As you know, 2016 was a pivotal year in our nation. It will very likely go down in history as one of our most dramatic and sensational years yet. We cheered our Olympic athletes, mourned pop culture heroes, tripped through public spaces using new social media apps and, of course, witnessed a unique Presidential election year between two formerly unlikely candidates: a Washington outsider and a woman.
2016 was also a pivotal year for Safe Harbor. As a staff, we spent the year learning together about Trauma Informed Services, a model for how we intend to provide our services. The trauma informed model emphasizes the six concepts of safety, trust, mutual support, collaboration, empowerment and cultural respect. It provides us with a framework to understand and acknowledge the individual experiences of our clients so we can provide them with support and respect to chart their own course. At the end of 2016, we adopted these concepts as the overall core principles for Safe Harbor to fulfill our mission of influencing a culture where all people feel safe and valued in their relationships.
Interestingly, Safe Harbor adopted these principles amongst a nationwide backdrop of the unprecedented news accounts of the shocking but critical issues of violence, sexual assault, predatory behavior, bullying, and racial/cultural biases. The principles of safety, trust, mutual support, collaboration, empowerment and cultural respect are a far cry from what we read in the news or what we watched on social media. For many, the events of 2016 generated an uncertainty about what we value as a nation.
As we begin 2017, we acknowledge the uncertainties—for people who have been marginalized and victimized, and potentially for our work toward assuring that all people feel safe and valued in all their relationships. However, Safe Harbor’s mission, vision, principles and dedication to service has not and will not change. Safe Harbor commits to continue our work with victims and in our communities no matter the political, economic or social climate. This does not mean that we will “bury our heads in the sand” or “put on blinders” as we work with individuals who are all too familiar with oppression and hurt. On the contrary, our work to influence a culture where everyone is safe and valued in their relationships has never been more important as it is today. In fact, during a climate where divisiveness is all too common, we can all agree that promoting safety and value for each other may be the most important path toward our collective healing.
We are grateful for your voice, energy, and partnership. There is much more that we can do together than we can do alone or apart. So, together, we ask you to stand with us to influence a culture where all people feel safe and valued.