Next month will mark my two-year work anniversary serving as the Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. To say that I am honored to serve in this capacity would be an understatement… this has been, by far, one of the greatest opportunities that I have ever been afforded and it has been an amazing experience to work with and within all of our New Mexico tribal communities.
As a young professional, having the opportunity to contribute to something larger than myself while serving our Native people is a dream of mine. Being given the opportunity to create and support meaningful social change for our tribal communities, is the very reason I chose the non-profit life. Community-driven impact and working for a vision and purpose larger than yourself is what this work is about. It’s about #passion. It’s about the futures of all of our little ones.
As a Native woman, I’ve always been taught to think seven generations ahead. And as I simultaneously serve within my role, I am also a single mother raising an outgoing and vibrant two-year-old son… who is my motivation to think with intention- to think ahead to our future generations everyday.
Every day at the Coalition, I am inspired. Not only inspired by the vision that our founders had for CSVANW 20 years ago but I am inspired by the visionary leadership team that I get to work alongside each day. Most of my days consist of stakeholder meetings, grant writing, fundraising, reviewing policies and managing our day to day operations… so having and maintaining strong inspiration is important to staying in balance in a field where there often feels like there is an imbalance.
As we approach the Coalition’s 20-year anniversary, I reflect on the fearless and brave efforts of those that came before me. The contributions they have made to the tribal domestic violence and sexual assault fields, not only to this Coalition but to their communities and to our 4 out of 5 Native women who are affected by violence. Many of those who have worked with and/or within the Coalition have worked to shed light in areas of darkness and create awareness about the most silent public health crisis to ever face our tribal communities: violence and sexual abuse.
I know and have witnessed first hand that the Coalition was built on a foundation of fearlessness, bravery, strength, resilience and movement. A movement that has driven the Coalition forward.
The Coalition women, each and every one of them, past and present, embrace the very strengths that have contributed to the resilient foundation of CSVANW.
Perseverance, passion, commitment, honor, fearlessness and fierce advocacy for our Native women and children… this is what CSVANW is made of. This is our grit.
So as we excitedly look towards a bright future and another 20 years of service, let us collectively emerge stronger, more fearless, more passionate and more committed than ever before to breaking the cycle of violence. Let us continue to put our words into action and keep this movement to end violence against Native women and children going… because our little ones need us. They need us to stand up. To speak out. They need us to break the silence, so that the homes our little ones grow up in, is better than the ones we may be healing from.
Let us work to create strong and healthy lives for our little ones <3