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Liz Zadnik on #SocialJusticeDay 2016

Happy Saturday!  I’m Liz Zadnik with another Saturday post.  As you may know, I am part of the anti-sexual violence movement and work at a state sexual assault coalition – my main focus being prevention and community engagement.  Today is International Social Justice Day and I would like today’s post to be celebration by sharing some research areas I’ve been investigating lately and ways social justice work has informed my approach to evaluation.  


Lesson Learned: For a very long time now I have been searching for ways to move into other layers of the socioecological model (a framework that guides sexual violence prevention programming).  I’ve known in my gut that community and intergenerational trauma play a role (or roles) in the effectiveness of social change efforts.  How can we truly expect individuals to adopt new attitudes and behaviors if we’re not also addressing larger contexts in which they exist and have relationships? So you can imagine how excited I was to see the Prevention Institute’s new resource on community trauma and violence prevention!  The resource looks at three manifestations of community health or trauma: social-cultural environment, the physical environment, and economics.  Shifting our focus to these contexts – while also engaging in informed individual-level work – will get us closer to the change we want to see.

Rad Resource: I am a frequent visitor to Racial Equity Tools, particularly their evaluation resources.  They’re e-newsletter is always chock full of cutting-edge resources for practitioners and activists looking to promote racial justice and social change.  I love how they include reflection in the evaluation process – this is something I’ve found to be overlooked when organizations are planning evaluations and program implementation.

Lesson Learned: Focus on resilience and protective factors.  I think, of course, it’s critical to acknowledge risk factors and set about mitigating their influence; however, I feel a strengths-based approach is crucial for engaging communities.  Specifically communities who have been historically marginalized, silenced, or exploited during program evaluation and research.  Concepts such as connectedness and community support are going to help bridge gaps in communication and challenge existing norms (in both society and research).

I hope you all can take a few minutes today to identify ways your personal or professional life supports social justice.  I am so grateful to share in this work with you!   


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