Strengthen Campaign A New Effort to Help Create a Safer Alaska
by josh medina y george kosinski
Becoming a father to a daughter was a profound turning point in my life, where I not only became painfully aware of societal issues through a different perspective, but also of my own contributions to them. Like many parents, I felt a newfound responsibility to create a better world for my child but grappled with the question of how to do so.
I learned that external change begins with personal growth. Support and inspiration from my partner, family, and community played a crucial role in this process, fueling my commitment to creating a safer Alaska for everyone, not just my daughter.
Despite Alaska’s natural beauty and diverse communities, the state faces a pressing issue demanding attention: violence. Studies emphasize the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as household violence, which can affect individuals into adulthood. While Alaska’s violence rates are alarmingly high, so is our capacity to change. We can take action to prevent trauma from happening.
Tony Porter, founder of ‘A Call to Men, said: “If women could end violence against women by themselves, they would have by now; violence against women won’t end until good men become part of the solution.” It is time for us, as Alaskan men, to do just that in Alaska. But how?
The Strengthen campaign provides an answer. While most violence is perpetrated by men, only a small percentage engage in such behavior, with most Alaskans making positive contributions through personal growth and gentle parenting. Strengthen highlights these efforts and turns inspiration into action.
It can start highlighting the roles we already undertake, like being a mentor. Recognizing that most of us are already role models, we can help end violence by intentionally teaching youth about respect, managing emotions, and challenging harmful gender roles and stereotypes.
To effectively do this, most men need opportunities to learn and practice in their own lives. Strengthen invites participation through story sharing, while also offering resources and support and creating a space to discuss wellness, gender roles, and healing.
Men and boys are also survivors of trauma and violence, and they need a space to heal. Strengthen encourages help-seeking by framing it as a sign of strength, not weakness, and providing a supportive environment for men throughout Alaska.
Supported by organizations like the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA) and Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT), Strengthen strives to break the cycles of abuse impacting Alaska’s youth. ACT’s support for parenting classes and cultural camps encourages men to play an active role in this mission, while ANDVSA and its programs advocate for and prevent violence statewide. Are you ready to join the movement? Share your story or voice at www.strengthenalaska.org.
Joshua (he/him), like many other Alaskans, immigrated to the United States at a young age. Coming from the Philippines, the transition was stark, but Alaska quickly became his home. In addition to working for the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence as a prevention specialist, he works as a juvenile justice counselor for the McLaughlin Youth Center.
George Kosinski is an Alaska Fellow at the Alaska Children’s Trust, a statewide organization for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. After growing up on the East Coast, he moved to Alaska and is committed to supporting children, families, and communities across the state.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE NEWS, LLC. Sol de Medianoche is a monthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska