Supporting Staff From Communities Of Color with Thriving In 2021Gathering

On March 30 and 31, WCSAP is hosting Thriving in 2021: Communities of Color Gathering. This year’s gathering will be two full days. It is being coordinated by Carolina Gutierrez, WCSAP Bilingual Advocacy Coordinator, with assistance from Patrícia Flores and Donna Schulz. All three are women of color on WCSAP’s staff.

It is impossible to overstate how challenging this past year has been. Our work is often difficult and stressful, and those difficulties were deeply exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also had to face our own reckoning as a movement, as organizations, and as individuals for how we have contributed to racial injustices. We grappled with how to identify and name the harms we have been a part of, repair harm, and commit to anti-racism in action and outcomes. Throughout all of this, the greatest impacts of these challenges fell on communities of color.  

Additionally, WCSAP’s communities of color gathering last year was cancelled, due to WCSAP’s suspension of operations and COVID-19.

This context of the intense difficulties of 2020 makes WCSAP’s communities of color gathering this year all the more critical.  It is an opportunity for advocates of color to connect with and support one other; it is time together that is needed now more than ever.

As one way to meet our imperative to take action to advance racial equity and support staff who are people of color within our organizations, I ask that all directors, managers, and supervisors join me in doing the following:

  • Share information about the Thriving in 2021: Communities of Color Gathering with all staff. Encourage all staff who self-identify as belonging to Communities of Color, the Black Community, and/or an Indigenous Community to register and attend (including you and other managers).
  • Identify a director, manager, or supervisor in your organization to attend the Management Webinar on Vicarious Trauma that WCSAP is hosting on Mon, March 29 from 1:00 – 1:30 pm.  In this training you will learn about factors that contribute to vicarious trauma, how it can impact staff members, and how to create supportive practices to address the vicarious trauma needs within your organization.  
  • Let staff know that the communities of color gathering counts as two full work days, the same as it would for any 2-day in-person gathering. (Note: The Office of Crime Victims Advocacy (OCVA) supports the use of sexual assault services grant funds to compensate staff for their participation in this important event.)
  • Support staff so that they can attend the two full days uninterrupted by other work duties (including staff meetings, emails, crisis line calls, and more). This may involve planning for having additional resources, staff, or interpreters available on those days. If possible, find a way to reduce the workload of staff who attend, so they don’t return after two days with a lot of work to catch up on.

If you want to talk more about how we can support people of color in our movement to end sexual violence, please reach out to me by phone at (360) 208-1964. I would love to continue this conversation with you. Or you can use my webform:

If you or any of your staff have questions about the communities of color gathering, they can reach out to Carolina Gutierrez by phone at (360) 754-7583. Or you can use Carolina's webform: