11 Jan And we still rise…
Now did you want to see me broken / Bowed head and lowered eyes / Shoulders fall down like tear drops / Weakened by my soulful cries / You may shoot me with your words / You may cut me with your eyes / And I’ll rise / I’ll rise / I’ll rise rise rise - I’ll rise, by Ben Harper
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. 2020 has been challenging and has disproportionately impacted vulnerable communities, especially survivors of trafficking. However, if you want to know what Empower Her Network stands for, hum the above song in your head and read below.
But still, they rise.
Empower Her Network finished out 2020 with 143 survivors in the network. Survivors of trafficking may be the most resilient humans on the planet. Here’s why:
- In March, a seamstress, and NYC alumni, spent her “extra” time making masks for her fellow New Yorkers and handed them out.
- In April, a member in Atlanta got Covid-19. Two weeks later, she got pneumonia. Her Advocate left a message, and a board member sent her books she had been looking to read during her recovery. Her quote in April, “Thank you, EHN, for being there and assisting me through this.” Her outlook was upbeat the entire time.
- In June, a Baltimore member secured a traveling home health aid job after being in a temp agency. During the pandemic, she was determined to find a career that made the most sense to support herself and work toward being more financially secure.
- In July, while working FT, a California member pursued writing a financial literacy book for survivors to give to the movement and help more survivors.
- In August, a Connecticut member pursued her security guard card to secure a more viable living wage.
- In September, a Chicago member got a higher paid job as a cashier … while maintaining a full-time caseload of undergraduate classes. She said, “I finally feel like all the pieces of me, and my life is falling in place.”
- In October, a Tampa member finished cosmetology school and secured stable housing with the help of EHN.
- In November, an Ohio member got custody of her kids and completed training for her recovery peer support specialist as part of her Empowerment Plan.
- In December, a Portland member passed her HR Certification as part of her Empowerment Plan and has started interviewing for new jobs.
So while the world continues to make things more difficult for survivors, it’s also time to be inspired. Despite the trauma, despite the pandemic, despite the poverty and exploitation – Our work together continues.
Out of the shacks of history's shame / Up from a past rooted in pain / I'll rise / I'll rise / I'll rise, rise, rise - I’ll rise, by Ben Harper
Empower Her Network on 2020