By: Tiffany Jiron, CSVANW Advocate Coordinator
When the Covid-19 Pandemic entered our lives in early March of 2020, the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native staff were concerned for our tribal communities and the survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence. With limited shelter services available, food shortages at the stores, and cleaning supplies scarce, we immediately wanted to help. Stay at home orders created an extra barrier for survivors to call or seek services making lives for survivors more dangerous.
CSVANW began to order and receive donations of face masks, Clorox wipes, diapers, plexi-glass barriers, gloves, basic hygiene products, hand sanitizers, and thermometers for our member organizations still providing essential services. The CSVANW Advocate and other staff members began to immediately send out PPE to all our member and tribal victim services. During this time, we also were educated on the Crowns Act and wanted to make sure shelters had products available for our black relatives. We purchased products like combs and coco butter and sent them to Esperanza shelter, Shiprock shelter, and to the Safehouse. CSVANW also knew how important it was to know how advocates were coping with the many losses of community members and high Covid -19 infection rates including the rates of domestic violence on the rise in tribal communities.
The Advocate Coordinator, Tiffany Jiron created a safe space virtually to meet bi-weekly with tribal advocates and service providers who serve Indigenous relatives in 2020 that still carries on today. The CSVANW Advocate Community group does check in with each other, provide organization updates and announcements, we attend trainings together, and give space to talk about the barriers we currently face and seek solutions by building strong relationships and bonds with each other. We have become a family of advocates that support each other so that we can provide adequate services to our native women, men, lgbtq+2s, and children that are in need of safety. It is truly amazing to know and work with advocates from different tribal nations of NM.
Some of the different tribes and organizations that participate are representatives from Nambe Pueblo, Tesuque Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Pojoaque Pueblo, Kewa Pueblo, Esperanza Shelter, San Felipe Pueblo, Shiprock Shelter, Isleta Pueblo, Mescalero Apache Tribe OVW Program, Sexual Assault Services of Northwest NM from the Gallup and Farmington offices, First Nations, Zuni New Beginnings shelter, Zia Pueblo, Five Sandoval and Arealia Denby who provides community advocacy to survivors of DV and unsheltered relatives in NM. All of these advocates help each other by sharing resources and support.
CSVANW had offered one-time $500.00 stipends to advocates in 2020 and also in 2021 to help out with bills and self-care needs. CSVANW also purchased self-care packages for each of our advocates. While experiencing hard times with the Covid-19 pandemic, some of our advocates were experiencing more crisis. Wildfires had created unsafe health conditions for advocates in the Mescalero Apache Tribe OVW Program. CSVANW purchased 4 air purifiers for their offices so they could continue to serve survivors on their caseloads. We also have committee from CSVANW staff that selects an Advocate each month to recognize our Advocate of the Month for all their hard work they do. Each month the Advocate of the Month is featured in our CSVANW monthly newsletters and on our Advocate Corner website. They also receive an incentive of $250.00.