Community Learning Collective: Collaboration and knowledge sharing across agencies

ImageW.O.M.A.N., Inc. works closely with CORA (Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse), Asian Women’s Shelter, CUAV (Community United Against Violence), The Riley Center and La Casa de las Madres to provide shared trainings and workshops to domestic violence advocates through our Community Learning Collective. Together, representatives from each agency planned and facilitated our last training on Supporting Transgender Survivors in April. The event featured a panel of folks working to support transgender community members: Erin Armstrong from Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness TransThrive, Darrick Ing from Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, Maisha Johnson from CUAV, and Anand Kalra from Transgender Law Center. These folks shared their knowledge of issues affecting Transgender communities, such as the lack of knowledge about gender identity and the barriers related to transphobia, as well as the sources of support in the Bay Area such as their own agencies and others who are inclusive of gender non-conforming (when a person does not conform to society’s expectations of gender expression based on the gender binary, expectations of masculinity and femininity, or how they should identify their gender) clients. During the second half of the training, Willie Wilkinson, a writer and public health consultant (http://www.willywilkinson.com/), shared his expertise on terminology, challenges, and resources for Transgender survivors and facilitated small group work focused on scenarios that might arise in domestic violence agencies and how advocates can be more inclusive of Transgender survivors. Overall, the event was a success and the Community Learning Collective is excited to continue offering these training and community building opportunities!

The Community Learning Collective is currently planning a workshop focused on Domestic Violence & Disability to be held in September, following a similar structure as the last workshop: education on issues impacting survivors with different abilities, a panel of providers and advocates working in the (dis)ability community, and small group work allowing for advocates to practice their skills in supporting survivors with different abilities. In the future, we hope to provide a training on Supporting African & African American Survivors, based on research conducted by Kemi Mustapha from Bay Area Legal Aid. As a collective, we have prioritized our trainings to focus on education and improved service provision for community members who are marginalized and face many unique barriers in accessing support and services. Our hope is to facilitate continued learning, increasingly effective service provision, and community building through our ongoing work together. While many social service agencies find themselves doing their work in silos, we strive to connect with each other and strengthen our efforts to reduce and respond to violence in our communities.

~Lily Krutel, Educational Development Manager

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