On November 5, 2016, I hosted my organization’s 6th Annual Men’s Domestic Violence Awareness program. This year, I chose to co-host the event with our Family Safety Center. The purpose is to bring our community together to promote and encourage male involvement, mentoring, education and healthy relationships. We also make honorary presentations for male advocates, with a specific emphasis on domestic violence. I strategically host this event on the 1st Saturday following Domestic Violence Awareness month. I believe it keeps the conversation going, adding the component of showing the positive side of male advocacy and their involvement to help end violence against women.
The following week, on November 8, 2016, the U.S. Presidential election took place. After spending the weekend celebrating men who engage in efforts to eradicate violence against women, I watched in disbelief as the country voted to place a man in office whose comments about various groups, including minorities and women, have been disturbing, to say the least.
I am saddened to see that what I continue to feel and experience in my own community has come to pass in reality as a whole across our nation. The selection of our new President shows that a high level of fear, celebrity and the acceptance of ‘locker room talk’ among other issues, is alive and well. It also shows that those of us who serve in a leadership capacity have to continue pushing our local, state and national legislators to hold those accountable for establishing and/or furthering to incite the social, racial and economic injustices that have caused various minority communities to feel even less likely to trust or believe for equality and long term change.
Furthermore, it is noteworthy to mention that our President elect won based on the electoral college and not the popular vote. After researching the history of how the electoral college was formed in the first place, it appears that the voices of minorities were not part of that establishment. I’m a woman of color living in a southern ‘red’ state. I’m definitely a boots on the ground type of community leader, and yes I voted. And, while my vote DID matter in terms of my right to do so, that vote went up against a systematically strong alliance that continues to show up as a powerful, united front.
What does all of this mean for me as a minority women in leadership? It serves as a personal and professional reminder that I/we still have a lot of work to do. There are current laws that need to be examined, challenged and changed. I’m more determined to ensure that my voice and the voices of other minorities are heard, respected and protected. As a woman of color & community leader, I have an obligation to serve my community, ensure they understand their right to speak up and out regarding issues of equality and justice, and demand that tangible resources are made available to further enhance their quality of life. Hopefully, the new President will sincerely examine our country’s issues, challenges and concerns in a way that will encourage him to adopt a different perspective and work for holistic justice and equality.