Commitment to Anti-Oppression Work
New Beginnings acknowledges domestic and sexual violence and stalking as expressions of gender based oppression in our society and societies around the world. We acknowledge that gender based oppression is systemically connected to other forms of oppression experienced by individuals and communities. People may experience oppression based on not only their gender but also their race, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, class, ability, age, ethnicity, immigration status or religion. While each form of oppression has unique elements and effects, we recognize that each functions similarly through explicit and conscious prejudice and discrimination and through the unconscious attitudes and behaviors of a society that presumes a specific cultural norm.
We acknowledge that our clients may be simultaneously disenfranchised by multiple systems of oppression and are committed to providing services and education that meet their unique needs. We value the lived experience of each individual and the power that each person and community possesses to create change. We base our services upon a concept of humanism which views individuals as subjects in their own work toward liberation rather than as objects of our philanthropy. As Paulo Freire wrote in The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, “A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.”
We recognize the importance of having a variety of social group identities reflected in our staff, board and volunteer make-up and in our outreach materials. We are committed to training our staff, board and volunteers not only on issues of cultural competency in services but also on issues of self-awareness, privilege and social group identification in order to recognize their own experience or collusion in oppression and thus, build better communities from the individual outward.
New Beginnings is committed to working with agencies in Belknap County that work to eradicate various forms of oppression so that we, as a community, may forge a solid effort to address oppression on all fronts. We seek to share ideas and approaches so that we may collaborate to make real, long-lasting change. As long as racism, ageism, homophobia, and the like exists, gender based oppression will also exist. In order to accomplish our mission to eradicate domestic and sexual violence and stalking, our mission must be to eradicate all forms of oppression.