WEAVE Next Gen Blog
Innovative Collaboration Helps Improve Cultural Competency
By Canh Le
WEAVE is participating in a unique collaborative effort led by My Sister’s House to improve responsiveness and capacity to serve Asian and Pacific Islander survivors of domestic violence. The following blog post shares insight into the power of partnerships in our community.
Trang has been a victim of domestic violence for several years. Emotionally broken down and financially stripped of all her resources, she finds the courage to connect with an agency she heard about on a local radio station. Trang finds the address on the agency website, plugs it into her smartphone, drives herself to the office, walks up to the receptionist and, in perfect English states, “I’m ready to leave my abusive husband and am looking for the support to do so.” Such a beautiful story, but we know that this is far from reality. There are hundreds of factors that can prevent Trang from connecting with us including lack of culturally appropriate outreach, language barriers, and lack of transportation or access to the computer. Any small break in the chain and we will lose her.
Throughout the past year, WEAVE staff has been working to better understand the unique barriers that may prevent the diverse API population from seeking help and making changes to improve access to services. In June, WEAVE hosted an API panel that brought together unique voices from the Vietnamese, Indian, and Hmong community. More than 40 staff and community members attended, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Staff was encouraged to use what they learned to approach clients and community members with a new mindset about cultural sensitivity and a willingness to ask questions. The panel was a reminder that this is just the tip of the iceberg. An informed staff is step one toward the goal of fostering an environment of cultural competency within the agency and then extending it to our resources and presence in the community.
We understand that reaching more survivors is a task that cannot be done alone. The panel started a discussion about collaborations with other agencies. This ongoing dialogue is important in ensuring that survivors know they are not alone in their struggles. WEAVE is working to identify community partners who can help us reach people who need assistance and provide improved services when they do.
WEAVE’s vision to support and empower API survivors each day is a priority for us as we update policies and hire new staff. We continue to hire diverse employees with knowledge and experience specific to the API survivor needs. The journey so far has been very rewarding. Our staff has answered the call and we are motivated to continue to assist clients in the API community with our newfound knowledge. It is our hope that Trang’s story becomes more the norm than the exception.