Joan is a Speaker!
Last Saturday, I spoke at a Domestic Violence Symposium at the Universalist Church in Minneapolis. The event was sponsored by the Association of Universalist Women and my MN National Organization for Women chapter. There were approximately 20 people in attendance, including my husband, sister, one of my cousins and a dear friend.
I spoke about the very things I have been writing about lately: definitions, statistics and criminal justice/legislative issues surrounding domestic violence. The group requested action items – things they could do on a daily basis, locally and nationally – in the area of violence against women. I decided get the audience fired up with this phrase: Wake Up! Kick Ass! Repeat! We talked about how important it is to stay educated on the issue and how mentoring our young women can enrich their lives and help them to be as strong as possible before they enter into an intimate partner relationship. I encouraged everyone to model non-violent ways to solve problems and gave some concrete examples of how to do it. We discussed different ways to volunteer and various groups to join. At the end of this section, I showed the group my new bracelet that has the Wake Up! Kick Ass! Repeat! phrase on it, and we all chanted the phrase out loud. It was a powerful and moving moment for me.
I concluded my presentation by reading an excerpt from my book. A few audience members had tears by the end of the reading, and I admit it was hard for me to get through it without falling apart. But – I did! And, what I know is this: I would not have been able to do it without all of you behind me – whether you were there or not, I could feel you with me, supporting me, cheering me on. It was a pivotal step for me, and for The Best Girl.
The second speaker was Farhio Khalif, who is the founder of the Voice of East African Women. She spoke of the atrocities women and girls experience in her homeland of Somalia, and how some of these traditions have continued as the women immigrated to the United States. Farhio was a dynamic speaker and announced that she recently opened a Domestic Violence shelter in St. Paul. What an inspiration!
Enjoy the photos from the symposium, and please comment below to let me know your thoughts!
If you are a member of a group that would like to have me come and speak, please send me an e-mail via the contact page on my website.