WASHINGTON, March 12, 2021 (Newswire.com) - Ujima commends the introduction of H.R. 1620, the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2021, which is slated to be put before the House of Representatives next week.
"As an organization devoted to preventing sexual and domestic violence against Black women and children, we see this as a critical step in the ongoing efforts to protect some of the most vulnerable in our society," said Ujima Executive Director Karma Cottman. Cottman added, "Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) are to be commended for leading this extremely important legislation in the House."
The initial Violence Against Women Act of 1994, written and championed by President Biden, was instrumental in addressing domestic and sexual violence in our country. Following the lapse of the legislation in 2018, the VAWA of 2021 builds on the 1994 measure with several provisions that would help to widen the scope of protection given to survivors in domestic and sexual violence situations and help save countless lives.
The passage of the Violence Against Reauthorization Act of 2021 would also provide much needed aid to domestic and sexual violence organizations and preventive measures focused on protecting women of color, whom typically have a higher lethality rate in domestic violence situations.
A 2017 study, by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that Black women are twice as likely as white women to be fatally shot by an intimate partner. Among younger Black women, the rate of lethality is even greater, with Black women more than three times more likely to be shot and killed by a partner than white women in the same age group. Statistics show that more than 22 percent of Black women and girls will be raped at some point in their lives.
"Ujima joins President Biden in encouraging Congress to come together and move swiftly to pass the VAWA Act of 2021, considering the critical and timely nature of the legislation," said Cottman. "The fact that so many women continue to live in fear of their intimate partners, coupled with a litany of domestic violence issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, speaks to the urgency of the Violence Against Reauthorization Act of 2021."
Launched in 2015, Ujima is a national services issue resource center that provides support and serves as a voice for the Black Community in response to domestic, sexual and community violence. Ujima was founded in response to a need for an active approach to ending domestic, sexual and community violence in the Black community. The name Ujima was derived from the third principle of Kwanzaa and means Collective Work and Responsibility.
About Karma Cottman
Karma Cottman is the Executive Director of Ujima. Before joining Ujima, Inc., Karma led the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence as Executive Director for a decade, and prior to that, served the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), for a decade.
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