For those of you who were unable to attend Soulfire 2017, below is the speech your Executive Director, Tashmica Torok gave. It was meant for every community member who has invested their time, generosity and help to move the foundation along. That means, it was meant for YOU and we hope it inspires you to continue to be involved in ways that are meaningful to you.
You can still purchase your copy of the Soulfire 2017 calendar here. You can make a donation to support holistic healing for child survivors of sexual trauma here. For more information about joining the Board of Directors, one of several volunteer committees or the new Pediatric Medical Advocacy Team, email Program Coordinator, Mandy Charping at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was prepared to speak to you all weeks ago. I had my speech all thought out in my head. You see, I have a simple story that is relevant to the topic of sanctuary.
If you are a friend of mine, then you know that I have a little dog named Lucy. Hashtag I love Lucy. I found her one day while on my way to the video store. She was walking on a curb behind a parked car and facing oncoming traffic. I knew she was going to get hit by that car and so I asked my husband to stop so I could save her.
I scooped a little flea ridden, worm infested, skinny, shivering darling into my arms. And then she vomited in my newly leased car. We drove her around. We had her scanned for a chip. We called the humane society. We even refused to let the kids name her because we just couldn’t understand who would abandon such an incredible little being. We knew someone was going to claim her but in the end, no one did.
On day six. After paying for her vet bills, I called it. Lucy was staying with us. At that point, I was willing to street fight for her. I remember speaking with my friend Esperanza about how she seemed meant for us. Esperanza told me that in Mexico, they have a saying. She said that Lucy, “fell on soft.”
Our family was the soft place she landed after falling.
Today we celebrate sanctuary in very uncertain times. We claim this space for survivors and we learn from their lessons.
Why is it important for survivors to have a team of supporters? Why is it important for them to be out in nature? Why is meditation so important? If I can answer these questions for you by sharing these stories, then maybe I can prepare you to provide sanctuary for the survivor you meet.
And you will meet them. Most women will not leave this earth before confronting sexual violence. They will not die before experiencing sexual violence. With 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys experiencing sexual assault before they turn 18, you already know a survivor. African American women, Native American women and transgender people are at higher risk for experiencing sexual violence.
The Firecracker Foundation will always be a safe space for survivors of sexual trauma. Shout it from the roof tops! Click to Tweet.
It is more necessary now than ever before to have a community based response to child sexual abuse. Separate from state and federal funding. Inclusive and survivor-led.
We recognize the importance of safe spaces in the lives of survivors of sexual trauma. We do this with the full knowledge that this world is not safe for all survivors. Not yet.
Despite the shaking that has been going on inside my body since Tuesday. Despite my tears and my anxieties. Despite my fears for what may come in the future. Despite my personal devastation.
If you show up for survivors, I promise you that I will always show up. I will always be here.
When given the opportunity to harness your collective will, your combined investments and your healing energy, I will. I will carry it forward and place it directly into the hands of those who need it.
It is our responsibility and our privilege to do this. On really difficult days – and these have been incredibly difficult days – I remind myself that I asked for this opportunity. I had a vision and every day, through my actions, I asked to be standing here doing this work.
We have everything we need to keep fighting because we have already been doing it. You who have donated, volunteered, encouraged, attended, shared. You are here and so am I because we know that our load is about to get heavier. Tonight, you are surrounded by the Firecracker family. If you are comfortable, board members, please stand. Committee Members. Volunteers. If you have questions about how to become more involved, these are the people you need to connect with.
It’s not okay that our load is getting heavier. It’s not. And I am not trying to silver linings you. I promise you I’m not because I’ve wanted to literally punch faces for doing that this week. I’m not gonna lie.
But let me share something that has been helping me keep the faith.
Look around you. We have never had such a big crowd for Soulfire. You sensed that we needed extra hands and hearts. You felt it and you are here. You are here to make sure that the child survivors of sexual trauma in your community and their families have a safe space to heal.
Thank you for helping the Firecracker families fall on soft.
Tashmica ‘Firecracker’ Torok
Founder & Executive Director