What is your role and how long have you been at Sojourner?
I serve as a shelter advocate at Sojourner, working with women and children to recover from abuse and discover their futures. I first served in this role as an intern in fall of 2022, which helped me to gain some beneficial on-the-job experience. I then transitioned into a full-time advocate position in January of 2023.
What other hats have you worn at Sojourner?
I served as an intervention volunteer in the fall of 2022.
What drew you to this work, both at Sojourner and in general?
Unfortunately, I became a gender-based violence survivor myself in 2019 and as I courageously navigated my case through the criminal justice system, I was shocked to learn how much the system and the laws fail survivors. Rather than accept the re-traumatizing treatment by the courts, I responded by getting involved in systems change. I introduced myself to members of a working group who were evaluating the current Minnesota criminal sexual conduct statutes and writing proposals to change them. I joined their mission and testified before three, state legislative committees in February and March of 2021; my testimony helped the proposals get passed into law, updating several statutes to better serve future victim/survivors. Consequently, attorneys and advocates encouraged me to get further involved in the gender-based violence field, so I transitioned my career and here I am!
What other background do you bring with you to your work?
My other passion is the performing arts. I spent twenty-five years performing, as well as educating the next generation of musical theatre performers. My strong interpersonal communication and mentoring skills developed via the arts, and these skills prove imperative to serving as an advocate for survivors. My creativity and research skills enable me to learn about the field, as well as challenge it, all in support of impacting societal change.
What is something about your work that sticks with you?
The opportunity to positively impact others’ lives, all while broadening my own perspectives and growing as a human being.
What is your favorite part about working at Sojourner?
The smaller size of the organization fosters involvement and I have humble, hard-working colleagues willing to help me navigate this new career field.
What do you like to do with your time outside of work?
Exercise, spend time with family and friends, travel, go to the theatre, and sip a glass of wine.
What do you wish people knew about Sojourner that they may not?
I wish the average person realized the sheer need for the advocacy work we do. Society brushes aside the magnitude of gender-based violence until their eyes and hearts open as a result of lived experience. Most people in the Twin Cities have never heard of Sojourner; we need to talk more about gender-based violence, the available services, and the root causes of the issue if change is ever to materialize.