Tag Archives: Community

Respond to the Dear Sister Anthology with Your Own Work!

The book trailer is finished! Take a look here for the video with an invitation to submit your own response to the Dear Sister Anthology in either word or clip!

Here are your options:

1. Write a piece for this website!  Submit a letter (no more than 1000 words) to dearsisteranthology@gmail.com.  You can use links, photos, poetry, or any creative nonfiction style to express hope and strength about survival.  The central focus is on hope, no re-telling of trauma, so be sure to center your work on what you would another survivor to know.

2. Submit a video response, or a creative work using film.  Use the tag on Vimeo or YouTube (Dear Sister) or if you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #DearSister.  Videos should be no longer than 1 minute and we encourage you to be as creative as possible!  Tell a story, share a poem, sing a song, express your hope, create a slideshow, explore animation or other film artistry to tell your uplifting message.

Other ways to support the anthology:

-Buy the book!  Gift it to yourself, a friend, a stranger.  Leave it in coffee shops, waiting areas of gas stations, dentist offices, or on a park bench.  Donate it to local coalitions, non profits, your local library.  Circulatethe work and make sure it gets to the places where it needs to go.  It’s available at AK Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

-Give it a review! (We’re sure it’ll be a great one, of course 🙂 ) Go on Amazon, GoodReads, or Barnes and Noble and rate it with comments.  Tell others how it was helpful and why they should read it.

-Use it in book clubs!  April is sexual assault awareness month, but you don’t need a specific time to talk about issues of power, relationships, healing, and justice.  The editor of the anthology, Lisa Factora-Borchers, can also SKYPE into one of your meetings to talk about the genesis of the project and contribute to your group discussion.

-Circulate the news on social media!  Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Four Square to spread the news about this collection.  Got a blog?  Write a review of the book, or tell people what you think about it.  Write an Op-Ed for your local paper about what you think the community needs to do to better address issues of healing and safety for survivors in your community.

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Stopping to Remember What It’s All About

screen-shot-2013-08-20-at-9-46-51-am.pngIt’s hard to believe that all the work that has gone into this book will shortly be unveiled in a matter of weeks. The contributors’ voices and bravery to write, edit, and share their hope reminds me everyday that this book will go where it most needs to be: into the hands of survivors and into the hearts of their communities.

Two weeks ago, I was inundated with tasks to ready for the release. In preparing for a national book tour and also for local launch party, the To Do list rapidly morphed into an anxiety provoking reminder of all the work that needs to be done.

One morning, I went to research a local space for the Cleveland launch and met with a restaurant manager who owns the funky urban space I was eyeing. He was from Ireland and landed in Cleveland by way of New York and after going through the details of space and timing of the event, asked me what the book was about.

I took a breath, bracing myself for the typical raised eyebrow and silence that has usually met my response when I say, “It’s an anthology by survivors of sexual violence, written for other survivors and their communities.”

But this man was different. He dropped his arms, calmly placed one hand over the other and lowered his voice, “You know,” he shook his head sadly, “I’ve been working in restaurants for all my life. I treat my staff respectfully and I like to have a relationship with them. I’ve learned to listen and some of their stories, especially from the girls on staff, are just…” He shook his head.

I nodded, knowing where he was going.

He looked like he was trying to understand something beyond his or our realm of understanding, “There were just so many of them who told me that THAT had happened to them.”

“They were survivors.”

“Yes. They are survivors.”

It reminded me why this book is so powerful. It reminded me that these small wonderful details are necessary tracks to lay before the power dialogues can begin. Survivors are everywhere. Listeners are everywhere.

Now we just need to connect.

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The Sisterhood of Trauma: Sandy Hook, Violence, and Community Support

There’s a saying, “none of us are free until we’re all free.”

I’ve been thinking about that a lot.  And how the blood spilled from the victims of Sandy Hook elementary seems to have spilled onto the entire conscience of the western world causing high emotions, panic, and parental hysteria.

And it’s all appropriate.

Hundreds of miles away on at 9:35am on Friday, I looked at the time and thought, “It’s just past 9:30am.  What a beautiful open day in front of me.  I wonder what is happening in other parts of the world at this moment.”

Later that night, when I turned on the news, I found out what was happening at 9:35am.

Language exists to communicate, but there also must be understanding that communication does not guarantee perfect specificity of the meaning.  During times of such profound torment and suffering, there are no language skills, words, or even poems to describe the horror of Sandy Hook.  There are no words.

One might read this and wonder what it has to do with sexual violence.  What does the Dear Sister Anthology have to do with any of this?

The anthology is about community and love, engagement and addressing fear.  The anthology explores violence and oppression, cultural patterns that allow rape and violence to thrive in our communities.  How is it not connected to Sandy Hook?  How are we not all impacted by violence on such a large, horrific scale?  Rape survivors are never free from their trauma, the memories linger for the rest of their lives.  The victims’ families will endure a pain no one can walk alone and, like survivors of any trauma, must lean on community to move forward.

No one is free until we are all free.

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