A survivor. A woman who wants to make real change in the workplace, an organizer, an activist, a listener, and a leader. You are curious and vibrant. You are part of networks, in and outside of work, perhaps you are involved in labor and community organizations, or in a service or volunteer group, or new to the space.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, we can see a great variety of advocacy efforts aimed at making women safer in their work and every day lives. We also know that strategies rooted in organizing methodology are few and far between. In our view, a successful approach needs to include a path for individual voices to shape structural changes; we cannot continue to address sexual violence by treating perpetrators as “bad apples,” and taking them on one at a time. Our goal is to change the landscape by working those who are experts: survivors. We aim to come together to share our expertise, analyze what’s working, and identify new organizing terrain.
We are experts. As survivors, we have the knowledge, experience, and resourcefulness to know how to tackle these massive challenges to eliminating sexual harassment and violence from our workplaces, communities and lives. We all come to this space to teach and learn.
Basic framework for each session, which will be conducted via video conferencing:
As a part of each session, we will share tools and also have “homework” or “work work” to put into action each week.
Session 1: Supporting
Create working agreements around support, confidentiality, action and resilience. Bring to the surface challenges to taking a more holistic structural work. Develop a shared analysis.
Session 2: Learning
Explore what justice looks like for us individually; hear from advocates who are using restorative justice practices with organizations, workplaces and unions and how we can potentially use the principles of the restorative justice to address sexual harassment and gender based violence.
Session 3: Creating
Actionable practices and policies that are grounded in survivors’ experiences, restorative justice principles and true systems change.
Session 4: Healing
Connecting our own healing to taking on exploitative workplaces and the liberation of others.
Session 5: Organizing
A national network dedicated toward ending violence, shifting power and fighting for true culture change.
|1st meeting||September 10, 2019||Supporting|
|2nd meeting||September 24, 2019||Learning|
|3rd meeting||October 15, 2019||Creating|
|4th meeting||October 29, 2019||Healing|
|5th meeting||November 12, 2019||Organizing|
As the co-founder and co-director of Healing to Action, Sheerine collaborates with worker leaders across Chicago to ignite innovative, community-sustained strategies to address the endemic rates of gender-based violence in low-wage workplaces and neighborhoods. Led by the voices of workers and survivors, she writes, teaches, educates, and organizes to create safe, just workplaces and stable economic futures for people of all genders. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Toll Public Interest Scholar and co-founded the student activist organization, Penn Law Students Against Gender-Based Exploitation (SAGE).
Ana Avendaño is a lifelong worker advocate, and a survivor of sexual assault. She has held senior positions in the labor movement, playing major roles in changing the labor movement’s position on immigration, and broadening the AFL-CIO’s vision to include worker centers and other non-traditional worker organizations. She served as an Associate General Counsel to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, as well as Assistant General Counsel to the AFL-CIO, and Assistant to the AFL-CIO President for Immigration and Community Action. In 2019, she was pushed out of United Way Worldwide where she had been serving as Vice President for Labor Engagement after she exposed sexual harassment within the United Way network and in the labor movement. Ana has been published in academic journals, quoted as an expert on sexual harassment and the labor movement by the New York Times, and spoken at numerous academic and industry conferences on the topic of sexual harassment and labor.
Paula, as the president and principal of PB Works Solutions, builds harassment and toxic workplace prevention systems that reflect your values and transform your culture. She works with nonprofits, small businesses, unions and political organizations on training, reporting and policy development to ensure objective reporting and a harassment-free environment. As the National Harassment Grievance Officer for the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), she is building a nationwide harassment reporting and grievance program that is the first of its kind for a national political organization. Paula recently wrapped up 18 years (including eight as executive director) with Workplace Fairness, a legal nonprofit that educates workers about their legal rights in the workplace, primarily through the award-winning website www.workplacefairness.org.
JoEllen is a survivor, organizer, and single mom. She organized her first sit-in at middle school, but for the life of her can’t remember why…but ever since has the organizing bug. JoEllen currently is Director of Special Projects at the Center for Popular Democracy where she plays a key role in driving CPD’s economic justice work. She focuses on envisioning strategy, leveraging partner organizations’ impact in the field, and assisting in the implementation of dynamic campaign plans. She is the Founder of the We Believe You Fund. Learn more here.
Girshriela Green is from Los Angeles and was one of the first 100 Walmart workers around the U.S. to stand up and organize as part of the United for Respect effort. She is now a national online-to-field organizer who builds leadership in other associates, across the country. She is the founder of Respect the Bump, a national network of pregnant Walmart associates that challenged Walmart to change their policy to ensure healthy pregnancies while continuing to work to support their families. She along with other Walmart associates, challenged Walmart’s board of directors to a paid family leave policy and won! She supports the leaders who founded a network of LGBT Walmart employees and is now working to ensure that all survivors of sexual harassment are protected after reporting being harassed. She is also a survivor of childhood sexual assault and sexual harassment at Walmart. Girshriela has organized a round table of women that work at Walmart and are now taking on retail as a whole in hopes that all women are treated with dignity.
Linda A. Seabrook is General Counsel and Director of Workplace Safety & Equity for Futures Without Violence (FUTURES), a national non-profit organization dedicated to ending violence against women and children, and its impact on families and communities. In this role, Ms. Seabrook leads a number of initiatives including the only national resource center solely dedicated to addressing the impacts of domestic violence, sexual violence and harassment, and stalking impacting workers and the workplace. Linda is a recognized expert in changing workplace culture and the development of workplace practices that prevent as well as respond to such violence and harassment. Prior to joining FUTURES, Linda was a subject matter expert on victims’ rights for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), providing training and litigation assistance on victims’ issues to the United States Attorneys’ offices and investigative and litigating components of DOJ.
Reminder: if you want updates about our work without necessarily applying to join the training, please use the form at the top of the page!