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Community Action Teams

As part of our commitment to using our organizational power responsibly and supporting local and community-based efforts to address violence, AWS supports Community Action Teams (CATs).  These teams often emerge organically, formed by our volunteer and language advocates who have knowledge of pressing needs, current issues and creative opportunities in their communities.  They work on projects or initiatives that are grounded in their own skills and capacity.

CATs can have a voice and a power in their communities that, most often, outsiders do not.

One example is of the Filipina Advisory Committee:

In the early 1990's a few board, staff, volunteers, language advocates, former residents, and community members of Filipina descent formed the Filipina Advisory Committee. They named themselves and functioned as a support group and community awareness team. They rotated meetings at one another's homes, cooking together, sharing stories and planning community awareness activities.

During this period, one of the members was attacked by her former husband. She had opened a restaurant and her ex-husband entered and stabbed both her and her parents in front of her children. He was also injured in the attack.

The systems and community failed her in their subsequent actions. The ambulance took both victim and perpetrator together and treated her ex-husband first. After his arrest, his family rallied the Filipino community to raise his bail money, framing the situation as one of community vs. law enforcement.

The Filipina Advisory Committee responded to this injustice by launching a public awareness campaign in the Filipino community to promote community understanding about domestic violence. Their leadership made a tremendous impact on changing community norms, systems, and laws to increase the safety and visibility of survivors of domestic violence.

Some of their accomplishments include:

  • Authoring a book, A Community Secret: the Story of Two Filipinas, which was printed by AWS and distributed for free at Filipino businesses
  • Forming a court watch to support the survivor and her family
  • Putting on a forum for one hundred Filipino community leaders about domestic violence
  • Submitting their stories as testimony for passage of the immigrant provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  • Making a film documentary
  • Helping advocate for changes to ambulance protocol