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WOVAN came together through the collective vision of Ifrah Abdalla and Sarah Utley, both long term advocates and activists for those experiencing homelessness, domestic and sexual violence and discrimination locally and internationally. Through a serendipitous unravelling of combined vision in 2020, Ifrah and Sarah quickly realized their shared passions for intentional and deliberate multi-cultural anti-racist services were deeply needed and could easily be a reality.

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Sarah Utley

Since 2009 Sarah has worked at both the local and international level providing direct services, training and education, program development and implementation services and leadership to both local and international agencies working to end violence against all people. Sarah, through her work has observed and identified a deep need for a complete reconstruction of the victim services model, intentionally through an anti-racist inclusive lens. This realization is at the root of why WOVAN has been formed.

Learn More: Rising Stars: Meet Sarah Utley - Voyage Minnesota Magazine

Ifrah Abdalla

Ifrah moved to Minnesota with her family as a small child, as a refugee from Ethiopia. She identifies as a proud  Oromo and Somali woman. She and her family settled in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area and since then she has formed deep roots in our city in the form of activism, advocacy and community service. Ifrah has been deeply involved with Minnesota's "Black Lives Matter'' Movement since its beginning. She identifies as a black feminist, activist and abuse amd homelessness survivor. Her passion is also rooted within immigrant communities fighting for human rights. She has pushed to remove religious and cultural beliefs that have become an international threat to all women.

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