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Lots of PINK! April 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — julieannclark @ 1:56 am
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When we first meet our amazing survivors, they are homeless.  In some cases, someone has quite literally told them whose house or which hotel they will sleep in every night, for as long as they can remember.  Others are so far into a downward spiral and addiction, that they stay awake for weeks at a time, only to crash every few weeks once their body starts shutting down.  Some have plastic trash bags with a few outfits and some personal belongings.  I’ve seen a few backpacks… and even a broken down laundry basket once.    

Most have horrific memories of ‘home’ and ‘homes’.  They entered into human trafficking at an average age of 13.  So you can imagine what it means to them when our team of volunteers takes them out to begin collecting things for their very first homes.  None of them initially have opinions about color preferences or decorating styles.  It’s so powerful for them to be able to EXPRESS themselves and use their voices for the very first time. 

Doma means home!  We redefine home for those whose homes were full of abuse, pain, neglect, and injustice.  We redefine home for those who don’t even have the first clue about what a home should look like—because their homes have only felt empty.

How do we do it? We spend anywhere from $200-$400 per apartment—and in “Trading Spaces” fashion, we take one day, and drive the survivors to thrift stores all over Columbus to pick out their own patterns and colors.   We help them do it with dignity and empowerment, so that they don’t feel as though they are just getting our leftovers.  We want them to develop their sense of self!  I used to make it a point to visit each apartment after every makeover.  And I’ve seen leopard prints emerge—and country patterns—and lots of PINK!

These amazing women delight in filling their apartments with pots and pans.  And in hanging up curtains, and in picking out pretty bedspreads.  One woman said that she loves the fresh laundry detergent smell of her bedspread as she pulls it up to snuggle in safe and sound at night—safe for the very first time in her life. 

Thank you for all you do for the ladies we love so much—so now please help us redefine home.  Over the last few years we have received some grant funding for apartment makeovers, but not yet for 2013. Doma has done amazing work with survivors to restore dignity with very little individual donations.   But now we really, really need your support.   I promise you, we would not be asking if we had the grant secured.  Please consider giving to our survivor services.  These next few weeks alone, we have 3 apartments that need made over– and one willing volunteer to coordinate. 

Donate here at domaconnection.org, donate now, survivor services, and leave a note in the donation that it is meant for apartment makeovers.  And yes, if you have pots and pans that aren’t broken down, and plates that look nice still—please drop them off at our offices– 40 West Long, YMCA- downtown.  

And yes, of course, we’ll take anything PINK that you might have.  It is so neat to see these amazing women exploring their inner child, and living life free and unclenched, and safe… 

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Liberation January 30, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — julieannclark @ 6:58 pm
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Liberation: Doma International

Last Monday night was inspiring.  A doma colleague and survivor of human trafficking, Theresa Flores, hosted and organized the Liberator Awards to recognize the abolition heroes amongst us in Ohio. At the end of the night, Theresa asked me what my favorite moment was.  Was it the glitter that fell down from the ceiling, missing the award winners, but landing directly on Glenn McEntyre of Channel 10? Was it being in the room with the 15+ agencies who collaborate so well to rescue and restore survivors?   (Shout out to The Women’s Fund and Central Ohio YMCA for your continued support of us!!)  Was it the delicious Freedom a la Cart food?  (Shameless plug for catering and box lunch menu here!) 

Hmmm…  Nope.  It was when there was a moment of spontaneous eruption of applause and cheering:

At some point in the film about Theresa’s life, an amazing abolitionist in town (Bev Delashmutt) recalled when Theresa was testifying at the hearing for the new  Ohio anti-trafficking law, when a senator attempted to speed up her testimony.  

Theresa so poignantly said “Sir, I have prepared for this moment for a very long time and you will hear everything I have to say”.  

At that moment in the film, the entire Liberator Award audience celebrated.  

I think everyone realized that indeed, Theresa has found her voice.  Reflect on how empowering it is that a survivor, gave out awards to those who liberate– during January, National Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Month, and on MLK day, a day to celebrate the birth of a prominent civil rights leader who promoted nonviolent activism.  How inspiring that must be to those who are still seeking to use their voices. 

This is our hope for the survivors we work with here in Ohio.  At doma, we have intersected with 122 survivors of forced and coerced prostitution—or modern-slavery.  We know this intersection has extreme responsibility and vulnerability for all of us.  We form relationships with them; we enter into their new norm alongside of them.   We journey with them as they find their voices.  We empower them to use their voices, and support them along the way. It was amazing to see some of these strong survivors in attendance at these awards.  And for doma, it was beautiful to celebrate our partnership with SOAP exactly as we envisioned it to be– what beauty to have such a seamless partnership that actively fights slavery in our own nation.  And what an honor to work with our amazing survivors, equipping them to rediscover ‘self,’ providing a path to find their voices, and empowering them to liberate others enslaved. 

Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery- MLK

For Liberation, 

Julie A. Clark

CEO, doma and Freedom a la Cart

Attend our volunteer training on February 10th from 1:30-3:00 at the YMCA- 40 West Long.   Register with Vanessa@domaconnection.org

Visit freedomalacart.org and domaconnection.org to learn more. 

Short film about Theresa’s story can be found here.   

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