A series of trainings about topics such as domestic violence, cultural awareness and healthy relationships will start in late February, organized by the Marjaree Mason Center of Fresno, which provides shelter for domestic abuse victims and helps connect them with support services.
The first training, “Enhancing Culturally Responsive Care,” featuring Valerie Batts, author of “Modern Racism: New Melody for the Same Old Tune,” will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 24 at New Covenant Community Church in Fresno.
Nicole Linder, executive director of the center, said Batts has helped Marjaree Mason staff become more aware of how people from different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds have unique needs and challenges in recovering from domestic abuse. The first training aims to answer: “How do we understand who they are and how they got to this situation? Their path to healing and success may be different than the cookie-cutter approach of the past.”
If we don’t take time to learn or ask, those assumptions could be totally wrong.
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Linder said the new training series expands community outreach and education that the Marjaree Mason Center has provided for many years.
The center helps around 5,600 adults and children each year, Linder said, and domestic abuse is “everyone’s business. …
“How do we all step up and start to chip away at it? … It takes someone to lend a helping hand.”
(Domestic abuse) is still a taboo topic. Some don’t want to address it – they want to pretend it doesn’t exist.
Batts said while doing that work, “it is imperative that we as providers and community members enhance our ability to have authentic conversations about inclusion and exclusion, racism and other forms of oppression.” Organizers of the training say participants will learn how “barriers to inclusion” – including racism and sexism – affect access to and delivery of services.
“As I have lived and work in and around the Central Valley over the past 12 years, I have often been saddened by how difficult this can be,” Batts said. “The Marjaree Mason Center is working to change that and I am glad to partner with them in this effort.”
The more we know, the more likely we will be to recognize signs of bias as it relates to domestic violence. As a community, we need to speak up to our friends, neighbors, and family to stop the pervasive cycle of abuse.
Batts is also the author of “Is Reconciliation Possible?” and serves as founding director and vice president of consulting for VISIONS Inc., a nonprofit training and consulting organization that markets itself as “specializing in diversity and inclusion.”
Linder is looking forward to the training, which promotes understanding and breaking down biases.
“It’s really easy to assume what other people should be doing or shouldn’t be doing, or what the reasons were or weren’t,” Linder said, “but if we don’t take time to learn or ask, those assumptions could be totally wrong.”
How to attend
The “Enhancing Culturally Responsive Care” training featuring author Valerie Batts will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 24 at New Covenant Community Church, 1744 E. Nees Ave., Fresno. Tickets purchased in advance are $100 ($125 with a continuing education unit), or $150 at the door ($175 with a CEU). Lunch is included. More information is available online at mmcenter.org, or by contacting education and training coordinator Toni Davidson at 559-487-1309 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch is included.