A Wisconsin nonprofit organization that combats domestic violence is appealing to the public for help, after it says it lost funding over its stance on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Embrace, which offers support and shelter to "survivors of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, child abuse, and sexual violence," has four offices throughout northwest Wisconsin, including one in Rice Lake.
This past summer, as the Huffington Post notes, the organization displayed BLM signs outside its locations, in the hopes that "people of color felt comfortable visiting" their centers.
This month, the Barron County Board of Supervisors executive committee voted to slash $25,000 in funding for Embrace. They also voted to remove the county's Health and Human Services director from Embrace's board of directors.
A number of law enforcement agencies have also officially ended their affiliations with Embrace; according to Wisconsin Public Radio, they include the Barron County Sheriff's Office, who said they would cut ties with the nonprofit due to its support of "social issues that are negative towards law enforcement."
As Huffington Post points out, this means that "women who call the police for help... may not be referred to Embrace for help with safety planning, counseling and support."
Now, Embrace is raising donations to make up for the budget shortfall and lack of support. This week, they launched a GoFundMe seeking $25,000 (the amount that Barron County cut); they have already exceeded that goal, having raised $36,000 as of this writing.
Meanwhile, Washburn County — where Embrace has an office in Spooner — has voted to continue its funding to the organization, with the county board chairman remarking that "we are very fortunate" to have Embrace "serving our survivors of domestic and sexual assault violence," the Spooner Advocate reports.