Tahirih’s Commitment to Anti-Racism
Tahirih was founded on the belief that the welfare of each of us is inextricably bound to the welfare of all. Our recognition of the oneness of our humanity inspires us to fight for the rights of immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. The obstacles in the way of realizing these rights are intersecting forms of oppression, including misogyny, racism, anti-Blackness, and White supremacy.
We reject these and acknowledge the harm that they cause. We believe that our laws and systems too often benefit those with power and privilege and must be transformed to advance gender equality, racial justice, and social equity for all.
We celebrate and honor our diverse beliefs and identities, and we believe we must end anti-Black racism and White supremacy in all its forms—in our justice system, in our communities, within our organization, and within ourselves.
Today, most of our leadership, staff, and Board of Directors identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC), the majority as women or gender non-binary, and nearly half identify as survivors of or witnesses to gender-based violence.
We see anti-racism and inclusion as integrated with our work and mission as advocates for immigrant survivors.
Among Tahirih’s clients for direct legal and social services, 92% are Black, Indigenous, and people of color; 95% are women; and 100% are immigrant survivors of gender-based violence.
We developed a trauma-informed, client-centered, and innovative interdisciplinary service delivery model to ensure our legal staff, pro bono attorney volunteers, and social services staff walk with our clients as they rebuild a sense of control and feel empowered to make decisions in their pursuit of justice and safety.
Our public education and training programs enable front-line professionals to approach and support survivors with cultural humility and embrace their shared humanity.
Our public policy advocacy uses client feedback to center the needs of immigrant survivors as we seek meaningful, lasting systemic change to achieve justice and ensure the safety and well-being of immigrant survivors of violence nationwide.
We see inclusion as an indispensable part of making a better, more creative, more effective organization and as part of our journey of continuous learning and improvement. We are by no means done, but we can share some of the progress we have made so far.
Our DEI Journey
We started working intensively to increase diversity, equity, and unity within Tahirih in 2014, and we have been engaged ever since in collective review of how we can do better. Tahirih’s Board of Directors and entire staff have assessed our internal structures, practices, policies and communications, and our work continues.
- We refreshed our core values to explicitly reject White supremacy, anti-Blackness, and racism, to unlearn our own biases, and to center marginalized voices.
- We adopted an organization-wide Equity Framework for action that goes far beyond the usual commitment to non-discrimination and includes more equitable compensation, recruiting, management tools, and professional advancement.
- With training, community agreements, revised decision-making for greater inclusion, and new forms of accountability we are developing our cultural competencies and building a work environment that is inclusive and based on mutual respect and understanding.
Fighting for access to justice and safety for some of the most marginalized people in the direst circumstances is part of a wider movement to build a world that is freed from oppression and that embraces unity in diversity. Our work in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion inside Tahirih is part of the same global movement.
There is a long way to go for our society to be freed from oppression and committed to equity, and for our part we will keep on with our vital mission and keep learning and growing.