It is important now more than ever to embrace and celebrate what connects us: our resilience. This month, we’re shining a spotlight on Bobby Manis, Resilience Associate Board member and Evening of Impact Host Committee member. Read our interview to hear from Bobby about getting involved in Resilience and the role men can play in preventing gender-based violence.
Read our interview with Bobby below.
You’re a member of Resilience’s Associate Board. What inspired or motivated you to get involved in this role?
Gender-based violence prevention and survivor support have been important to me for years. It was when I was on campus as a student, and in professional work, especially supporting the Illinois Councilwoman and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, and in life beyond just work and campus. Because of that, I wanted to find a way to support an organization that does incredible work preventing violence and supporting survivors in Chicago. I found that in Resilience and it’s been a really great opportunity for me to find ways to engage the men in my life to support an organization like Resilience. When raising money for the Empowerment 5K Run, Walk, and Roll, I focused on connecting with my friends and family who are men to talk about Resilience, gender-based violence, and our role in that. Finding Resilience and finding a way to support the organization allowed me to really expand those conversations into the lives of men that I care about.
You’re also a part of the Evening of Impact Host Committee. In your opinion, why is it important to support Resilience and this event?
Last year, Resilience reached more than 8,000 people with Prevention Education. Resilience served more than 1,400 survivors and their loved ones. Supporting Resilience through the Evening of Impact is so important because it allows Resilience to continue that work in Chicago and across Chicagoland.
Speaking as a man involved in the anti-rape movement, why should men get involved in this work?
I think men should be involved because it is not just a “women’s issue”. We as men need to follow women who’ve been leading efforts to prevent violence and to support survivors because gender-based violence is an issue that impacts every community. Most gender-based violence is committed by men and there is significant stigma for men who are survivors of gender-based violence to talk about their own experiences. To me, I think it is really critical that men join the conversation, and join the effort to support survivors and prevent violence because we are part of the community and need to see this as more than just a women’s issue. We need to see it as an issue that every person in the community engages in.
Brenda Tracy, our Impact Award Recipient at this year’s Evening of Impact focuses her efforts on the prevention of gender-based violence specifically working with men and viewing them as the solution. What is one thing everyone can do to be a part of the solution in this fight to end sexual violence?
I think it starts by having discussions about what general gender-based violence looks like in our community. That’s especially true for men. When we have these conversations, we start to see how pervasive gender-based violence is and we start to think about how we can hold each other accountable, how we can prevent violence, and how we can support people that we consider part of our community. That’s something that I think men need to do and that is a really great start for everyone across the community.
What are your hopes for the future of the Resilience Associate Board? What is something that the Associate Board is looking forward to in the next year?
I hope that the Resilience Associate Board continues to build out key events that become a staple for Resilience at large, like the Empowerment 5K that was hosted this last year. As young people, we have new networks to tap. We have new ideas and a lot of energy to put into an incredible organization that we all care about. I think if we continue to do this work, we can cement the Associate Board as a critical part of Resilience at large and continue bringing in young people to support an organization that we all care deeply about.
What is one fun fact about you?
I’m a black belt in karate. I started karate when I was 5 years old. I trained for 9 or 10 years and I think it really helped me learn how to focus. It taught me about working over the long term for goals that I care about and it was honestly just a lot of fun. I really loved it.