Recent events have highlighted the prevalence of police brutality, the trauma of COVID-19 illness and resulting deaths which are disproportionately affecting people and communities of color. In response to this, Helping Services has stated that now and always, Black Lives Matter. We are always seeking ways where we work with communities of color in order to create safe and healthy communities for individuals to thrive in. Collaboration and partnership with local culturally-specific victim service organizations is an integral piece of this work.
For the past few years, the Domestic Abuse Resource Center has collaborated with AMANI Community Services in Waterloo, Iowa. AMANI is a culturally-specific domestic violence and sexual assault agency serving African Americans in Black Hawk and Linn Counties. One of our advocates was able to take a group of youth who identify as girls to the Queens of Color Summit. At the summit, survivors of violence bravely voiced their personal stories.
An impactful speaker was a domestic violence survivor with a hearing impairment who teaches sign language to those who can hear. Those listening to their story quickly realized that there isn’t a specific “type” of survivor – that violence and abuse can happen to anyone regardless of background, income level or where they live. They also gained awareness and appreciation of the strength in telling one’s story.
The ladies in attendance were uplifted by a “This is Me” board which showed them that it is a wonderful thing to embrace your uniqueness and that Black is beautiful. The board also represented that natural beauty rivals the polished and photo-shopped beauty that is seen in magazines and on social media profiles.
Valuable content presented to the group included how to recognize the red flags of human and labor trafficking as well as exercising caution on social media platforms, including posts as well as friend requests.
Our hope is that more communities of color programs will collaborate with Helping Services so that we may continue our mission to educate and support survivors while addressing the specific needs of these communities.
If you would like to speak with a trained advocate, call the 24/7 resource line at 800-383-2988 or chat with an advocate via your mobile device or computer. All of our services are free and confidential.