It's Your Turn TO SPEAK
The CFLS Speakers Bureau is a syndicate of women who speak professionally on their lived experiences. Through the Bureau, CFLS provides the necessary support and a platform for survivors of trauma such as domestic violence, human trafficking, and incarceration to learn public speaking skills, progress in their healing journey, and become agents of change.
The CFLS Speakers Bureau is survivor-led, trauma informed, and restorative. Too often, survivors are asked to open up about their lived experience in order to add legitimacy to movements and causes. They are asked to relive their trauma without any support and left uncompensated for their time.
We are intentional about changing this status quo. Members act as consultants and are always paid for their speaking engagements. They decide how and where their stories are shared. Through focus groups and member-led advisory panels, our speakers guide the direction of the Bureau and inform CFLS’s organizational practices and programs. Lastly, we offer speech coaching and moral support as members prepare for engagements, and we facilitate community among each cohort through support groups, a monthly newsletter, and member events.
Effecting Change in Every Corner
CFLS Speakers Bureau members have been featured in a variety of venues. Aaliyah Polite took to the stage with Tedx Talks to talk about going to prison as a young teenager. As a panelist on Race + Justice at the 2019 Atlantic Festival, Sherri Davis shared her experiences of accessing medical care and feminine products during her sentence with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Marlene Aiyejinmi spoke before the DC Judiciary Committee on Police Interaction to share her experiences with police while homeless and dependent on substances. Enidsia Darby-Gill met up with a virtual social justice club to share her experiences of giving birth while in prison. Helenia Bragg stood before a crowd of advocates, policymakers, and service providers to share her journey with addiction and her “revolving-door” incarceration at the Maryland Department of Health’s Regrounding our Response to the Opioid Epidemic Conference. Crystal Marshal shared her recommendations for impactful change for returning citizens with the Reentry Action Network. She also joined Grimaldi Francesca-Sanchez and Beverly Smith as they spoke before the Police Reform Commission.
Our members join the Bureau to transform trauma into positive, impactful change.
The Bureau has informed policy and practice through panel discussions with The HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA); The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness; the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence; and the DC Council. They have opened their lives to law students and social workers-in-training at Catholic University, American University, Georgetown, and the National Association of Social Workers Conference. They have studied as citizen journalists with the One in Four Podcast and produced interviews for its second season. They have interviewed with graduate students working on Capstone projects. They have hosted support groups and relapse prevention, and they have conducted outreach to youth experiencing violence in their communities. Through the power of their stories, they have uplifted others in the DC Jail, Fairview Halfway House, and our nonprofit partners.