The North Dakota Healthy Masculinity Town Hall and Where Do You Stand? North Dakota
A Report on the Town Hall
A diverse group of people consisting of law enforcement, tribal men and women, sexual assault and domestic violence advocates, educators, military representatives, state political staffers, and Watford City community members gathered on July 31, 2013 in the heart of the Bakken Formation to discuss Healthy Masculinity and the Oil Patch.
At the start of the town hall a tribal man sang a song in his native language about mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and aunts. After the four storytellers – two men and two women – told a story of their experiences with masculinity, a heartfelt conversation ensued facilitated by representatives from CAWS North Dakota and Men Can Stop Rape, the organizers of the event. “We need our men to stand with us,” one woman said. Later a man said, “We men need to forgive who we were and become who we want to be.” A point was made about the role healthy masculinity can play in building connection and community in Bakken communities challenged by the overwhelming influx of male energy workers.
At the end of the town hall, the CAWS North Dakota town hall facilitator referenced a line from a storyteller’s story, “Who taught your kids to hate?” and asked the town hall participants, “Who will teach our boys to love?”
ND Town Hall Allies
The North Dakota Healthy Masculinity Town Hall Allies consisted of the Watford City Police Department, McKenzie County Economic Development and Tourism, Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, North Dakota Women’s Network, the North Dakota State Attorney’s Office, the North Dakota Farmer’s Union, Men’s Action Network, North Dakota National Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, CVIC Safe Shelter, Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota, and Three Rivers Crisis Centers.
Where Do You Stand? North Dakota
On July 30, 2013, the day before the town hall, Men Can Stop Rape conducted a day-long Where Do You Stand? bystander intervention training as part of the launch of the North Dakota Where Do You Stand? campaign, consisting of messaging and images tailored to the state. Campaign materials were distributed at the training and the town hall.
North Carolina: The First Healthy Masculinity Town Hall
The evening of November 28 on the North Carolina Central University campus, Carolina Alzuru, Coordinated Community Response Specialist for the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Rob Powell, Member Services Coordinator for the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, facilitated an inspiring conversation. A diverse crowd engaged in a lengthy discussion of the characteristics of unhealthy and healthy masculinity initiated by storytellers Dasan Ahanu, Assistant Professor of English at Saint Augustine University; Becca Bishopric, Coordinator for Violence Prevention and Response at Elon University; Tim Johnson, a North Carolina Central University student; and Andra Wilkinson, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina. The emcee for the evening was Carenda Parker, Parent Education Social Worker at the Durham County Department of Social Services.
Thanks to all of the above people and organizations for making the Town Hall happen. Thanks to the North Carolina Central University Women’s Center for hosting the event and to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence for providing food for everyone. Thanks as well to the Verizon Foundation for sponsoring the event.
We look forward with excitement and eagerness to more Healthy Masculinity Town Halls across the country during the next two years.