04 Feb Celebrating the New Year with a Commitment to Change
Dear Friends of WTLC,
For many years, WTLC has approached our domestic violence and human trafficking work with a distinct philosophy: rethink our policies that minimize barriers to our services and truly catalyze our survivor-driven advocacy.
Anchored in this idea, our programmatic focus areas have inevitably intersected with some major injustice facing our community at large: racial injustice – where black and people of color experience negative impact in every facet of day-to-day life. Income gap – where we are seeing the largest gap it’s ever been in 50 years.
Yes – we have made significant programmatic improvements so that survivors can receive high-quality, inclusive, and trauma-free services. Calls to our 24/7 helpline went up by 74% from before the pandemic and we served 1,537 survivors and their families with housing, counseling, legal support, supervised visitation, and community education.
However, we also needed to examine our own internal policies and standards that are embedded with inequity elements unintentionally favoring those who are white, cisgender, and straight individuals. We have doubled up on our effort to create a working environment where every staff can be their true selves, made changes to our recruiting process to diversify our leadership team and board of directors, and adopted our living wage compensation standard to ensure that no one makes less than the living wage needed to survive in Orange County.
This is just a one of the myriad ways needed to make changes at the organizational level so we can continue to provide effective survivor-driven advocacy. The prospects for 2022 are limitless. We have big plans in the new year – more to come on that soon. However, first thing is to set our personal new year resolutions and stick to it!