In January, Sanctuary for Families’ Economic Empower Program held its semi-annual graduation ceremony to celebrate the achievements of 43 gender violence survivors. With friends, family and Sanctuary staff and supporters attending through Zoom, the graduates virtually accepted their diplomas – marking the start of a new stage in both their personal and professional lives.
To honor the occasion the class elected fellow graduates to speak on their behalf. The speeches delivered by “Cristina,” “Desirae,” and “Laura” reflect many of the challenges faced by survivors of gender violence. Follow the links below to read their speeches.
“Cristina”: My past does not define me
“A month before being released and coming home, my lawyer reached out to me and told me about Sanctuary for Families and the Economic Empowerment Program. Learning about EEP was the beginning of me becoming my best self. In the past, all I felt was isolation – now, I feel ready to jump in and take on what the world has to offer me.”
“Desirae”: A reason to keep going
“Someone said that if 2020 was a TV show, it should have been canceled. I ask that we don’t cancel 2020. I understand that the pandemic sucks, the restrictions suck. Many people lost their loved ones to COVID-19, and life, as we are used to, is no longer available. We all are sorrowful for that. But beyond all the despair, I look at the bright side.”
“Laura”: Looking forward to a future of better possibilities
“I would like to congratulate all my classmates for the courage we demonstrated by studying hard, regardless of the emotional pain we were facing. We created a safe virtual community reminding one another, we are strong, intelligent, and deserving.”
All names have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.