History

In 1997, a group of women of color from across the country gathered to establish an entity to address the unique challenges facing women of color advocates and activists within the violence against women movement. Since that time, the Women of Color Network has created a national medium where women of color can dialogue, network, organize, and obtain resources to support their efforts. WOCN has accomplished this by:

  1. Providing women of color access to information that they might not otherwise receive through:
    1. Leadership Training on such topics as fundraising, program development, and public policy.
    2. Mentor Project with approximately 100 mentors and close to 300 mentees across the United States and territories.
    3. Mentor Listserv to facilitate immediate, electronic access to technical assistance and resources to mentors to be disseminated to their mentees.
  2. Challenging systems and institutions that create barriers for women of color and their communities in their work to achieve violence-free lives through:
    1. Regional Forums in partnership with National Network to End Domestic Violence bringing together women of color from local domestic violence and community-based programs as well as the Executive Directors and other state coalition staff to develop state plans for effecting change.
    2. Partnerships and Collaboration with such entities as Coalition Advocates and Attorneys Network, Domestic Violence Resource Network, and Building Comprehensive Solutions Institute to examine public policy as it relates to communities of color and to conduct women of color roundtable discussions and networking sessions.
  3. Promoting the development of independent, women of color led initiatives that are more likely to reach and effectively serve communities of color through:
    1. 2013 WOCN Resource Guide will relaunch a listing of women of color advocates and activists and culturally-specific program across the country.  This will be made available to WOCN membership and authorized users only.
    2. Mentor Site Visits to highlight and provide on-site technical assistance to women of color led programs and initiatives.
  4. Examining local, state, federal and tribal policies and provide opportunities for women of color to organize and exercise their voice regarding issues that effect their personal and professional lives through:
    1. Focus groups to discuss child welfare systems as it relates to communities of color and domestic violence leading to the publication of a report.
    2. WOCN National conference in fall 2003 entitled “Moving Beyond Emergency Services: Increasing Economic Security for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Assault”.
    3. Strategy meetings alongside national, tribal, and immigration-based domestic violence and sexual assault organizations, and culturally-specific institutes such as Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence and the National Latino Institute for the Elimination of Domestic Violence (Alianza) on matters related to state and national policy.