The Work Ahead

                      Laura R. Van Zandt, Executive Director

Four years ago, after the 2016 election, we asked – where do we go from here? At that time, we acknowledged that we did not know what to expect, as we had heard things during the campaign that were causing profound fear among immigrants, religious minorities, people of color, LGBQ/T individuals, and sexual assault survivors. Then and now, an election comes on the heels of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, during which we lift and listen to the voices of survivors, and see the depth of the work that needs to be done in order to shift social norms and promote healthy relationships. This time, the election came after four years of enduring what we had feared back in 2016.

And as we said then, none of us signed up for this work because it is easy. We signed up for this work to change the world and our mission (still) has not changed.

We believe that change is possible. We understand that the systems we have in place enable sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, and more.

We lead with a commitment to each other, understanding that the respectful equitable relationships we strive for must start with us.

We believe that all people deserve a right to wellbeing, and that by pushing against harms that impact the most marginalized among us, we can build toward stronger social connection, stability, and access for everyone.

This is why we celebrate the sights and sounds of a new administration that offers important policy priorities that matter to the work that REACH is doing every day.  

This is also why we worry. We understand that a change of political party in the White House does not magically complicate or solve the challenges we face in our work, especially during this pandemic and the ways in which it limits us as we face into isolation, economic despair, and loss. Just as we knew four years ago, we know today; there is – and there will continue to be – so much work to do to ensure the safety and liberty of all people.

As articulated in our core values, we are all in this together. At a time full of division and isolation, this value anchors and grounds our path forward. Over the nearly four decades that REACH has done this work, we have witnessed incredible change and healing in the lives of individuals and families, in the communities we serve, and within our own organization. There is still work to do and much that needs to be changed to achieve our vision of healthy and safe relationships for all individuals and communities. And it will take all of us to achieve that vision.

Together we will reach beyond domestic violence.