Shelter to Shelter gives voice to those who must remain hidden to protect their lives, but whose voices of resiliency in the face of violence, can change lives.
There are over 2500 shelters for survivors of domestic violence in the United States. They are critical to protect the lives and identity of women and children who are escaping abuse.
The Shelter to Shelter tour travels to shelters and safe houses across the United States bringing the Traveling Postcards workshop to more rural and isolated communities. We also travel to Native American women living on reservations who experience 2.5 times more violence than any other group in the U.S. We reach out to LGBT communities, refugees and undocumented immigrants. Domestic violence affects all of us.
The Traveling Postcards workshop is an opportunity for every woman we meet, to share her collective wisdom while also creating an intimate hand- made piece of art that becomes a portrait of her authentic self. The cards are beautiful and the creative process allows for much needed healing as well as a connection to a global community of women who care about ending violence against women
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Domestic violence affects everyone–people of every race, class, religion, and gender. It disproportionately affects women, specifically women of color.
In the summer of 2013, we launched our first drive across the United States (over 8,000 miles). From California to Wyoming, Kansas, Illinois, West Virginia, and Texas and beyond, my partner and I drove hundreds of miles each day, stayed in motels and campgrounds and then hosted workshops at 11 shelters in eleven states. Our hope was to reach women who are often isolated and who would be willing to share their stories of resiliency after recovering from years of abuse. Each safe house we visited provided housing, counseling, legal advocacy and education to their clients, many of whom are younger than 30. We interviewed every director and were happy to tour the facilities and learn as much as we could about their ongoing program needs.
Each card created became a gift of compassion and solidarity that will be sent to another woman who lives in a shelter and will know that she is not alone. Workshops always began with a sharing of personal stories and an acknowledgment of gratitude for the refuge the shelter provided. Many were pregnant, and had left their communities with only their children.
I watched over and over again as women opened their hearts and saw that their voices had value and meaning. Each woman shared her struggle and her resiliency through the creative process and was proud to finally place her finished Traveling Postcard in the symbolic suitcase that would carry her voice to the next survivor.
Please visit our Shelter to Shelter website to read all the stories, hear audio clips and see all the great photos of our trip!