VRP Supports NCAVP Statement on Black Lives Matter

As a member of the National Coalition for Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program supports the following statement from NCAVP:

As anti-violence organizations that provide direct services for and advocacy with LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of hate, intimate partner, and sexual violence, we affirm that #BlackLivesMatter and demand that city, county, and state governments commit to reallocating funding from police departments to human services agencies, including LGBTQ and survivor-centered services. In this moment of deep unrest and uncertainty, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and in the wake of the police killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky; George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Tony McDade in Tallahassee, Florida, we demand that police funding be reallocated to organizations that prioritize Black lives and support survivors.

As anti-violence organizations, we work to support LGBTQ and HIV-affected individuals in reducing harm, and healing from the trauma those harms cause, as survivors of violence. For Black, indigenous, and people of color survivors, surviving homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic violence from a partner, acquaintance, family member, landlord, roommate, employer, coworker, or other individual is often paired with and compounded by racist and anti-Black violence they experience from the state. LGBTQ Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) survivors are not safe when our city, county, and state budgets prioritize the expansion of policing and continue to starve social services. Survivors are often criminalized for acts of survival, and instead of getting the care necessary to survive and thrive, their trauma is increased by harassment and violence they experience at the hands of the police. In order to work toward solutions that truly end violence, we must stand up against policing as a solution, and push for the reallocation of police funding to support community-based, trauma-informed organizations that support survivors, especially organizations that are led by BIPOC community leaders.

Our organizations operate with a survivor-centered framework, and this means supporting survivors in exploring all their options for healing and justice. For many survivors, this looks like receiving counseling support from our organizations, peer support from other survivors, and developing political education to connect their individual experiences with their communities and building power with other survivors. Some survivors want to work with the government or state agencies to get an order of protection or even to bring charges against a person who has done them harm. We support these survivors in doing what they need to do to feel safe.

We also believe that long-term, our communities are not safer when government budgets prioritize policing over human services that include health care, housing, education, and services for survivors of violence. During a pandemic in which LGBTQ people of color are vulnerable to illness, job loss, and housing instability, and in which Black people are dying at disproportionately higher rates, it is unconscionable for governments to fund police departments at the same or higher levels, while cutting social services. It’s time for budgets to prioritize people and social services over policing.

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