Partnership Against Domestic Violence Statement On Diversity, Equality and Accountability

The work of PADV is grounded in our core values which include:

Safety:  We believe in the right to live free from abuse and violence and the fear of violence.
Diversity and Equality:  We believe in the strength of diversity and value differences among ourselves and within our communities.  We believe in the equality of all and in individual human rights regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, immigration status, age, gender identity/expression, marital status, sexual preference/orientation, pregnancy, medical condition, disability, veteran’s or military status, or any other characteristic,
Systems Accountability:  We believe that social systems and institutions should be held accountable for ending the behaviors, practices, and other conditions that foster violence in our homes and communities.
Commitment to Nonviolence:  We believe in showing a commitment to nonviolence through speech and actions that promote peace.  We believe in working against all abuse, and for the removal of causes of violence and injustice including systemic poverty and oppression.
Safe Space:  We believe in sustaining a safe place for dialogue and sharing where a supportive atmosphere and cooperative spirit is developed and encouraged and where open, authentic communication, non-judgmental listening, mutual problem-solving and equal respect for all participants are the norms.

Unfortunately, recent events indicate that as a nation we still have a long way to go to achieve these values.  We have seen that diversity is not celebrated, but rather feared and used as an excuse to harm and even kill those we see as different than us.  We have seen how racial oppression has stood in the way of equity in the criminal justice system. We have seen government and social systems turn away from accountability, and instead of protecting the victim, protect the perpetrators of horrendous crimes.  As providers of domestic violence services, we have heard over and over again from women of color their fear of calling the police when victimized by their partner.  While they fear the violence of their partner, given the events they’ve witnessed in this country, they also greatly fear that their perpetrator will be subjected to violence and possible death by those intervening.  We have seen how systemic poverty has left those on the margins more vulnerable to the economic and health effects of COVID-19.

Please join us in working together on PADV’s value of Safe Space. Let’s engage in an open dialogue with each other in a safe, understanding and empathic way.  As a community, we must accept that the reality for people of color is different than others; their fear and anger at the lack of system accountability is real.  We all must cry when parents of black sons tell us they fear everyday for the well-being and life of their child.  We must work to understand the very real dangers faced by police officers. We must also clearly convey the reality faced by those we serve so that police officers can understand that the least forceful response possible preserves dignity and reduces risk to citizens, officers, and our communities.  We must celebrate the rich diversity of this country, understand that this diversity makes us stronger and better, and that when one of us is hurt, we’re all hurt.  We recognize that respecting each other starts with each of us; in our homes, and in all of our communities.  Our PADV community, includes our clients, our staff, our volunteers and our board.  We commit to having difficult conversations in our PADV community around systems accountability and we commit to learning to listen to all voices to make sure we are honoring the richness of our diversity.  Let us talk together and look within our hearts and souls to find a way to create a more peaceful, loving and just world.

PADV understands that a statement, in and of itself, will not end injustice and inequity, no matter how sincerely offered. This is our first statement and step but will not be our last. We are committed to do the greatly needed work on both an agency and community level to actively address, speak out on, and work against racism. We invite you to join us.