NYSCASA Monthly Digest – February 2021

Do you have announcements that you would like NYSCASA to share in our Monthly Digest? Email submissions with “Newsletter” in the subject line to cmiller@nyscasa.org.


Coalition News

Large bold black text says "Every day should be a celebration of black history" above a line of 5 black stars. Below the stars, smaller black text reads "Every day, we affirm that Black histories matter—and most importantly, Black lives matter."NYSCASA Honors Black History Month 2021: Every Day Should Be a Celebration of Black History

Black History Month begins today, February 1. A tradition founded by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Black History Month honors the contributions of Black people, specifically Black Americans. Black History Month was meant to correct the absence of Black people in the nation’s education curricula, to encourage the public to extend their study of the past to include Black histories.

This is especially important for the movement to end sexual violence. The history of the anti-rape movement in the United States is also a history of the struggle of Black women and Black people of other marginalized genders against systemic racism and patriarchal violence, including the historical and ongoing threat of racialized sexual violence.

We acknowledge and pay homage to Black history makers who have led this work in the past and present, including but not limited to: Sojourner Truth, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, Recy Taylor, Rosa Parks, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Anita Hill, Loretta Ross, Mariame Kaba, Beth Richie, Andrea Ritchie, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Donna Hylton, Farah Tanis, Karma Cottman, Tarana Burke, Wagatwe Wanjuki, and many more who are not listed here.

NYSCASA believes that every day should be a celebration of Black history. We commit to centering the experiences of those who are most marginalized by white supremacy, anti-Black racism, and patriarchal violence. We commit to using our platform to amplify Black voices in the movements to end sexual violence and systemic racism. Every day, we affirm that Black histories matter—and, most importantly, Black lives matter.

Visit our blog to learn about upcoming events and access resources about Black History Month and the critical role of Black women and people of marginalized genders in the movement to end sexual violence: www.nyscasa.org/black-history-month-2021

NYSCASA and NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault Provide Testimony to NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board

Last month, NYSCASA and the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault (the Alliance) submitted testimony to the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) to express support for changes to Chapter 18-A § 440 of the New York City Charter, expanding the CCRB’s authority to encompass police sexual misconduct.

“Without independent oversight, police perpetrators often evade accountability. Internal reporting systems that represent law enforcement value internal, political and reputational protection and close cases above safeguarding the fundamental human rights of survivors,” wrote the Alliance and NYSCASA in our joint testimony.

Read more on our blog: www.nyscasa.org/2021-ccrb

NYSCASA Joins Lawmakers and Advocates in Support of the People’s Campaign for Parole Justice

On January 14, NYSCASA participated in a virtual press conference hosted by a coalition of more than 25 New York lawmakers and 250 of the state’s criminal and social justice reform groups to announce the launch of a project called the People’s Campaign for Parole Justice.

“The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault supports efforts for meaningful parole reform. Each of us is more than the worst action we have committed in our lives. We call on the legislature to pass Elder Parole and the Fair and Timely Parole Act,” says Chrys Ballerano, Senior Director of Collaboration and Training.

On January 27, NYSCASA participated in the People’s Campaign for Parole Justice Legislative Advocacy Day, which included providing a statement during the press conference.

“NYSCASA believes that prison justice is survivor justice. Meaningful parole reform could provide an important opportunity for incarcerated and criminalized survivors to access healing justice and community supports that are not available to them in New York’s prisons and jails,” says Chel Miller, Communications Director.

Read more on our blog: www.nyscasa.org/peoples-campaign-for-parole-justice

All New Yorkers Encouraged to Support Survivors During COVID-19 Crisis

We are still experiencing a pandemic. During this time of crisis, sexual violence, domestic violence, and child abuse will continue to occur – most likely at increased rates than ever before. The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Seven Dancers Coalition, and Prevent Child Abuse New York encourage New Yorkers to support their friends, family members, or colleagues whenever they seek help.

Read our joint statement and learn about available resources here: www.nyscasa.org/support-survivors-during-covid

Announcing the NYSCASA Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative (SADI): Cohort Period 1 Applications Due February 10, 2021

NYSCASA is pleased to offer a new training and technical assistance opportunity, the NYSCASA Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative (SADI).

NYSCASA will convene three 20-month cohort periods between March 2021 and December 2025, with three cohorts in each period. This initiative will provide selected sexual assault programs across the state an opportunity to receive specialized support in the following areas:

  • Enhancing sexual assault advocacy services and outreach (Cohort A)
  • Strengthening prevention activities (Cohort B)
  • Mitigating vicarious trauma in professionals addressing sexual assault (Cohort C)

The deadline to apply to participate in Cohort Period 1 is February 10, 2021.

Read the full NYSCASA SADI announcement and learn how to apply on our website: www.nyscasa.org/sadi.

Please contact Josie McPherson (jmcpherson@nyscasa.org) if you have questions or require assistance with the application.

NYSCASA and OPDV to Host Virtual Informational Session Detailing OPDV Expansion and New Office on February 9

Governor Cuomo put forth a proposal in his Executive Budget and the State of the State Book (pg. 238) that expands the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence’s role to include issues of sexual assault and creates a new Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence. Details about the expansion can be found in Part B of the Public Protection and General Government component of the Executive Budget. NYSCASA will be offering a virtual meeting space where OPDV will share additional details about this expansion and answer questions that arise.

Ending Violence Without Violence: 2020-2021 Virtual Training Series

NYSCASA, Seven Dancers Coalition, and Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action are pleased to announce the continuation of our 2020-2021 virtual training series, Ending Violence Without Violence.

A Little Piece of Light: A Memoir of Hope, Prison, and a Life Unbound with Donna Hylton

Thursday, February 11, 2021, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM ET

Donna Hylton, author of A Little Piece of Light: A Memoir of Hope, Prison, and a Life Unbound, will discuss her life, and how her early trauma impacted her life, later traumas including incarceration, and her connection to other victimized women and advocates doing the work to end sexual trauma and domestic violence.

This webinar will also support Donna’s work with young women by highlighting her story and her book to folks who may not have accessed it yet from NYSCASA. (NYSCASA member programs each received 1 copy of the book during previous resource mailings.)

Click here to register for this webinar.

De-Criminalizing Our Youth with Donna Hylton

Friday, February 12, 2021, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM ET

Donna Hylton will discuss systemic oppression through foster care, educational, child protective and other institutions where racism, oppressive practices, cultural incompetence, and lack of trauma-informed perspectives that set up youth for involvement with the criminal legal system.

Click here to register for this webinar.

Confirmed Spring 2021 speakers and workshop facilitators include:
  • Andrea J. Ritchie (Police misconduct attorney, organizer, and author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color)
  • Richard Smith (National Director of the Common Justice learning collaborative, HealingWorks)
  • Mimi Kim (Executive Director and founder of Creative Interventions and Associate Professor of Social Work at California State University Long Beach)
  • Mariame Kaba (Founder and director of Project NIA, co-founder and co-organizer with Survived and Punished, and a Researcher in Residence at the Barnard Center for Research on Women)
  • Donna Jenson (Founder of Time To Tell™, author of Healing My Life from Incest to Joy, and playwright/performer of What She Knows: One Woman’s Way through Incest to Joy)
  • Spring Up (Multimedia artist collective and social enterprise building an alternative vision of our world rooted in ongoing consent, liberation, community accountability and care)

Click here to see the full schedule, read more about the series, and access resources: www.endviolence2020.com.

Stay tuned for announcements about upcoming webinars and virtual learning opportunities! Click here to sign up for our Ending Violence Without Violence mailing list.

Peer Support Calls for BIPOC in NYS Victim Services

NYS-based victim services staff/volunteers who identify as Black, Indigenous, or otherwise as People of Color (BIPOC), are invited to participate in NYSCASA’s upcoming peer support calls for BIPOC at victim services programs. These informal conversations will be facilitated by NYSCASA staff.

The group will meet on the second Wednesday of the month from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM ET.

Registration is required. Register at the links below:

Please contact Articia Hill (ahill@nyscasa.org) if you have questions or require assistance with registration.

Peer Support Calls for Aspiring Allies in NYS Victim Services

NYS-based victim services staff/volunteers who are white and aspire to be allies, accomplices, and co-conspirators in the fight for racial justice are invited to participate in NYSCASA’s upcoming peer support calls for aspiring allies at victim services programs. These informal conversations will be facilitated by NYSCASA staff.

The group will meet monthly; times/dates to be announced.

If you are interested in participating in upcoming peer support calls for aspiring allies, please complete this sign-up form: https://forms.gle/mCwJyqw8EEnMhAMS8

(Note: The information collected will be used to create an email list, establish when the calls will occur, determine participants’ language access needs, and gain a sense of participants’ existing knowledge of allyship and racial justice. This information will only be shared with NYSCASA staff who are coordinating Aspiring Allies Peer Support Calls.)

Please contact Chel Miller (cmiller@nyscasa.org) if you have questions or require assistance with completing the sign-up form.

Black Women’s Blueprint and NOW Present 100 Days of a Feminist Agenda

The first 100 days are crucial in setting the tone and establishing the priorities for any administration. Under the Trump Administration these past four years, the bold advances that women have made over the past decades, particularly those of our Black, Indigenous, Women of Color, Latinx, trans, and gender non-conforming relatives, have come under threat of regressing. These communities have been healing from centuries of oppression and are no longer willing to be ignored or silenced. The Biden-Harris Administration has committed to uplift our much needed diverse voices, but we know there is so much that needs to be done to truly make a difference in our lives and the lives of the people we serve.

Black Women’s Blueprint and the National Organization for Women (NOW) are co-hosting a free listening and discussion series on what we hope will be the priorities of a feminist agenda in the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris Administration.

Upcoming conversations include:

  • The Unspoken Impact of Police Brutality Against BIWOC, TGNC, & Latinx Communities
  • A Holistic Approach to Equitable Reproductive Healthcare
  • Gender Equality As the Law of the Land – The Work to Pass the ERA
  • Amplifying LGBTQIA+ Activism and Uplifting the Pursuit for Equality and Fundamental Rights
  • Economic Justice: We Are Not Percentages of a Dollar: Solutions for Equal Pay Every Day
  • Katrina, Maria, & Sandy: Climate Justice is a Feminist Issue
  • Addressing the Femicide: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Click here to access the full schedule and register for upcoming sessions: www.blackwomensblueprint.org/100-years-of-a-feminist-agenda

Sexual Violence in the News

NYPD Watchdog Board’s Bid to Probe Police Sexual Misconduct Gets Public Airing

“Without independent oversight, police perpetrators often evade accountability. Internal reporting systems that represent law enforcement value internal, political and reputational protection and close cases above safeguarding the fundamental human rights of survivors,” the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault and the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault wrote in testimony to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. Read more from The City: https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/1/12/22228093/nypd-watchdog-police-sexual-misconduct

Sexual Assault Survivors Hope to Have a Voice in Biden Administration

Sexual assault survivors are hopeful that they’ll have a voice in Joe Biden’s administration that they felt they lost under Donald Trump. Read more from NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/live-blog/2021-01-20-biden-inauguration-n1254778/ncrd1255018

A Call to Action to End Violence for the New Administration

The Biden-Harris administration must implement a coordinated, government-wide and intentional strategy to end gender-based violence at the federal level, says Deborah J. Vagins (National Network to End Domestic Violence). Read more at Ms. Magazine: https://msmagazine.com/2021/01/19/biden-harris-violence-against-women-domestic-violence

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Orders Review of Military Sexual Assault Prevention Programs

In his first directive since taking office, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is ordering senior Pentagon leadership to send him reports detailing their efforts to prevent sexual assault and harassment, as well as what accountability measures have been implemented and an assessment of whether those efforts worked. Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/24/politics/dod-sexual-assault-order/index.html

Biden’s Sex Discrimination Order Likely a Precursor to Title IX Changes

One of President Joe Biden’s first executive actions affirms that gender identity and sexual orientation are protected classes under federal sex discrimination laws, a move that is likely the first signal that the administration will re-evaluate Title IX rules, which were overhauled under the Trump administration. Read more on Higher Ed Dive: https://www.highereddive.com/news/bidens-sex-discrimination-order-likely-a-precursor-to-title-ix-changes/593735

New and Noteworthy Resources

The State of Black Girls in New York State

Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), a Brooklyn-based intergenerational advocacy organization that engages cisgender and transgender girls of color and gender non-conforming youth of color, recently published a new report, The State of Black Girls in New York State. The report demonstrates the impacts of criminalization, incarceration, sexual violence, and family regulation on Black girls in New York State and concludes with policy recommendations and a transformative vision for the future. Access the report here: www.ggenyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/State-of-Black-Girls-2021.pdf

Using Restorative Approaches to Address Intimate Partner Violence: A New York City Blueprint

In October 2020, the Center for Court Innovation and New York City Mayor’s Office to end Domestic and Gender-Based Violence published a report that outlines pathways for developing restorative and community-based approaches to intimate partner violence. Building on years of research and community conversations—locally and nationally—the report aims to expand the knowledge of restorative practices as applied to intimate partner violence and to promote the idea of increasing the options for survivors and their families. Access the report here: www.courtinnovation.org/publications/restorative-approaches-address-intimate-partner-violence

Get In Formation: A Community Safety Toolkit

Created by Black-led social justice consultancy Vision Change Win, Get in Formation is a collection of security and safety practices built by years of learning in the streets from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color movements within the US. Developed and edited by safety and security practitioners with a range of 10 to 40 years of experience, this toolkit includes handouts, tips, and worksheets to support you in growing or building your community safety practices and/or teams. The toolkit contains an addendum for navigating the multiple pandemics of COVID-19 and state violence. Access the toolkit here: www.visionchangewin.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/VCW-Safety-Toolkit-Final.pdf

Your support helps NYSCASA improve response to sexual assault survivors and strengthen prevention efforts across New York State.