Interview: M.L. Daniel’s Thoughts About Strategic Opportunities
Q: What do you see as one of the most strategic opportunities for making headway in ending violence against girls and women in the U.S.?
ML: Leveraging the resources of faith communities along with our secular advocates presents tremendous strategic opportunity for ending gender based violence in the US. To this end I suggest a social change campaign that would expands the work with denominations and faith based movements and seminaries to insure that the next generation of faith leaders are not only prepared to respond to individuals, both victims and perpetrators, but also to act as social change agents in their communities. In many respects when it comes to addressing and ending gender based violence, the approach has been compartmentalized with each societal segment working individually, the uniqueness of faith communities is that typically there are people from all walks of life in the community, hence if this untapped resource is mobilized there is potential for institutional and generational change.
Q: What is an innovative practice, strategy, or tactic from your work that demonstrates what you see as the new way forward in ending violence against all girls and women?
ML: FaithTrust Institute serves as a bridge between religious and secular communities, working to build coordinated and comprehensive programs to end violence in the lives of women and children. As a national, multi-faith, feminist organization, we train religious communities on the issues of sexual and domestic violence, not only to understand and address gender-based violence, but also to institute effective prevention efforts that promote safe and healthy families. We also provides training and technical assistance to grassroots activists and victim advocates, preparing them to recognize and attend to the religious questions and issues that arise in their work with women and children.
M.L. Daniel brings a simple philosophy to her life’s work—that all people are social engineers for change.
M.L. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Juris Doctorate from Howard University the School of Law in Washington, D.C. She is also holds a Masters in Divinity from Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry.
She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). M.L.’s calling is unique, powerful, and vitally needed in the church today. In addition to having her own law practice, she is a contracted program manager for the FaithTrust Institute. M.L. is passionate about working with faith communities assisting them to align their theology, values and vision with their choices at places where the secular and sacred intersect. It is her desire to help faith based organizations and faith communities in the areas of “Spiritual Law,” which includes boundary violations, ethics, policy writing and reviewing, and more. In all of these situations, M.L. feels that part of her calling is “not just in the micro, but also to help you stand on the balcony and see the bigger picture.” M.L. explains that there are places where the sacred and the secular meet, and she wants to help the church better respond to the difficulties that arise, placing an emphasis on helping human entities and looking out for the spiritual well-being of the larger community, recognizing the interconnectedness between individuals and groups and their communities.