As the Action Alliance begins our 35th birthday year we are transitioning our Alliance in Action communication from the electronic newsletter you have received over the past few years—to a blog.
35 Years!! I remember 35.
I remember my friends who were worried about inching up on 40, past that magic half-way mark to likely death, given the average life-expectancy at the time. As “thirtysomethings” we were certain that 40 was a line of demarcation between being young, risk-taking social justice warriors and stodgy professionals focused on our retirement accounts. We were worried about our mortality, and we were even more worried about crossing that line. My worries had an added dimension. I would lay awake in bed at night and think about all of the changes in my life since the time I left home at the age of 18 and I would get exhausted just thinking about going through that much change again…and again if I lived to be 70!!
So now the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance is inching up on 40. As with so many non-profits that were started nearly four decades ago to bring an end to violence against women and girls, we have been through many big changes over the years. We find ourselves in a similar phase of our generational lives as “thirtysomethings,” questioning whether we are moving irrevocably from our movement roots as agents of social change to a professional service delivery system. Sexual violence and intimate partner violence are still pervasive in our communities. The progress that we have made establishing rights and services is not equally accessible to people of all genders, races, ethnicities and abilities.
So we must continue to take the risks-to demand justice-to promote deep and meaningful change. We must continue to build upon the knowledge we have gained and at the same time we must dig down deep and be fearless about leaving behind those strategies that we now understand to be flawed. Four decades of work have also taught us that this is a long journey-one that requires thoughtful strategy, sustained effort, and time for reflection, regrouping and recharging.
We are envisioning this blog as a new way of communicating with our members and with the world on a broad range of topics. We plan to inspire, educate and amuse; in the process we hope to spark your curiosity, connect you to our work and rouse you to action. Whatever your age, whatever your experience, whatever your dreams for how we might all get to a future without violence…we hope that this blog will speak to you, we hope that you will share it with your friend and we hope that you will speak to us.
Kristi VanAudenhove is the Executive Director of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. She has been a leader in coalition work, advocacy and policy for nearly 40 years.
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