Meet the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Through this regular feature, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) will be introducing you to our member coalitions.
This month, learn more about the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV)…
What is it like to do domestic violence work in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island is geographically the smallest state in the nation, with a population of just over one million people. Because of this, our five full member agencies and four affiliate members are uniquely positioned to be able to work together to end domestic violence in Rhode Island.
What impact does your unique Rhode Island context have on this work?
If the rest of the world has six degrees of separation, Rhode Island only has two – as a result, we are fortunate to be able to get to know and work with legislators and other influencers in productive ways. We are also able to meet with and directly support Rhode Island’s many other community organizations, such as the Rhode Island Chapters of Planned Parenthood, Moms Demand Action/Everytown, and the ACLU.
What are the biggest barriers that survivors face in Rhode Island?
As in many places around the country, one of Rhode Island’s biggest needs is more affordable housing. In partnership with many agencies across Rhode Island, we work to provide housing at every level – from emergency shelter, to transitional housing, to the housing-first model, to permanent supportive housing. We must make adequate affordable, safe housing a priority in order to help victims and survivors of domestic violence move forward, heal, and rebuild.
“We must make adequate affordable, safe housing a priority in order to help victims and survivors of domestic violence move forward, heal, and rebuild.”
What’s happening in Rhode Island that you’re excited about?
We are very excited about our 2017 public awareness campaign that focuses on men saying “NO MORE” to domestic violence. Featuring local community leaders from Ten Men, a RICADV statewide prevention initiative, the campaign runs on bus ads, the radio, Pandora, and social media. Working in partnership alongside us to end domestic violence, these men are engaging their communities to shift harmful gender norms that perpetuate men’s violence against women. Click here to see the eight posters from our “NO MORE SILENCE” campaign.
Are there any champions in Rhode Island that you’d like to thank or celebrate for their record or work on domestic violence?
We are grateful to have many people and organizations working alongside the RICADV to prevent and end domestic violence:
- The following corporate sponsors have been generous supporters of our work and have all made a longstanding commitment to our mission: ALEX AND ANI, Alliance Security, The Allstate Foundation, Dave’s Fresh Marketplace, and Verizon Wireless.
- Our bold Congressional delegation has stood up for our work and mission tirelessly during challenging times. Thank you to Senator Reed and Senator Whitehouse, and Representative James Langevin and Representative David Cicilline.
- Here in Rhode Island, there are too many supportive and wonderful state agencies, local city and town leaders to name. We are grateful to them all!
How is your coalition working to end domestic violence?
- We continue to be deeply inspired by the national Move to End Violence initiative and are striving to address not only domestic violence but other forms of violence and oppressions.
- We advocated for four years to make preventing domestic violence a priority in our state. In 2016, the Rhode Island legislature passed the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, which has allowed us to provide grants to several organizations in order to reach those in our communities who are most impacted by violence and inequity. Some of the funded projects include:
- YWCA Rhode Island will train educators, youth workers, and others on the historical and current ways institutional and structural racism impact girls of color, and will offer Girls Circle, a proven practice for building resiliency in girls.
- Youth In Action will develop and implement a series of youth designed community events, including a film and discussion series for young people, along with a social media campaign.
- Additionally, we focus on legislation that seeks to improve people’s lives in very real ways, such as a mandating a higher minimum wage and providing sick and safe days for all RI employees.
“We are striving to address not only domestic violence but other forms of violence and oppressions.”
If RICADV was a musician or music group, who would you be and why?
This is the most hotly debated question by our group, with staff members suggesting everything from Kendrick Lamar to Beyoncé to Queen (our own karaoke versions, of course)! We finally agreed on Alicia Keys. She is incredibly talented and her songs are about individual and community empowerment. As an activist, she is bold and leads with love. Plus, she has that ‘no make-up’ thing going on. She rocks!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We want to raise up the work of SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships), our nationally-recognized task force of survivors. SOAR helps inform every part of our work, from public awareness to policy, from prevention to advocacy. SOAR members use their voices and courageously tell their personal stories to create social and systemic change. They, and all survivors, inspire us every day – together, we can end domestic violence!
Read the rest of our Meet A Coalition features here.