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Category: News

February 8, 2017

Inspired by our “Feminists&Me” tee, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) continues its “Spotlight on Feminists” series by highlighting and honoring individuals who work to make a difference every day. NNEDV previously honored the women featured in this design: Sojourner Truth & Susan B. Anthony & bell hooks & Gloria Steinem & Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

NNEDV: First, tell us about yourself – who are you and what do you do?

Patricia Medina: I’m Patricia Medina - mother, Air Force veteran, and domestic violence survivor. In my free time I promote community involvement and philanthropy among millennials with my blog Chatty Patty DC and with the many organizations that I partner with. I’m also a domestic violence ambassador.

NNEDV: What are you currently working on related to nonviolence and/or gender equality?

PM: I’m working with an organization called Boys to Bowties and their initiative S.T.O.P (Seek Time Or Pay). The goal is to get young men to take time to think about their actions before they have to pay with their lives. I also promote domestic violence awareness with 10Blessings, 10K survivors. A friend of mine started this initiative, which is designed to support victims of domestic violence to re-build and take back control of their lives. This is a survivor-led mission. Survivors are speaking about their experiences, helping to find shelter for victims, mentoring other victims, and helping them get on their feet. Not only do we raise money, we create classes that encompass trauma-informed approaches and get survivors involved back in their communities. We discuss things that are real in our communities such as healthy relationships, children and teens who have incarcerated parents, and helping single mothers take control over their lives.

NNEDV: What inspired you to do this work? What inspires you to continue it?

PM: I have noticed that many elders of the Black community complain that the youth (i.e., “millennials”) are inactive and do not impact change. I am fully aware of the accomplishments of our generation and I wanted to highlight them. Additionally, I wanted to bring opportunities for involvement to the forefront so that youth would have means to reconnect with the Black community. One of the things that really got me thinking about this was during the Arab Spring - a lot of organization happened around social media, recording events and grassroots efforts. This movement helped to get these important topics out there for the public to be educated. I think it’s important to understand the history of social justice and respect the ways that we have moved forward. We must also understand that the movement of social justice is changing and being relevant to young people means meeting young people where they are – and that’s through social media and technology.

Likewise, just because things are not seen does not mean that things are not happening. There are groups who are doing tremendous work, but often are not being shown in the spotlight. Doing good work doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be in the spotlight. The media portrays the negative things that happen in the community, but often when good things are happening there is no media presence.

I’m inspired to publicly speak about domestic violence because I used to be ashamed of my experiences. I blamed myself for what I endured. I was conditioned to believe that I caused my own abuse. It wasn’t until I found other women who were fearless and unashamed that I truly realized my strength. I now speak for the little girl in me that was silenced, and for all the women and children who share my experience but are too afraid to let their voices be heard.

NNEDV: Let’s say you woke up this morning and gender-based violence had been completely eradicated. What are you going to do now?

PM: I live at the intersection of being Black and being a woman. It’s hard to feel safe in any space. If I woke up this morning and gender-based violence was completely eradicated, I would focus on racial injustices. Although eliminating gender-based violence would be amazing, I’d still be vulnerable to all of the threats people of color face daily. We cannot do this work without looking at the intersectionality between being a woman and other identities.

NNEDV: If you could sit down over your beverage of choice with any person – living or dead – who would it be and why?

PM: This question is the hardest. If I could sit down with any person of my choice, I think I’d like to sit down with Harriet Tubman. I’d love to hear her recall her memories of the Underground Railroad. I’d want to know how she found the courage to lead others to freedom. I always wondered what challenges she faced while saving others and how she led men, women, and children so courageously.