Workshop: Virtual Healing Circle for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault

A partnership with Mirror Memoirs
Tuesday, 4/20/2021
7:00 - 8:30
Virtual Library

Online Services
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Mirror Memoirs is hosting a virtual healing circle for survivors of child sexual abuse. The healing circle is facilitated by Mirror Memoirs co-directors, Amita Swadhin and Jaden Fields, and core members, Lilac Vylette Maldonado and Chris Cervantes. This space is a confidential space in which survivors can get grounded in their bodyminds via altar creation, guided meditation, journaling and storytelling practices and can collectively release feelings of grief and invite practices of joy. 

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Amita Swadhin (they/them) is an organizer, educator, storyteller and strategist working to end interpersonal and institutional violence against young people. Their work stems from their experiences as a non-binary, femme, queer person of color, daughter of immigrants from India and years of childhood abuse by their parents, including eight years of rape by their father. In 2016, Swadhin received a Just Beginnings Collaborative Fellowship, allowing them to launch Mirror Memoirs, a national storytelling and organizing project uplifting the narratives, healing and leadership of Two Spirit, transgender, intersex, non-binary and/or queer Black, Indigenous and of color survivors of child sexual abuse, in service of ending rape culture and intertwined forms of oppression. From 2016–2018, they recorded 60 stories from survivors across 15 states in the US, and have presented over 100 trainings and keynotes on this intersectional praxis at colleges, conferences and nonprofits nationwide. In January 2017, they testified on behalf of survivors of sexual violence and LGBTQ Americans as a witness for the Democratic Party against Jeff Sessions’ nomination as the US Attorney General. From 2009 to 2012, Swadhin was the Project Coordinator and a cast member of Secret Survivors, an off-off-Broadway production they co-created with the award-winning Ping Chong & Company, featuring adult survivors of child sexual abuse telling their stories through theater. Swadhin is also a published writer whose work has appeared in the anthologies Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence, Queering Sexual Violence, Pleasure Activism, and Beyond Survival: Stories and Strategies from the Transformative Justice Movement. Over the past twenty years, they have been an executive director, board chair, youth organizer, faculty member and consultant at organizations serving low-income, immigrant and LGBTQ+ communities of color. They hold a Master’s in Public Administration from NYU, where they were a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and a Bachelor’s in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Jaden Fields is an LA-based organizer, cultural worker and educator dedicated to cultivating healing-centered spaces for marginalized communities. Fields is the Co-Director of Mirror Memoirs, an oral history and national organizing project that uplifts the healing and liberation of queer, trans/non-binary, intersex, Black, Indigenous and people of color (QTIBIPOC) who are survivors of child sexual abuse. In his work with Mirror Memoirs, Fields is a survivor storyteller and has played a pivotal role in co-designing Mirror Memoirs’ strategic vision, programs and structure. He is the newly appointed Equity Director for the Association for Size Diversity and Health. His work within grassroots and nonprofit organizations has included designing and leading programs for trans folks to access health services, training government agencies to better serve transgender people, participatory action research and policy advocacy at the city, county and state level. Jaden was an inaugural member of the Los Angeles Transgender Advisory Council, a 2017 California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Fellow, 2019 Echoing Green finalist and a class of 2021 Women’s Foundation California Women’s Policy Institute Fellow. Fields self-published his first poetry chapbook, Intentional Musings on Staying Alive When I Want To Die (2019), an honest depiction of navigating mental health and systemic oppression. Connect - Instagram | Linkedin

Lilac Vylette Maldonado (she/they) is a community organizer and culture worker who identifies as a sick & disabled, neurodivergent, Two-Spirit, Chicanx femme. She has been actively organizing since 2009 around many intersectional social justice issues such as racial justice, gender justice, disability justice, LGBTQIA+ issues and body autonomy and acceptance. They are an avid zinester who has written and created artwork for various academic and social justice-themed DIY booklets. She is a co-founding member of and logistics coordinator for the Los Angeles Spoonie Collective, a grassroots disability justice group connecting disabled activists and artists to community organizing and education opportunities. They are also a part of the education team at the Fireweed Collective, an organization offering mental health education and mutual aid through a healing justice lens.

Chris Cervantes (they/them) is a queer, non-binary Latinx Associate Social Worker. They studied at the University of Chicago where they focused on direct practice with an emphasis in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and family systems interventions. With a commitment to social justice centered therapy, Cervantes sought out additional learning opportunities and mentoring to specialize in anti-oppressive and trauma-responsive approaches to relationship building and service provision. Currently, Cervantes works as a Mental Health Clinician in Skid Row, serving individuals with co-occurring experiences of mental illness and incarceration. In their previous work as a Behavioral Health Clinician at a community clinic in South LA, they facilitated Seeking Safety, support group for transgender and gender nonconforming youth coping with trauma and substance abuse. They have also supported the healing journeys of individuals with experiences of community violence, complex trauma, intimate partner violence, mood disorders, and gender and sexual minorities. Cervantes is passionate about helping others name their experiences and shift the stories of their lives.

Mirror Memoirs is an oral history project centering the narratives, healing and leadership of LGBTQ survivors of color in the movement to end child sexual abuse.

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