As a Native woman and a formerly battered woman, I became the Minnesota representative to NCADV when I was young. That experience enabled me to work on behalf of Native women for the past 35 years. NCADV is a diverse representation of leadership working to end violence and all forms of oppression. Working together, we learned about one another and bridged the divide of class, ethnicity, sexual preference, age, and religion. The thousands of women I have met over these past decades have been my teachers! They have given me a wonderful life where my opinions and views are valued and respected. I have been nurtured intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally by my sisters in the battered women's movement. NCADV is the center to a humanizing universe for all society! Megwetch for all you have given to me.
As a member of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence I appreciate many aspects of the coalition. First, it is the primary advocate for front line advocates and grassroots organizations. In these changing times it is critically important to maintain this national advocacy. As a volunteer for the organization, I feel empowered and honored to be a voice for rural victims and survivors of battered women. As a formerly battered woman, I know first hand how important services to victim are and primarily those services who maintain the voice of survivors as central to their program and the work that they do.
Since being a member of the Board of Directors for NCADV, I have been a witness to the inner workings of this amazing agency. Founded by women of color and Native women in the 1970s, NCADV was established as a grassroots initiative to ensure that those most marginalized have a space for collaboration and and to be heard in addressing the violence in our lives.
These people are women, GLBTQ, women of color, native women, women from rural areas, Jewish and Muslim/Arab women. I have met people in my local area of California who have collaborated with NCADV and/or joined our national conferences. Perspectives about NCADV include “NCADV changed my life” and adjectives to describe NCADV and its committed staff are “amazing,” “committed,” and “Inspiring.”
The staff of NCADV under the leadership of their executive director work tirelessly in advocating at the policy level to ensure that laws such as the Violence Against Women Act will be passed, to be a resource for communities, to be technical assistant providers for those working to establish their own culturally aware agencies, and building spaces where people like myself, have a space to collaborate and learn from women who have been involved in the anti-violence movement since the 1970s to those who will redefine the next generation of anti-violence movement advocacy.
I am proud to be a member of the Board of Directors. But I too, like those I have met who have worked with NCADV in a variety of capacities feel that NCADV changed my life by offering me a space to learn even more about advocacy and social change.
As a volunteer Board member of NCADV I cannot tell you what an honor it is to serve along side such wonderful co-Board members, Rita Smith our incredible Executive Director and of course the entire staff at the Colorado office and the policy supporters in DC. When I first attended an NCADV Conference in 2008 I knew I had found an organization that was and still does make a difference in the lives of abused women, their families and in the lives of Advocates across this nation. I have been honored to sit/stand in the places that some of the greatest women in the battered women's movement have stood before me. I knew I had some very big shoes and in some cases moccasins to fill as I took on the duties of being a Board member. As a former victim, a survivor, a Native woman, an Elder and as a mother, grandmother and great grandmother I cannot express how hard this organization fights for the rights of women to live a peaceful life regardless of color, social class, ethnicity, age, familial status, citizenship or immigrant status,or choice of life partners. Thank You NCADV for making a difference in MY life.
AS A Board Member I have had the opportunity to work with a group that have kept the vision of women living safe and peaceful lives. Meeting some of the bravest most courageous women in America that have survived the horrors of domestic violence while protecting their children in itself is a very humbling experience and standing along side the women that have worked so diligently to see that those women have the resources they need as they move forward is an honor.
As a Board Member and a survivor of domestic violence I am honored to serve with an organization and a group of activist that always gives a voice to the victim/survivors whose voices have been silenced.