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Embrace Joins Western Wisconsin Anti-Violence Groups in Support & Education Black Lives Matter Video

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Screen shot of the 'Western Wisconsin Anti-Violence Groups Programs: We Believe Black Lives Matter' video.

Embrace Executive Director Katie Bement leads a YouTube video that features seven anti-violence programs in Northwestern Wisconsin

The message is clear.

“Black Lives Matter because we can never end violence against women and girls without first ending the racism that is killing black women, men, children,” Bement said in the video.

Bement told me the public support of Black Lives Matter serves multiple purposes.

For starters, it helps Embrace focus on the most vulnerable in their communities.

“If we put the most marginalized and oppressed in our community in the center of our work and work towards their safety and liberation it will necessitate the safety and liberation of everybody else in our community too,” she said.

Bement said it also lets people of color know that Embrace is a safe place for them.

While the demographic of Embrace’s service area is largely white, Price County Sexual Violence Coordinator Angela Frieze said the people they work with are disproportionately people of color.

Every year Embrace sees more people seek them out who identify as people of color.

“We aren’t doing our jobs if we’re silent and neutral when someone is saying they’re being harmed and if weren’t silent and neutral in the face of violence and oppression, we’ll be teaching our community that they can also be silent and neutral in the face of violence and oppression. Which will lead us back to the days of domestic violence being a family issues that they just don’t talk about it,” said Frieze.

In 2021 so far, 62% of all survivors Embrace has provided shelter to identify as black, indigenous, or people of color.

“We’re reaching a lot more folks who are disproportionately experiencing domestic and sexual violence and that is because of the outwards stance and showing that we align and see the intersections of oppression in violence that they’re facing. Our services are tailored to them and it’s bringing people forward. We’re really happy that that’s been the result,” said Bement.

Embrace encourages anyone who has questions about Black Lives Matter or wishes to understand their position to reach out.