Converge! Conference in Miami

On February 7th , I had the honor and privilege of speaking at Converge!, a conference hosted by the University of Miami Law School about Sakhi’s transformative justice work. It was in the mid-80s, there were green parrots roosting in the trees, and inside Beth Richie was speaking truths – truths we knew, truths that were hard to hear, and ultimately the truths that inspire:

–     The gender-based violence movement has saved lives, but it has also made others more vulnerable to violence.

–     There is racism in the movement, because we have not looked at other forms of oppression that is related to gender oppression

–     Everyday knowledge and authority matters.

–     We don’t need a voice – we have it.  We need to be listened to.

She critiqued the current responses to people in our communities who need support.  Currently, rather than caring, we institute control.  We use the prison industrial complex as a solution or a tool to end social problems, like violence.  We blame people for their suffering. We often criminalize people who can’t take care of themselves.  Instead, we should build a culture of caring.  The solutions to gender-based violence reside outside of the criminal legal system.

Her words really resonated with me, and I was so proud about Sakhi’s vision, and its approach.  We work hard to build a culture of caring, and to support the women we serve on their unique pathways to achieve what security means for them.  We think about why and how we do our work, and what we can do better.  We try innovative approaches, like transformative justice. We even dance!  But we recognize that it is when we leave that space that the work for liberation happens.