Why Our Anti-Violence Work Is and Must Be Anti-Racist 

Elizabeth Freeman Center (EFC) stands in solidarity with local, state and national movements, including Black Lives Matter, in demanding civil rights, justice and liberation for our Black, Brown and Indigenous communities.

As the domestic and sexual violence response center for Berkshire County, we at EFC see daily how individual violence and systemic racism are intertwined. Black, Brown and Indigenous people endure more violence, face disbelief or blame when they talk about it, and are often punished by the systems ostensibly there to help, including the police, courts, and state agencies.  Our anti-violence work is – and must be – rooted in anti-racism to combat these realities.  We will continue to fight until the lives, stories, and safety of survivors of color are valued.

We know that dismantling white supremacy and structural racism means looking within.  As an organization, we are taking this opportunity to examine ourselves; to review our practices, policies, and culture; and to uplift the voices and experiences of Black, Brown and Indigenous survivors of domestic and sexual violence, on our staff, among our clients, and in our communities. As our community, we ask you to be part of these changes, and to hold us accountable to them.

We will also continue to call for a systems transformation.  Sustainable change requires investment in policies that prioritize racial equity and justice.  EFC will continue to be fierce advocates for affordable housing, decent income supports, health care as a human right, living wages, universal child care, violence prevention and response, equity in education, mental health and substance use supports, and healing services for everyone, most especially for communities bearing the brunt of racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia.  We will continue to demand an end to the criminalization of Black, Brown and Indigenous people, the criminalization of poverty,  the militarization of law enforcement, and the perpetuation of injustice in the name of safety.  We believe, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

We all deserve safety and justice.  At EFC, we will keep fighting until everyone is safe and everyone is free.