Meet survivor and #Soulfire2014 participant, Patrick Harris. He is currently a Junior at Michigan State University pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. Patrick also serves as a Student Leader for The Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience and as a Programming Board Director for ASMSU.
This is his take on participating in The Firecracker Calendar Project.
There is no use letting my story fade into darkness and silence.
I have shared my story with a small group or individual many times. After which, someone usually responds simply by saying, “Me Too”. I wanted to speak out on a bigger scale. I just didn’t know how.
When my counselor introduced me to The Firecracker Foundation, it was love at first sight. Upon arriving at the actual photo shoot, I was immediately welcomed into a loving community of survivors and creative geniuses and allies. I’m a huge believer in fate. It was fate that the sun was shining, skies were blue and the clouds were perfectly positioned. I remember hiking down the hill to find the perfect spot. It only took three minutes to find us at the bottom of a small cliff where the tall trees positioned the sun to give an enchanted effect.
I posed like Tyra Banks taught me to after watching many seasons of Americas Next Top Model.
The best part after my photo shoot was being able to watch the other survivors complete their own shoots.
I can’t describe how I felt in the moment seeing the strength of other survivors shine through their photo shoots. I felt apart of a community.
Several weeks later, I received the message that it was time for the big reveal of my photo and I was nervous but excited. When the photo was revealed to me, it just screamed POWER.
Not the external power I’d been receiving through my involvement in leadership activities over the years but true internal power. This is something I never thought that I could ever achieve but The Firecracker Foundation helped me to realize that I’m much farther along in my healing process than my mind tells me.
I am a puzzle piece of a bigger picture.
That bigger picture is providing inspiration and help for those who unfortunately have to say, “Me Too” when my story is told. My photo is dedicated to everyone who has to say “Me Too” and I am thankful that my story of tragedy could be used as one of the sparklers to shine light on truth, justice, and healing.
Thank you Firecracker Foundation for allowing me to be a part of this.
No. Thank you, Patrick for sharing your story with us. It is an honor to be trusted with amplifying your voice. You made us all – including our beloved Tyra – proud. ~Firecracker