The Voice for South Asians affected by Family Violence | April 2022
Awaaz News & Updates
A Message from Awaaz's Board
Greetings to all our supporters!
We hope you are all safe and happy. As you may know, Awaaz will be entering its 11th year as a non-profit this May, and we wanted to share a few words about in our organization in celebration. Awaaz has had an eventful year so far. Besides serving several new clients and working on governance and capacity building, we have already participated in couple of major events and are currently working on a few more. Notably, we participated in the Women’s Empowerment Symposium hosted by the India Association of San Antonio to celebrate Women’s History Month. During this event, we made a presentation about domestic violence (DV) and Awaaz's mission and showcased an interactive skit. It was indeed an honor to be sharing the stage with a group of some incredible women from our community-all leaders in their various fields. We also participated in a public event organized by the Asian Pacific Islanders of San Antonio to stand up with our fellow Asian Americans to denounce DV and general abuse of basic human rights. We plan to continue with our efforts to educate about DV and reach out to people within and outside the community to find more resources for our clients in the future.
Awaaz could not do this without the support we receive from those who work with us. We deeply appreciate the guidance we receive from our esteemed advisors. We are also thankful for our dedicated volunteers - the lifeblood of our organization.
Thank you, dear supporters, for standing by us as we enter our 11th year!
The Awaaz Board Awaaz Awarded $21,500 Grant from the Texas Bar Association
Awaaz is delighted to share that we have been awarded a grant from the Texas Bar Foundation! The grant will allow us to further educate and empower San Antonio's community in support of South Asian survivors.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $24 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported
by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation's largest charitably-funded bar foundation.
Awaaz is so grateful to have the Foundation's support for this endeavor!
Love and Abuse Cannot Co-Exist
Author bell hooks states in her book All About Love:New Visions, “When we understand love as the will to nurture our own and another's spiritual growth, it becomes clear that we cannot claim to love if we are hurtful and abusive. Love and abuse cannot coexist. Abuse and neglect are, by definition, the opposites of nurturance and care.” When we follow this belief of abuse being the opposite of love, we lean into the healthier belief that love is respect.
There’s been an increase of examples in pop culture depicting abuse in many forms. Kanye West showed abusive language towards his now ex-wife, publicly inciting violence towards her new boyfriend in the name of love. Then, there was the infamous slap by Will Smith followed by the tired, worn-out triggering statement, “Love will make you do crazy things.” Both these examples matched pain with pain. Both these examples demonstrate how triggers for abused survivors are all around us, especially in the realm of social media.
Love when paired with respect, would be the opposite of these actions. If respect was at the center of these incidents, we would see Kanye respecting the wishes and actions of a now ex-partner. With respect at the center, perhaps Will Smith would have chosen the evening as an opportunity to address trauma and pain associated with health conditions. They would be healing pain through empowerment.
Often, our society normalizes violence in the name of love. We can apply this thinking to a vast array of incidents where violence is minimized. Whether it’s by making the violence acceptable (“I wasn’t paying attention to them”; “they’re just really passionate”; “it was just a joke”) or if we choose to engage in the narrative to normalize the violence (“What did you think they were going to do? Others have done worse”). Making abuse, in any form, acceptable is a slippery slope. Taking action, even small steps, can change the dialogue in our generation. How will you help change the dialogue?
If you have lost a case in the trial court, you may request a higher court to review the lower court’s decision. And, if you have won a case, you may find yourself involved in appellate proceedings if the opposing party seeks to overturn your win in court. When a case is appealed, the appellate court generally looks at the documents, filings, and evidence presented in the lower court. It is not a retrial and generally new evidence is not presented.
Generally speaking, the following steps are followed in an appeal. First, the losing party (appellant) files and serves a notice to appeal to an Appelle. All parties are informed of deadlines. Appellant files a brief with legal arguments advocating why the case or parts of the case should be overturned. Then, the Appellee (the party that won in the lower court) files a brief in response. The Appellant can respond with a reply brief. There is a time frame for filing the briefs. The initial briefs generally need to be filed within 30 days. If parties request an oral argument, then oral arguments take place. If not, the Appellate Court renders judgement.
Bexar county (San Antonio) family law cases are appealed to the 4th District Court of Appeals and can further be appealed to the Supreme Court of Texas. An appellate case is different from a trial court case. And, attorneys who represent clients on appellate cases are specialized. In a majority of family law appellate cases, the court will not appoint an attorney. Therefore, if you are in a situation needing an appellate attorney, contact local agencies such as Legal Aid or get a private attorney through the Lawyer Referral service. For detailed information on how appellate cases work in Texas, we suggest the pro se guide by the Texas Young Lawyers Association.
San Antonio’s Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence continues goal to help survivors