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Using "influencers" to advocate for domestic violence prevention

Reimagine Lab team Influencers4Justice

Reimagine Lab: Preventing cycles of violence, now and into the future is a human-centered design lab supported by the Foundation that produced new and innovative solutions to breaking the cycle of domestic and family violence. The lab launched in 2018, with 16 community fellows from diverse backgrounds and from across California from inside and outside the domestic violence field. The engagement of community-based fellows in the development of new ideas to prevent domestic violence reflects the Foundation’s vision for engaging those with lived experience in the design of solutions. The fellows formed teams to develop their ideas for preventing violence with the help of Foundation partner Gobee Group, a health and social innovation design firm based in Oakland. Gobee designed and facilitated the Reimagine Lab experience with guidance from Foundation staff and leadership.

Influencers4Justice partners with local, connected community leaders -- or “influencers” -- leveraging their clout and reach as a platform to educate, influence, and advocate for domestic violence prevention in communities of color. The following blog is a reflection from Biruk Tammru, Innovation Strategist at Gobee Group, on how Influencers4Justice prototyped their idea:

The Influencers4Justice innovation is a “pay it forward” model, where the group invests in building the influencers’ capacity to work on domestic violence prevention. Then that influencer will reinvest in someone else to create a network of influencers and expand their collective reach. The idea was initially considered risky because of uncertain outcomes, but this is the role of Reimagine Lab: to spark innovation that has potential and to test it for impact and sustainability.

Vanessa Guillen Mural

The three fellows who comprise Influencers4Justice have nine decades of professional experience within the domestic violence field. This team’s expertise in running community organizations gives them a unique vantage point from which to view and understand the importance of empowering local c influencers to make positive change.

Through an iterative process, the team landed on its current idea - though, it didn’t start there. In 2019, the team thought it wanted to focus on entrepreneurs of color as the conduits for community impact. After testing this idea at a community basketball event in Long Beach called Hoops to End Abuse, the team decided to modify their strategy. They now look at a much broader set of influencers, beyond entrepreneurs, but remain focused on communities and influencers of color.

The team is currently prototyping this influencer idea with a Spanish-speaking artist and writer, a pastor from the Latinx immigrant community, and a Black activist. You can learn more about this idea by reaching out to Sandra Henriquez at sandra@calcasa.org, Sharon Turner at slturnerlo48@gmail.com, and Jorge Fernandez at jfernandez@gvhc.org. Also check out the team’s video! We will continue to follow the progress of the Reimagine Lab fellows to share new insights with the field.