By Chelsea Hood, Underserved Populations Policy Advocate & Training Assistant
On November 12 and 13, 2020, the Maryland Women of Color Network (Maryland WOCN) Conference went virtual and was a huge success with over 200 attendees and two days of keynote speakers, workshops and poetry. Although 2020 marked the 15th year for the Annual Statewide Maryland WOCN conference, this was the first year the conference was virtual. The theme was Bold and Courageous, Strengthening Community Connections to End Sexual Violence.
The conference consisted of keynote addresses from guest speakers, Dr. Tricia Bent-Goodley and Dr. Vanessa Guyton.
- Dr. Tricia Bent-Goodley is a Professor Emeritus at Howard University School of Social Work. She is also a researcher and licensed clinical social worker with over 25 years of experience in mental health, administrative, and educational roles. Her keynote address discussed contemporary issues regarding intimate partner abuse and their implications for victim advocacy and service provider practices, with a focus on involving faith-and community-based organizations for survivors of color.
- Dr. Vanessa Guyton is a global training consulate who delivers creative training on topics including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, and bystander intervention. Dr. Guyton’s keynote address discussed the importance of defining and building awareness of implicit biases in order to acknowledge and counter them in our work.
The Maryland WOCN Conference included three workshop presenters who addressed the challenges faced by communities of color who experience interpersonal violence. The major themes from each workshop are highlighted below:
- Dr. Durryle Brooks is an interdisciplinary researcher and a social justice practitioner from Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Brooks’ research explores the impact of systemic oppression on the holistic health of Black communities with a focus on examining how racism, sexism, and heterosexism influence Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people’s mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and sexual health. Dr. Brooks’ workshop focused on IPV among Black Gay and Bisexual Men (BGBM).
- Lisa Connors is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and has been in the human services and social work fields for 30 years. Her workshop discussed the meaning of historical trauma and its impact on marginalized and oppressed populations, specifically Black/African American women. Through this workshop, participants were able to understand the connections between secrecy, shame, and sexual violence amongst Black women, and learn about specific interventions and strategies that are appropriate to serve this vulnerable population.
- Jasmine Morales, who received her B.A. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine is currently the Outreach and Prevention Education Specialist at FAIR GIRLS, an anti-human trafficking nonprofit organization in D.C. Her workshop discussed the significance of human trafficking and how human trafficking affects the Latinx community in the United States. Ms. Morales also focused on the intersection of Marianismo, Machismo and its influence on human trafficking within Latinx communities.
Maryland WOCN’s first virtual conference consisted of an entertainment segment where poetry was performed by Linda Joy Burke and Judith Goedeke, and we included some much-needed fun in breakout rooms with our virtual games. MCASA would like to sincerely thank all the participants that attended the conference along with the presenters, the poets, and all of the committee members that assisted with the organizing of the Maryland WOCN Conference. Next year’s Maryland Women of Color Conference will be held in November of 2021.
Maryland WOCN Membership
The Maryland Women of Color Network is a part of MCASA and participation is open to women with professional experience in victim services and to women from the community who are interested in promoting improvement of services and assistance to victims of sexual violence. There is no fee to join Maryland WOCN. If you are interested in being involved with the Maryland Women of Color Network, please email [email protected].