Safety: Changing Our Focus
The final grantee convening for the Ending Child Sexual Abuse portfolio was held on June 17-19th in Brooklyn, NY and was attended by all grantees in the cohort. As the portfolio is drawing to a close, this convening provided an opportunity for organizations that have been working together over the course of five years to discuss lessons learned and key moments in the history of their work to end child sexual abuse. Facilitated by a team of dynamic consultants, participants were able to spend time reflecting and visioning the future of the emerging movement to end child sexual abuse. They were joined for the entire convening by the staff of the Just Beginnings Collaborative. As the Ms. Foundation is taking on broader work in Safety, we are happy to be partners with the Just Beginnings Collaborative which is a philanthropic entity that will focus exclusively on funding organizations that are working to end child sexual abuse.
As events of the last year have demonstrated, there are several issues that have risen to national attention that threaten the safe living of women across America. In an effort to give attention to these issues and to learn more about the concerns of women, we will be conducting listening circles and visiting women in their communities to hear directly from them. Throughout this process, we will give particular attention to the needs of women of color, women living in the south and transgender women. While it will take some time to develop our focus, we know this demographic of women is living with increased risk. As our scan progresses we will work with past and prospective grantee partners to elevate the concerns we are hearing.
In particular, the social and political climate has exacerbated race and gender-based violence and allowed violence against women, in particular women of color, to thrive. This trend renders Black women and girls especially vulnerable to violent attacks. Addressing the multiple breaches to safe living conditions for cisgender and transgender Black women and girls will require changing the policies and practices that lead to the criminalizing of this particularly vulnerable population. It will also require a cultural shift in how funding relates to gender expression and gender identity.
This year, the Ms. Foundation for Women announced its support of 7 organizations that safeguard the wellbeing of women and girls of color. Reflecting a new strategy for the organization’s safety-focused grants, the groups selected share a commitment to addressing the issues of criminalization, sexual assault and violence, and state-sanctioned violence that undermine the wellbeing of Black women and girls.
The organizations were specifically chosen because of their unique work, disrupting racial and gender justice frameworks that traditionally fail to include feminine of center gender nonconforming people – cisgender and transgender. The grantees are groups led by Black women that are organizing and advocating for policy changes and healing justice; working to dismantle the systems that harm Black women and girls. In addition to financial assistance, each grant is coupled with hands-on capacity building, and communications and advocacy support for the grantee organization and leadership to support and strengthen the organization’s infrastructure.
FY 2017 Grantees Include
- Black Women’s Blueprint
- Every Black Girl
- Girls for Gender Equity
- National Black Women’s Justice Institute
- Trans Sistas of Color
- Women With A Vision