Sheila Wellstone Institute: Bringing Leaders Together
For well over a decade, there was no greater advocate, organizer, and national champion in the effort to end domestic violence in our communities than Sheila Wellstone. Wellstone Action continues Sheila’s work through our Sheila Wellstone Institute (SWI). Through SWI, Wellstone Action builds power and engages broad community support to ensure that ending violence against women and children is a national priority. SWI trains and convenes advocates, survivors, and witnesses towards that end.
Case in point: our event on October 31, a presentation and dialogue, guided by two national leaders, on a groundbreaking study "Realidades Latinas: Impact of Immigration and Language Access on Latina Survivors."
Opening the event, Marcia Avner who leads SWI and serves on our Board, talked about the importance of this work for Wellstone Action, “Wellstone Action carries forward Sheila’s work to end domestic violence with SWI. We bring people together, and make connections, so we can integrate our efforts and work together to end domestic violence.”
Marcia then introduced two of the leaders responsible for the report, Amy Sanchez, Chief Executive of the national work at Casa de Esperanza, the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities, and Patti Tototzintle, CEO of Casa de Esperanza. Amy and Patti shared the findings of the study, presented for the very first time in Minnesota at this event.
Amy and Patti talked about what’s being done nationwide on this issue, and how other big issues, like comprehensive immigration reform, are impacting their work. As the report notes, “As the immigration debate wages on in the United States, researchers, advocates, community organizers, policymakers, and community members alike have taken note of the direct impact that increased immigration enforcement policies have had on the Latin@ community. This is especially evident in the areas of domestic violence…” The study surveys barriers that survivors face in seeking services and presents implications for public policy, training, and further research.
Over 20 leaders came together for this event, and spent nearly two hours asking questions, making recommendations, and discussing how their work integrates with the work being done by others in the room. Wellstone Action is proud to serve as a convener for this important work, and thanks everyone for joining us to continue this work – and Sheila’s tremendous legacy.