Statement from Karen Parker, President & CEO of Safe Alliance

September 2016
Based in Charlotte, NC Safe Alliance serves over 10,000 survivors of domestic and sexual violence each year. In our role, we work closely with law enforcement and appreciate the many positive ways that they support our agency and our community. This is one reason that recent events in our city leave us extremely saddened and frustrated. We are deeply concerned that people of color live day to day in danger of being discriminated against, accused, punished or even killed due to the implicit bias and institutional racism embedded in our society. Many people of color live in fear, afraid to reach out for help in an emergency; afraid they will face continued barriers and trauma as they attempt to access the support and resources required to rebuild their lives. Child survivors of domestic and sexual abuse face the trauma of witnessing violence at home, or experiencing abuse at the hands of a loved one. That trauma is compounded when they witness and experience violence on our streets and in our institutions. Is there no place where people of color can truly and fully experience safety?
While we are all still processing events from the past days, we believe deeply that this week must be a catalyst for real change. We recognize there is much good that has happened in our community. Peaceful protests have led to important conversations and the forging of new relationships. Here we find pockets of hope. The violence has temporarily hijacked what we still believe can be a transformational moment for our community. We have the ability and responsibility to ensure the transformation occurs.
We know that we must be firm as we stand in solidarity with communities of color. We know that we must be educated on implicit bias and institutional racism .We must support efforts within criminal justice, human services and all systems around dismantling racism, ending discrimination and building supportive organizations that will serve and protect all people while holding perpetrators of all forms of violence personal, emotional, economic, societal -accountable.
This week highlights the role that those of us who have benefited from the current system and risen to a position of leadership must play - dedicating ourselves to the important work of ending institutional racism. Black and brown people have for far too long carried the heavy load in the fight to end racism and now it's time (and more accurately way past time) for white leaders and all white people dedicate themselves to this critical work. There must be no more by-standing. We all must work every day and utilize every opportunity to root out racism and share power and resources with the vulnerable and the marginalized people in our community. We are not doing it only for individuals but for the collective good, our children and their futures. By standing together we can begin to rebuild trust and create transformational shared change.

At Safe Alliance we've committed ourselves to work to end racism, and our first step is to stop to listen and learn from the experiences and the wisdom of people of color our clients, our staff, our volunteers and our community. We know that we need to build more trusting environments where authentic personal sharing can take place. We must engage in the difficult conversations and then use what we learn to fuel action. A focus on intentionally dismantling disparities must be woven into every moment every day.
This work will be long and tedious. We seek lasting, generational change. The week's events, with their echo of the past, impel us to launch the next step in our search for racial justice. We will find opportunity in tragedy and strife. Together, we can and will build safer, peaceful and just communities.

In an emergency please dial 911

To reach a domestic violence or rape crisis hotline 24/7 call the appropriate number below

Mecklenburg and Lake Norman
Domestic Violence Crisis Line:
704 332 2513
Mecklenburg and Lake Norman
Rape Crisis Line:
704 375 9900
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