I believe that the work of the Coalition is more important than ever. To maintain past gains and continue making progress, I believe we must consciously deepen and strengthen our connections, share our knowledge and resources, and stay rooted in our core values while working to find common ground with those whom we disagree. Now more than ever, we need YOU, our members and supporters to stay connected and engaged in our work. Please like us on Facebook, join us for our Annual Membership Meeting on January 12th, as well as our fun and festive Celebration for Change on April 20th! Sign up here for Coalition action alerts, come to Olympia for a statewide lobby day (Domestic Violence February 14th, Sexual Assault February 16th), Donate what time and money you can to the Coalition, our member agencies, and other causes you believe in.

Together we can keep the flame of hope alive in this winter season. I’m honored to work in coalition with you, and I am so grateful for all of your amazing work and support.

With deep gratitude and respect,

Merril