Let’s address the inequities and systemic injustices in our DV field, California

By: Nilda Valmores, My Sister’s House and Maikhou Thao, Everyday Impact Consulting

Hate. Anger. Frustration. Sadness. All emotions felt when reflecting on the past several months with the world mourning over the tragic and wrongful deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery,  the most recent shooting in the last week of Jacob Blake, and too many others who have lost their lives due to police brutality and systemic racism. These murders have taken place in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic where over 171,000 American lives have been lost because of the failures of a healthcare system revealing deep racial disparities in the U.S. for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

With these systemic injustices, the Multi-Year Language Access and Resources (MYLAR) Collaborative believes it is time to stand up and make a change. From its origins, MYLAR Collaborative remains dedicated and committed to domestic violence prevention that intersects with all other social justice issues. We continue to center our work on creating the training spaces and opportunities to empower community partners and agencies to ensure and advocate for cultural responsiveness for all Californians. There is no better time than now to stand alongside those that continue to be historically impacted by an inequitable healthcare and justice system that remains unaccountable to BIPOC communities.  The domestic violence prevention movement must seize the momentum of one the largest multicultural movements in American history,  and ensure that we continue standing up for racial justice.

What is the MYLAR Project?


The MYLAR collaborative is a collective project of several non-profit organizations across California funded through the California Office of Emergency Services. Founded in 2016, we started by identifying the need to build capacity, enhance cultural responsiveness, and increase access to victim and emergency services across California with the specific need to lift up underserved communities, specifically for Latino and Asian and Pacific Islanders. While the MYLAR project specifically addresses culturally responsive practices for both Latinos and APIs, we understand that social issues intersect across all communities of color, as evidenced by the multicultural movement of solidarity happening right now toward a more just and equitable future for all.

The MYLAR collaborative has traveled throughout the state providing trainings to increase cultural competency and language access among victim-service providers. In fact, a total of 308 people have enrolled in our MYLAR free web-based training since its launch in August 2018, and we have trained 1,308 people in 18 different cities throughout California.

Why is training still needed?


Even amidst a pandemic and a historic social movement, what was most noticeable at our recent training of 20+ brave community partners committed to ensuring cultural and language barriers are addressed, was that most were people of color, often bilingual. Though targeted and marketed to white directors, managers, and leaders who comprise most of the management field, it was the BIPOC staff with less decision-making power and lower pay who attended the cultural responsiveness training.  This has been consistent since the beginning of our MYLAR Project offering culturally responsive trainings to 18 sites throughout California FREE of charge to all participants and specifically marketed to management.

The MYLAR Project seeks to ensure that there is equity in services for the most underserved communities in California. How do we know that need exists?

Currently, only 3% of funding from California’s primary domestic violence program known as the Domestic Violence Assistance Program serves Asian victims, despite Asians making up 15% of California. Reports show anywhere from 21% – 55% of Asian women in the U.S. experience intimate physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime. It’s not that there aren’t Asian victims; it’s just that current programs are not tailored to them. Until we address the structural and systemic barriers, which the MYLAR training has sought to address, those structural and systemic barriers will continue to exist whether it be in our justice system, our hospitals, or our domestic violence shelters or organizations.

What can / should your organization do to promote cultural responsiveness:

Even though our MYLAR Project grant funding has ended, now is still the time to participate and take action in cultural responsiveness. Start with this web-based MYLAR training available at https://freemancd.space/course/index.php?categoryid=9.

Then, make a commitment to make sure that your staff, management team, board, volunteers, and client represent all your community.

Have more questions about the MYLAR project or what services we provide? Email mylarcollaborative@gmail.com or call (916) 930-0626.