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in·ter·sec·tion·al·i·ty -- 
(noun) -- /in(t)ərsekSHəˈnalədē/

Intersectionality is a theoretical framework for understanding how aspects of a person's social and political identities might combine to create unique modes of discrimination. Intersectionality identifies injustices that are felt by people due to a combination of factors.

Intersectionality is the crossroads between all of the oppressions an individual may face -- and in today's climate, it is the word of the summer.
Understanding how the anti-violence and anti-abuse movement connects to the #BlackLivesMatter movement is simple...once you connect the dots through the idea of intersectionality.


  • More than 40% of Black women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the Institute of Women’s Policy Research’s Status of Black Women in the United States. In comparison, 31.5% of all women will experience domestic violence.
  • A report from the National Center for Victims of Crime found that 53.8% of Black women had experienced psychological abuse, while 41.2% of Black women had experienced physical abuse.
  • More disturbingly, Black women are 2.5 times more likely to be murdered by men than white women.
                                                                                                                 (Statistics from The Blackburn Center)
Intersectionality = "The Big Picture"
We are aware that this can feel overwhelming -- but in truth, intersectionality is the idea of looking at struggle and oppression as a whole 'big picture' issue, rather than just keeping things in their own separate silos. 

An example: If Shannon is stuck in an abusive relationship, the issue of her staying versus leaving may come down to economic issues -- she couldn't afford housing if she tried to leave, since she isn't educated or qualified enough to land a job that would give her enough resources. This problem is systemic: Perhaps she grew up in a low-income household, was forced to drop out of school in order to work to support her family at a young age, has no family structure to lean on in terms of start-up resources (i.e. borrowing a security deposit from parents, paying them back later), and may even have little to no credit which keeps her from succeeding. 
These are all barriers. All of which come together to create Shannon's problem -- it's not just domestic violence, it's an entire system of oppression which keeps her where she doesn't want to be.

Intersectionality is understanding that she isn't just being abused -- and it's working to help her solve this. Now add on if Shannon is a black woman, you also add the extra layer of understanding that she faces the systemic injustice surrounding her race -- and all the baggage that came along with that since she was a little girl -- and suddenly you are seeing the "big picture" of Shannon's dilemma.
Further Food for Thought on Intersectionality:

Check Your Privilege: Click here to take the self-assessment to help you analyze the privileges you may hold and challenges you may have faced to give you some insight into what your personal lens looks like.

Watch: View the TED Talk given by the creator of the theory of intersectionality, Kimberlé Crenshaw, JD.
Check Out: Give a listen to Ibram X. Kendi (author of How to Be an Antiracist) at the FYE® Conference 2020

is Working to Help:
  • Continued Care Even During COVID-19
    Even throughout the COVID-19 crisis that swept the globe, Transitions of PA made a commitment to the residents of Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties to continue the same level of services for victims even in the wake of the pandemic. Even as our counties begin to transition back into the "Green" phase (Snyder first, with Union and Northumberland following on June 12) we are still navigating Governor Wolf & Dr. Levine's structured reopening guidelines while continuing to provide the same supportive services we've offered for over 40 years.
  • Education Around Intersectionality
    Our Education Team is working to create curricula focused on bringing this "big picture" conversation to people within the greater community, hoping to spark change and refocus the way we view violence prevention work. Even in the wake of COVID, stay tuned for online, Zoom-style, as well as in-person (social distancing compliant) training offerings in the near future!
  • Working to Create Conversations and Lasting Change Surrounding Racial Injustice in the Greater Susquehanna Valley
    In the wake of the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day, the nation has erupted in support of a conversation about what systemic injustice and racial injustice looks like -- and we want to have that conversation with you as well. At the root of what we do, we are an anti-violence organization. Our state organization, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) said it best in their recent statement:

    " an organization committed to ending intimate partner violence and all types of violence and oppression, we call on you to join us in actively challenging the privilege that provokes messages of force in response to unrest and protests over the loss of lives of people of color at the hands of police brutality and systemic white supremacy and racism. To collectively resist the calls for retaliation against cries of fear, pain, hurt, and sustained injustice. We ask you to stand in unity with us as we stand in solidarity with our friends, families, neighbors, and colleagues who are hurting and healing."

    We stand with all the peaceful demonstrators and protesters that have come out in numbers in our community in the past weeks -- from Selinsgrove to Shamokin, Lewisburg to Sunbury, and everywhere in between -- we echo your pleas for change, and stand with you.
  • Continuing to Operate 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year -- no exceptions!

The Board and Staff of Transitions are deeply upset by the suffering of countless people at the hands of systemic racism and injustice. We hope that like us, our communities are outraged by the killing of George Floyd, and are willing to take action. We realize that we need to help propel system-level changes to create a more just society. Transitions is committed to meaningfully examining our own organization for needed change to create healthy, prosperous, and secure communities for everyone.

Transitions of PA will take action to ensure we are an anti-racist organization and recognizes the fact that racism, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking intersect in countless ways. Listening to voices in the black community about what is needed, we will take these important first steps.

We will:

  • Examine our own organization closely by reviewing all policies and procedures and increase our anti-racism training for staff.
  • Increase our affirmative effort to bring forward the voices of victims of racism whom we serve as clients, expanding our recruitment of black employees, and improve diversity on our Board to ensure that we reflect the survivors whom we serve, with a focus on participation from the black and Latinx communities.
  • Collaborate with organizations that also serve our survivors so that we are utilizing all resources available to end racism in our community.
  • Work closely with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) and the PA Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) to make sure that the voices calling for an end to racism are heard.
Monthly Staff Recommendations

Topic: Intersectionality and Anti-Racism


Staff: Lisa Eroh, Outreach Coordinator

READ: Uprooting Racism: How White People can Work for Social Justice (4th Edition), by Paul Kivel

READ TO YOUR LITTLE ONES: A is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara (Board book)

ANTI-RACISM STARTS EARLY: Antiracist Baby Board Book, by Ibram X. Kendi and illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

All these (and more!) can be found on our Transitions Amazon Book Recommendation List by clicking here.
A Final Word:

Donations to Transitions of PA's mission are always welcomed, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic. As the only dedicated anti-violence center serving our three counties, we have continued to work tirelessly to assist survivors even throughout the shelter-in-place order. For many, that meant that home became an unsafe place as well.

We have had to get creative in order to continue to assist our survivors as well as adhere to social distancing guidelines -- a task that forced both creativity and extra capital.

We were also forced to postpone our annual auction until 2021, which is a major source of our donation income. If you have the means to support our mission so we may continue to provide quality care to victims of violence and abuse in Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties, please click on the link below.
Donate to Transitions
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