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The CSSP Institute gathers grantees to share practices, make connections, heal together

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

CSSP Institute 2017 CoverBy: Jorge Vidal, Project Coordinator, Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network

Casa de Esperanza recognizes the significant contributions of culturally specific community-based organizations to the anti-violence field. As the Comprehensive Technical Assistance Provider for the Culturally Specific Services Program (CSSP) grant issued by the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW), one of our primary goals is to create spaces for information, networking, and peer-to-peer support among grantees. We foster these opportunities to share “what works” and to strategize with others about promising practices and approaches that fit the realities of culturally specific communities. The current cohort of active grantees come from many different communities across the U.S. and include immigrant, Latin@, Asian Pacific Islander, African, African-American, and Native/Tribal populations. Our yearly CSSP Institute is one of those cross-fertilization spaces.

This past July, we held the 2017 Culturally Specific Services Program Institute: “Honoring our Stories by Reclaiming our Authentic Selves” in Miami, FL. The CSSP Institute underscored the need for culturally specific approaches, not only for our communities, but for the systems that support survivors through their healing journeys. Our connection confirmed that every person has a story to tell and reclaiming our authentic selves may be a process of getting in touch with our individual and shared pain. We were reminded that through kindness, we see our interconnection to humankind. We recognized that by being in touch with what unites us allows us to share innovative and efficient strategies to overcome critical challenges.

This year’s institute provided some resolutions that can be helpful when working with culturally specific organizations/communities:

  • Implementing trauma informed practices continues to be the most effective way to unveil the layers of trauma that our communities must navigate to heal.
  • For most survivors, community and family are essential in their healing process.
  • Acknowledging community histories and traditions are essential strategies in building long lasting partnerships.
  • Recovery and empowerment processes are accomplished through internal cross collaborations.
  • Culturally specific organizations must be equal contributors to ending gender based violence in collaborative relationships and seek respect, recognition, and equitable relationships.
  • Building evidence requires the combination of community, community practitioners, and documented evidence. The union of these three elements allows for the development of an individualized “recipe,” one that is uniquely seasoned to meet the organizational needs for sustainability.
  • Language access is a human right.

Casa de Esperanza would like to extend a special thank you to all the Technical Assistance Providers who work under the CSSP grant: Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence, Women of Color Network, Inc., and Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault for all of their support and commitment to making this event and the work of this grant possible and successful.

To see a slide show of photos from the institute, click here.

For any questions about the CSSP Institute or to request technical assistance, please contact Jorge Vidal at jvidal@casadeesperanza.org.

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