Ampersand staff, board and supporters,
As we have recently heard the news that our president’s arrival in town for a speaking engagement in Richmond may have an impact on how our event runs on Saturday night, it feels important to acknowledge this and to get on the same page in our response. We are preparing for many contingencies including but not limited to travel delays, possible security checkpoints and measures, as well as the possibility that some or all of this may be triggering to our supporters. Our goal is to celebrate this night and refuse to allow perpetrators to take center stage as we do.
But, this moment is complex. In light of so much recent media and political attention to the issue of sexual violence, seeing on our televisions and our newsfeeds, in our conversations and our dreams the revictimization and shaming and blaming of victims, this can be a heavy time to be a survivor and to work in this field. It is hard to unplug, to unwind, to find and carve out space for whatever safety and self-care look like for us individually and collectively. This imposition and inconvenience related to our event may cause you to be sad, enraged, tired, or energized. All of those feelings are so right and so normal.
That also makes it all the more important for us to remind ourselves that we are in this together, to love and support one another and the survivors who trust us to join in their journeys as well as those who don’t speak about their experiences. It is an important time to acknowledge that so many of “us” are also “them” and to acknowledge the toll this can take on us as humans, as survivors, as advocates and allies.
We approach this work daily, managing our own feelings and responses to the difficult realities presented to us. We are people who know how to turn our own rage and sadness into unflinching support for survivors. We do this every day as we answer the support line, show up at the hospital, sit with survivors’ stories, talk to other professionals who work with survivors, and as we present to classrooms full of youth and adults. Saturday night is no different. We have the opportunity to show up for survivors and ourselves, for our agency and our mission, refusing to let perpetrators and politicians set the tone or dictate the discourse.
So, on Saturday night, we will gather and celebrate. We will remember that joy and revelry in this instance is subversive and a revolutionary act in itself.
If you have other needs or suggestions, just ask and share. And let’s have a ridiculous amount of fun on Saturday! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns about Saturday’s event.