Communities United Against Violence by Melanie Matson and Greta Spoering

Communities United Against Violence is honored every April at Emerson. While some simply recognize awareness months, we intentionally choose to go beyond awareness and inspire action and community-building. We also recognize that this requires work year-round. Communities United Against Violence focuses our efforts to resist power-based violence in our communities.

Power-based violence is a pattern of behavior used by a group, department, organization, system, or institution to sustain power and control over another person or group of people that differentially exposes them to injury, violence and death. This violence includes: poverty, white supremacy, mass incarceration, hetero-normativity, trans-sexism, ableism, patriarchy, misogyny, nationalism, xenophobia, classism, colonialism, exclusionary immigration practices, unlawful profiling, unwarranted surveillance, and other forms of power, privilege, and oppression.

While far too many of our community members experience power-based violence, many of us make the choice to stand by. Society tells us that violence is inevitable and we feel powerless to do anything to prevent it. Often, we do not recognize power-based violence because of our social misperceptions or because we have the privilege not to notice. Sometimes, we do not know what to say or do. Other times, we do not want to confront our friends and colleagues because it may impact us socially or professionally.

Violence is not inevitable. Each and every one of us can do things to counter the injustice. This month, we encourage Emerson community members to unite in action. Join us in solidarity:

Together, Dr. Melanie Matson and Greta Spoering, LICSW make up Emerson’s Violence Prevention and Response team.