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
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
- 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