Tashmica “Firecracker” Torok
(she, her, hers)
As a Black survivor of childhood rape and incest, Tashmica has spent much of her life asking, “What kinds of interventions could have prevented the harm and violence of sexual abuse that she endured as a child?”
Born stargazing to a white mother from the midwest and a Black father from the Bronx by way of the south, Tashmica was raised an Army brat in the border town of El Paso, Texas. Her hometown is situated next to Fort Bliss, a military base occupying stolen + unceded Muscalero Apache and Tigwe land.
It was there — standing at the edge of vast differences — that Tashmica gained the uncanny ability to see the possibilities of the in-between spaces.
Tashmica was raised and schooled in community with evangelical Christians and missionaries in the Bible Belt. These would be the first people she would disclose her experiences of child sexual abuse to. They were also the first people to use bad theology to shape her relationship with healing, forgiveness, gender, and sexuality. She spent her formative years singing in worship bands, serving those living in the ‘colonias’, and going to Christian camps causing her to spend much of her adult life journeying towards spiritual liberation by deconstructing harmful and oppressive theology while also healing from the impact of religious trauma.
When Tashmica was a little girl, her father bought her a telescope, a glow in the dark star map, and spent time taking her to the desert to stargaze where it was easy to trap and abuse her. A weaver of impactful stories, she launched TFF at an event called Stargazing where she invited her community to help her reclaim the stars. Together, they began building a nonprofit organization that worked to honor the bravery of children who had experienced sexual abuse by building a community invested in their whole being.
The Firecracker Foundation was based on ideas inspired by her own experiences and a desire to provide her community with a healing-centered response to child sexual abuse (CSA). As the organization’s lead conjurer of resources, she uses her gifts to incite riots of generosity that have resulted in more than a million dollars in financial investments and countless hours of volunteer service. The foundation is now a vibrant organization that serves as a model of what is achievable through community-based, grassroots organizing that is survivor-led, trauma-informed and focused on healing as the main priority for youth and their families.
This would not be the last time that Tashmica would alchemize painful memories into healing rituals for herself and others. She is recognized as a trusted and creative healer guided by the emerging needs and collective wisdom of those wounded by the harms of violence, oppression, and white supremacy.
In 2015, Tashmica was honored to become a member of the inaugural cohort of Just Beginnings Collaborative where she was introduced to a beautifully diverse community of survivors from across the nation. It was there that her questions eventually propelled her toward the values of transformative justice and abolition. She is an inquisitive collector of knowledge and considers books her comfort items.
As an abolitionist, Tashmica is cultivating her community’s ability to imagine, build, and maintain ways to intervene on acts of violence without relying on police, prisons or other state institutions as a path toward ending state-sanctioned violence against the Black and brown people we serve. These efforts include projects like the Transformative Justice Parenting Network and the Reimagining Transformative Community Services Project that convenes mainstream, white-led organizational leaders and advocates within the domestic violence (DV)/sexual violence (SV) institutional movement to explore and disrupt their relationship and complicity with the state.
She wholeheartedly believes that relieving the threat of violence from the carceral state and community-based responses to violence will create pathways for those causing harm to seek help, practice accountability, and end generational cycles of violence.
While Tashmica has served on several local, state, and national committees and boards working within interdisciplinary teams, in this season of her life, she is excited to focus her work on the local level. A relentless truth teller, she is often involved in cross-movement acts of resistance because as Fannie Lou Hamer taught us, “Nobody’s free until everybody is free.”
Tashmica is joyfully disruptive. She leads with levity, laughter, and a mother wit that allows her to deliver challenging concepts and practices with humor and ease. She adds a level of mischief and playfulness to every room she encounters.
When Tashmica is not visioning, cultivating, and facilitating her own heart work, she is raising the free people in her home, playing in her garden, helping leaders build their own dreams, and teaching and modeling how to create safe(r) spaces for all.
Visit www.tashmicatorok.com for more information or follow her on Tiktok @Tashmica_ for an inside look at what she’s growing – in her garden and in her work.
CoDirector + Operations Manager
(she, her, hers)
Carolyn was born a white settler in Cheyenne territory in the foothills of Colorado. She is a practical challenger of ideas, nature lover and nurturer who recently relocated her family to the mountains of North Carolina, making her our first fully-remote colleague.
After earning BAs in Sociology, Anthropology and Women’s Studies from the tiniest of midwestern liberal arts colleges, Carolyn spent 15 years living and working in intentional communities in Chicago.
Her work centered historically marginalized communities including those with developmental disabilities in the L’Arche community and those coping with mental illness, trauma and homelessness at Leland House. It was within these intentional communities that Carolyn learned the transformative value of reciprocal relationships and the necessity of sharing accountability, grief and joy in everyday life.
Carolyn then spent a year working for an organization called Alternatives, which used circus arts as an entry point for Restorative Justice in Chicago public schools. There, she gained firsthand knowledge that if we are to ever find a way forward, it will be rooted in the strength of community, authentic connection and the power of deep listening.
In 2017 Carolyn met Tashmica in a bar to talk about bringing her baby goats to a TFF yoga class and the rest, as they say, was history. Driven by her passion for economic justice and the practical choice to pursue a degree in accounting, she jumped at the chance to become TFF’s bookkeeper and general administrator. She stepped into the role of CoDirector in 2020 alongside Tara Scott-Miller and Founding CoDirector, Tashmica Torok where she continues her ongoing work of dismantling the white supremacy she was cultured into from birth and remantling with possibility, joy and hope for a different world.
Carolyn’s office magic still keeps paychecks and parties flowing while relishing the challenges of curating healing justice spaces with her fellow CoDirectors.
CoDirector + SIS Program Director
(she, her, hers)
Tara Scott-Miller is an ancestor-guided and liberation-minded radical Black unschooling mama to a 10-year old ray of light. An alum of New York University, Tara explored the intersections of race, gender, culture, media and psychology during her undergraduate studies and later received her M.A. from Tisch School of the Arts.
But Spirit is her first language.
For the past 14 years, Tara has followed the deep call to bridge her holy curiosity in cognition and behavior to the spiritual foundations of mindfulness — immersing herself in the study and practice of collective healing. She is an experienced meditation teacher, founder of a contemplative community, and a curator of transformative, sacred spaces dedicated to justice, liberation and healing practices — whether in private rituals, spiritual direction sessions, or communal gatherings.
Discovering an organic alignment between her facilitation of spiritual development and the frameworks of Healing Justice + Transformative Justice, Tara has designed numerous workshops on embodied awareness practices; hosted community-based dialogues for MSU’s Project 60/50; presented healing justice sessions at the Allied Media Conference; launched her healing justice project, radical bodhicitta, and led Quaker and Buddhist communities through this intensive inquiry-and-discernment model; co-facilitated workshops on health equity and social justice for a local public health organization; helped to seed the first Transformative Justice cohort in her community; and continues to develop her knowledge, capacity and skills in service of intersectional justice and abolitionist teaching.
In September 2019, when Tara was recruited to join The Firecracker Foundation as the Program Director for Sisters In Strength, she immediately recognized the opportunity as an expansion of her vocation and an extension of her soul’s call to cultivate legacy work. Affectionately known to her colleagues as the “Kween of Pump Da Breaks” (and most likely to be heard asking, “Have you factored in time to transition + rest?”), Tara brings her spirit of “radical bodhicitta” to the organizational mission of building a community invested in the holistic healing of children and teens who are survivors of sexual trauma and gender-based violence(s).