Today I’ve been working on my presentation for the Healthy Teen Network Conference in Anaheim on Thursday. But now that I’ve figured out how to get download photos onto this computer from my camera, I wanted to get up the pictures from the Instituto and CLA.
Then, as I was working, I got an e-mail from Liz Bohm, one of the organizers of the event at Instituto Familiar de la Raza in San Francisco’s Mission District. Her description is so evocative. I’ll quote from it in italics below:
These two marvelous women are the executive director of the Instituto, Dr. Estela Garcia, and the founder, Dr. Concha Saucedo. They opened the event with a greeting and with smudging and a Nhuatl prayer to create a sacred space for the proceedings.
“…a beautiful altar ran the length of one whole wall, still up from Dia de los Muertos, with candles, vases full of marigolds, painted skulls, pictures and mementoes of loved ones… As people entered the room they shared good local food, homemade cookies and hot tea… The atmosphere was safe, positive, hopeful, respectful and energetic, and it was created by the healing wisdom of the elders, the brave sharing of the survivors, and the dedication of the organizers, staff and volunteers.”
We really didn’t plan to wear the same outfits! These grinning people are the speakers: me, Arturo Carillo, and Rev Trinity Ordona.
“In sync with the title of the book by Carolyn Lehman, Strong at the Heart: How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse, the emphasis was on how people have come through, have healed and are creating healing for themselves and their families, and are moving on. Carolyn, herself a survivor, talked about her experience of writing these stories of real people, whose personalities, talents and voices came through loud and clear. One interviewee, Arturo, was a guest at the event…
“Watching Arturo stand up and claim his experiences as ‘an important story that needed to be told,’ and then receive respectful, loving affirmation from a male peer made me not only hopeful, but grateful to see and feel the real change happening that will positively affect the root causes of violence…There is more awareness and less silence every day.
“The drumming at the end wove it all together…For me, it felt like we were creating a living rhythm with our hands and voices, where liberation and healing took on new form and vibrated through the room. Release of the old, welcoming the new, acknowledging the pain, joy, connection, our strong heartbeat togeher. Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom. After the event I felt happy, calm and connected and was deeply appreciating the openness and awareness of the people in this city, this community that make an event like this possible…
“I’ve been to other events focused on healing from sexual abuse, but never one where both men and women have come together. It felt so natural, balanced and rich because of this shared experience. It feels like the ‘blind spots’ Carolyn talked about that we have when it comes to rape and sexual violence are getting smaller, and as we come together with all of our eyes, our vision expands, our dialog grows, our voices can get stronger in the presence of each other.”
If I tried to identify everyone in this picture, I’d be sure to get someone’s name wrong. So I will just say that in addition to the people ID-ed above, the others in this photo include Dr. Sal Nunez (the tall guy in the back–he lead the healing drumming), Jennifer Biehn, Sarah Armstrong, Liz Bohm, Brian Lum, Joan Lohman, Paula, and Mario Marquez. Others are from Trinity’s class at City College of San Francisco; they volunteered in many ways including tabling and book sales. Auden Rodriguez, who handled the tech stuff for the night, had to leave before this photo was taken.
And now that I’m on a roll with photos, here’s one of the poster session from the California Library Association conference this weekend. There were ten display tables set up in the Exhibition Hall on Sunday. I was so busy talking with visitors at my own that I never got to see the others.
That’s my friend Joan Berman from Humboldt State University, checking things out just before the poster session started. She helped me set up the display, brought me water (it’s nonstop talking once the session starts) and generally cheered me on as more and more people came to talk with me about the books I’d brought, Strong at the Heart, sexual abuse issues, and collection development. I met some wonderful librarians, authors, and educators and gave out a lot of packets of information on healing books for teens.