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Wednesday
Dec112013

Saying Goodbye to Ming Chang, Women's Center Coordinator

Back in 2008 I was a little lost. I was finishing a Theatre Education degree and approached the Director of the Cambridge Women's Center to see if she could help. I knew I wanted to work with other survivors of sexual abuse and do something artistic and kind of radical. I just didn't know what exactly. I met Ming Chang on the first floor of the Center on a crisp spring day. She shook my hand and gave me a warm smile with a twinkle in her eye. The Center was calm, some women were cooking in the kitchen. We went to her office and sat down at the table together, with the light streaming in through the window. Over the next hour, Ming and I talked about healing, the arts, women's space, obstacles to recovery, social change, and much more.....Ming was a match sparking all kinds of new ideas and thoughts about what I wanted to do in my own healing, and in my life. Since that day, Ming has been a steadfast support, cheerleader, work horse, and anchor for not only my project but for so many other women connected to the Women's Center. I honestly don't know how she has kept it all together and been so energizing time and time again. Ming, you've been a champion for Survivor Theatre Project, and a hero and mentor for me. Thank you so much, and I wish you all the best.  - Melissa Redwin

 

Survivor Theatre Project and the Women's Educational Center community give a hearty welcome to NEW Women's Center Coordinator: Cho Salma Win. Cho comes to us with a recent background in union organizing, both in the medical field with the Committee of Interns and Residents and also with the ACLU of PA, where she served as Interim Project Director for the Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project. In addition, she worked as a Program Coordinator for the Alzheimer's Association. Cho has a Masters of Social Work degree with specialization in program coordination.

 

Tuesday
Nov262013

Celebrating the Bright Tiger by Melissa Redwin & Cynthia Mochowski

Earlier this year, Survivor Theatre Project lost our first survivor/artist. Elisabeth Ann Morrison of Cambridge, Massachusetts died on April 10, 2013. Elisabeth joined Survivor Theatre Project in 2010 to create and perform Memories of Trees, a play based on stories of women survivors of sexual abuse. Elisabeth took her own life at the age of 56.  As members of STP we are deeply saddened by her sudden departure and we join her family and friends to celebrate her many accomplishments.

 

Elisabeth Morrison was a Buddhist, a social activist, and a lover of dogs and cats. She was a member of the first Dartmouth College class to include women. After graduation, she moved to Cambridge and took up union organizing with office workers at Boston University.  She received her law degree from Northeastern Law School. Her primary focus as an attorney was the welfare of abused children. Elisabeth’s Buddhist daily practice grounded and sustained her life-long efforts to relieve suffering and make the world a better and kinder place.

 

Survivor Theatre project alumna Antonieta Gimeno remembers Elisabeth:

“Elisabeth lived her life as a warrior. She did not allow herself to be defined by mental illness, but by her deep sense of justice, integrity, compassion and love. Her sweet and gentle spirit was always a reminder, particularly for those of us who live with depression and trauma, that life is an opportunity in the face of pain and challenges. Her presence always reminded me of a gentle and clear pool of water where I could reflect my own life. We love you and honor you Elisabeth.”

 

Elisabeth did not share very much about her trauma history during our theatre process together, but I believe she found in STP a place to be herself, to be wacky and outlandish, and to creatively express her values and hopes for a world based in respect, love and peace. We will remember most her keen sensitivity to others, her soulful wit, her vulnerability, and her serene and dynamic poetry performances. Elisabeth will remain beloved to those of us at STP, and we will continue to be inspired by our “Bright Tiger.”


Bright beautiful tiger

beckoning Little Beth and Elisabeth:

summon up even more bravery

by believing in yourself      - Elisabeth Morrison

 

If you wish to honor Elisabeth’s life with a gift, friends and family would appreciate donations to SGI-USA in Elisabeth Morrison’s name, to Boston Community Center of SGI-USA, 930 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston 02215.

 

UNDERSTANDING THE AFTERMATH

 

Victims of sexual assault are:

3 times more likely to suffer from depression.

6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

26 times more likely to abuse drugs.

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

These and many more statistics can be found at:  http://www.rainn.org.


More research is desperately needed to understand how deeply connected childhood sexual abuse, sex trafficking, ritual abuse, incest and other types of sexual violence are linked to suicide. More safe spaces are needed in social services for those people who have extreme traumatic abuse histories. Survivors of extreme abuse are often silenced and isolated in support groups and survivor spaces, when other survivors become unable to hear to their stories. Where can they go? Where can they be heard and understood?

 

If you are interested in working with Survivor Theatre Project in creating performances that build awareness around sexual abuse and violence, please contact us!  survivortheatreproject@gmail.com

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