In August, I met with Jourdan Buck when she was hosting her Journey to Self Love event. It was there that I asked her if she would be willing to help spread awareness for domestic violence. Without hesitation, she said “Yes.”
At that time, I wasn’t sure what it would look like, or if there would be much interest. We set a date in September for the first of the Stand Up to Domestic Violence event. There, nine survivors came together, some traveling over an hour, to have their photo taken and share their story.
Umbrella stopped by with some information, in case the event brought past trauma to the surface. Amy Ash Nixon, from The Caledonian-Record was there as well and interviewed some of the participants and took some of her own photos.
The day was energizing, and connections were formed. When Jourdan posted the photos that she had taken, and the stories that went along with them, more people began to reach out. We set another date, to include all who wanted to be apart of this project. Others sent their stories by private message and email. Others were not ready to share, but reached out to thank the ones that did.
One October 4th, Amy asked me to call her to talk about the project. She has been running a story every Saturday, featuring a participant from the project. On that call she told me that the publisher of The Caledonian-Record, Todd Smith, wanted to print a special color insert that included the stories and photos.
This was huge. This was the chance to share our stories with thousands of people. The likelihood the paper would fall into the hands of someone that needed to see these stories skyrocketed. My heart raced at the thought. A simple idea, formed in the rain one summer day was turning into a life changing project.
The second photo shoot was scheduled for October 12th, so I said I could have the completed project submitted by Tuesday, October 15th. I spent the week leading up to the event reaching out to all of the people who had expressed an interest in sharing, but had not yet. By Sunday evening, I had 34 stories in hand, most with pictures. Jourdan worked hard getting the photos together, while I put the stories together.
Everything fell into place, and it was completed and ready to be sent to Todd a few hours short of the deadline. This project will be available in the Saturday, October 26th edition of the Caledonian-Record. Please purchase a copy, and keep the project to share with someone who may need to know they are not alone.
I want to thank each survivor who shared their story, and made themselves vulnerable in order to help others. I want to thank Jourdan for her time and talent, and capturing gorgeous photographs of beautiful people. I want to thank Umbrella, for providing support and advocacy to people in the community, and helping people find safety and resources. I want to thank Amy Ash Nixon, for her dedication to Domestic Violence Awareness, and her giant heart and kind soul. I want to thank Todd Smith for his help in making this project become something more than a dream, and for covering the cost of it all, because of his desire to share these important messages.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Together, we have helped at least 34 people find their courage and their voice. We have helped countless others know they are not alone. We have raised awareness of something that usually stays in the dark. Together, we have lit the path to healing.