Episode 132: Domestic Violence Awareness Month Community Conversation on Domestic Abuse and Communities of Color
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This year, in recognition of DVAM, the Engendered Collective hosted a series of community conversations to bring greater awareness to domestic abuse and gender-based violence. Today’s conversation deals with the intersection of domestic violence and systemic sexism and racism in communities of color. Our guests included Liz Stewart-Williams, Roman James, and Shia Joyner, all domestic abuse survivors.
Elizabeth Stewart-Williams is a protective mom and the founder of Liz Evonne Dispute Resolution Services LLC, a conflict resolution firm that assist women and families in underserved communities settle disputes. After spending over 12 years in the American Family Court systems fighting her own child custody case, Elizabeth identified her passion to help families avoid the impediments of fighting family disputes in family court systems. Elizabeth believes that conflict can be resolved efficiently, cost-effectively, and peacefully with guided support. She specializes in high conflict mediations and provides ombudsman services with non-profit organizations through her innovative Family Court Ombudsman program.
Elizabeth labors extensively to provide dispute alternatives protections of the abused and survivors of violence after protective or restraining orders have ended. She is an advocate for Parental Rights, Children of Abuse, and Survivors of Domestic Violence. Elizabeth currently collaborates with agencies, churches, supervised visitation centers, and advocacy organizations in promotion of effective dispute resolution services. She has serviced hundreds of families and seeks to transform family court through her new Family Arbitration program that begins in 2021. Elizabeth holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma (OU) and a Masters in Dispute Resolution (MDR) from Pepperdine Caruso School of Law.
Roman James is mama to the most wonderful, generous and intelligent light being she ever met. Additionally, she serves as an activist and resistor of the violence imposed on women and children in the archaic American family court system having been radicalized by the institutional betrayal of the legal system. Her purpose is to thrive in her self-possession, rise above the systemic failures and leave everyone she comes in contact with better off for having met her.
Shia Joyner's pursuit of empowering the "new now womxn" after experiencing domestic violence and living from a place of love has guided her through every incarnation of her career as an RYT, Medical Esthetician, Reiki Healer, and Culture Consultant. Shia is an entrepreneur with a passion for coaching "womxn" to manifest their dreams by sharing simple and gentle ways that inspire them to love, heal, and nurture their body by being fully engaged in the power they embody. A fierce advocate of accessible wellness, Shia is also committed to giving back to her community by helping women in underserved areas overcome mental illness and support the needs of domestic violence survivors.
During our conversation, Liz, Roman, and Shia and I touched upon the following resources:
- Systemic racism and sexism and its intersection with communities of color
- Jess Hill's ideas for understanding domestic abuse and how to address systems change in her book See What You Made Me Do
- Violence against women of color and Indigenous women
- The role of the media in influencing and contributing to Black culture, including television shows such as Martin, celebrities such as Bill Cosby
- The intersection of gender justice and racial justice in the Black community's response to accountability for R. Kelly and Michael Jackson abuse allegations
- The Atlanta organization called Men Stopping Violence
- "Defund the Police" or "Justice Reinvestment" as it's called in Australia
- The use of "transformative justice" approaches to address accountability in domestic violence cases and how restorative justice is being weaponized against the Black community in NYC
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