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AFCC-MN Values committee updates.

To AFCC-MN Membership and all MN Family Law community persons and organizations:


The murder of George Floyd and the devastation from COVID-19, especially in our most underserved communities, prompted AFCC-MN to create the Values Committee. The Values Committee strives to engage directly with our membership, community organizations, providers, and other stakeholders not only to offer education and resources but also to be educated ourselves. We aim to be partners, active listeners, and stewards when it comes to our engagement with marginalized communities.


Since the creation of the Values Committee, AFCC-MN and our members have taken the opportunity not only to provide but also to participate in extensive trainings to learn about social injustices, history, and paths to racial equity. Progress does not end there. It is imperative that we all take the next step and put our knowledge, beliefs, and understanding into practice in a way that benefits both our members and the family law community at large.


Unfortunately, the Minnesota family law community was confronted with a racist trope during a social event at the Annual AAML Divorce Camp. Subsequent to the event, AAML generated ideas and steps to address what occurred in a way that will bring benefit both to their membership and to future Divorce Camp attendees. While Divorce Camp is not an AFCC-MN event, a number of our members were present, and we want to take this time to address our membership in an intentional way, as AAML has done.


The racist comments made during the social event serve as a reminder that we are not free from the toxic ideas that continue to plague our society. It serves our community strongest when we each take action in our allyship. Participating in training on why we should be an ally is important, but our responsibility does not end there. We also need to act.


Because we want our organization to be truly inclusive and we want all members to feel as though we support them no matter their background, the ability to create meaningful change as an ally when situations/opportunities arise becomes even more crucial. This statement serves as a call to all to implement what we learn in trainings and to live our values. When you either hear or see something that is harming anyone in our community, we encourage you to say something about it. Be an in-the-moment advocate. Maintain the values that we established for our organization. With privilege comes responsibility. We strive for our members to be actively engaged if and when our clients, friends, colleagues, co-workers, and peers become the subject of words or actions that are antithetical to our ideals/values statement.


We hope this message will serve as an opportunity to remind you to be a true ally, to move from being an observer to becoming an advocate, and to become an upstander - opposite of a bystander - and push back on comments/actions even if no one within earshot may be offended or hurt.


In our commitment to providing resources and opportunities for education, AFCC-MN is pledging the following action steps:


COMMITTEE NEXT STEPS:

  1. Annual Allyship Training - free of charge to all members.

  2. Creating a statement that will be shared prior to AFCC events which will reaffirm our commitment to our Values.

  3. Identify persons at each event who can be approached with problem/concerns.

  4. Co-sponsor training with AAML and/or other community organizations.

  5. List of available trainings and resources on our website.

Our President-Elect - New Developments

AFCC-MN Members, It is with both sadness and excitement that I share the following message with you all. Our President-Elect, Racheal Howitz, is stepping down from her position. Racheal is expecting a

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