The Virginia Anti-Violence Project is here to work to prevent violence initially and to be able to provide support to those people who are managing similar toxic and traumatic experiences, while still trying to just meet their basic human needs. Those people are us. Those needs are mental, physical and emotional. They are safe and stable housing, healthy food, financial stability, transportation, access to affordable mental health services, education and the list goes on.
Human needs have increased exponentially, while competent support systems decrease significantly. As LGBTQIA+ individuals who have been impacted by violence (and that’s all of us), having to also navigate discrimination and ineffective resources only presents more challenges that put us at higher risks for repeating toxic cycles. What kind of ambassadors do we want to be for the mission of addressing and eliminating violence, in all forms? We can’t continue to rely on those who have no accountability or responsibility to the movement to make the rules about how we heal, educate, and live in community. We need to speak with one solidified voice about who Virginia Anti-Violence Project is, who our collaborative partners are. We understand that what we believe is possible. We do! It is going to take multiple voices and resource streams to continue providing human based services, empowering community, telling the stories of resiliency, and having those stories reach beyond just those experiencing it.
One strategy to ensure community empowerment is financial stability, by way of fair and consistent compensation for the folks on the ground everyday. For the human beings attending trainings and workshops, using their personal vehicles and voices to meet client and partner needs, balancing their own mental/physical/emotional needs with the demands of the job, and celebrating advocacy accomplishments along the way. Funding is necessary for us to continue providing free services to those who need it most. Being able to relieve some financial burdens while a person is recovering from violence and trauma is a form of activism. Another way to support the mission of addressing the ever changing ways violence impacts our community is to volunteer your time and skills to VAVP. We are in need of community members with skills that will help to significantly increase the organization’s capacity to operate effectively through our Board of Directors. Outreach volunteers, brand ambassadors, are needed to be the unified voice of all those who benefit from the existence of VAVP, now and in the future. Activism looks so many different ways.
We invite your voice in creating strategies that will help our community to not only recover from experiences of violence and trauma but to also thrive in living into a future where an organization like Virginia Anti-Violence Project, and its partners, are no longer needed. We have plans and several ideas for hosting engagement events in the coming year. VAVP also needs the support of all stakeholders in making these programs available for our community. We hope that you will join us in our next chapter of working to address violence against and within the LGBTQIA+ community. If you are interested in more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also email me directly at email@example.com.
~ Ebony Kirkland