Survivor Empowerment – Stepping into Our Power & Voice
Judith Herman wrote Trauma and Recovery, “Trauma robs the victim of a sense of power and control over her own life; therefore, the guiding principle of recovery is to restore power and control to the survivor.” Whatever the stage of trauma recovery we are in, having power and control in own lives will help reverse the impact of trauma. We don’t have the power always to bring our abusers to justice, however, we do have power to choose what and who we will be defined by.
As a Weinstein survivor, Louise knows what it is to be defined by the actions of our abuser. But we are so much more than our trauma histories – we are parents, siblings, activists, artists, community members, advocates… Louise will talk about Echo’s work and why we decided to make this conference a celebration of the power and voice we have both individually and as a community of survivors.
Before her career in human services, Louise worked in commercials production in Europe, then moved to Hollywood in 1991 and joined Propaganda Films. After becoming disenchanted with the entertainment industry (Harvey Weinstein had a lot to do with that!) she worked in a homeless shelter and then as an outreach worker for an HIV prevention program in South LA. Later, she was retained by UC Berkeley to provide statewide technical assistance for alcohol and drug programs. In the 10 years before joining Echo, she worked with foundations, local government and innumerable nonprofits, providing assistance with strategic planning and program evaluation.
During her 10 year career with Echo, Louise has grown the agency to become a thought-leader in survivor empowerment and trauma-informed practice. She created Echo’s trauma and resilience curricula and the infographics that now have worldwide distribution. Since coming forward in October 2017 about Weinstein, Louise has conducted trainings for sexual assault survivors and silence breakers in the entertainment industry and given TV and press interviews internationally on the topic of trauma and resilience. She is now working on a ‘Do No Harm’ series of workshops to shift toxic workplace culture.
Gender Violence & Women of Color
This powerful presentation will encourage participants to think about the complexity of silence breaking and the necessity of creating an equitable environment for all survivors of sexual violence – especially those from historically marginalized groups. It is an affirming, empowering acknowledgement of the challenges survivors face when coming forward, as well as a call to action for participants to reframe their thoughts around race, class, and the systematic way social movements exclude women of color.
Sil Lai Abrams is a National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) award-winning writer, inspirational speaker, and anti-domestic violence activist. Her passionate belief in the transformative power of greater self-awareness and personal accountability is the motivating force behind her work to help end violence against women and girls.
Sil Lai is the founder of Truth In Reality, a media advocacy organization committed to changing the way that women of color and violence are portrayed in the media. Through digital advocacy, public awareness campaigns and educational programs she aims to change society’s acceptance of relational violence and ultimately reduce its incidence in the Black community.
Sil Lai has provided commentary on ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, FOX, BET, Court TV, and TruTV on relationships, sexual violence, media representation, and domestic violence, and been featured in national magazines such as Modern Woman, Oprah, Redbook, EBONY, Black Enterprise, and ESSENCE. Her inspirational life story and practical spiritually-based advice has helped Sil Lai become a highly sought after public speaker and workshop facilitator, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Medical Association, Harvard University, and Dress for Success being just a few of the distinguished organizations that have used her speaking services. She has also been featured in Pine-Sol’s “Powerful Difference” campaign, a national cause marketing effort that celebrates women making a positive difference in their communities.
Out of the Shadows and Into The Light: Uncovering the Ugly Truth and Forging the Way Forward
In the fall of 2017 and since then, millions of people across the globe disclosed the widespread sexual violence against them, supported and empowered by the disclosures of the brave #SilenceBreakers. Women across all walks, from the least visible to the most visible, were among them. People en masse were encouraged to speak their truths. However, little was known about what was next or the way forward following these disclosures. Activist Mónica Ramírez will shed light on what this watershed moment meant for migrant women and other low paid workers, the consequences and opportunities that come from speaking out and the ways in which communities can help support survivors long after the cameras have gone away and the social media posts have been forgotten.
Mónica Ramírez is a long-time advocate, organizer, and attorney fighting to eliminate gender-based violence and secure gender equity. For over two decades, she has fought for the civil and human rights of women, children, and immigrants.
In 2003, Mónica created the first legal project in the United States dedicated to addressing gender discrimination against farmworker women, which she later expanded to create Esperanza: The Immigrant Women’s Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2014, Mónica founded Justice for Migrant Women to provide technical assistance to lawyers, advocates, political leaders and law enforcement on addressing workplace sexual violence, as well as other issues confronting migrant women. She is also a co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (The National Farmworker Women’s Alliance), which is the first national farmworker women’s organization in the US.
In November 2017, Mónica wrote a letter to women in the entertainment industry on behalf of Alianza that was published in TIME magazine and has been credited with helping to spark the TIME’S UP movement. In 2018, she attended the Golden Globes with Laura Dern as a part of the TIME’S UP action. Mónica is a leader in efforts to build a cross sector movement to end workplace sexual violence. She has also been recognized as a prominent voice in advancing the rights of low-paid workers, immigrants and women in the United States.
Mónica has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work, including Harvard Kennedy School’s inaugural Gender Equity Changemaker Award, the Feminist Majority’s Global Women’s Rights Award, and Forbes Mexico included her on its 2018 list of 100 Powerful Women, among other recognitions. In November 2018, she was awarded the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award for Social Progress on behalf of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas for the “Dear Sisters” letter and their role in the TIME’S UP movement.
Dating & Intimacy After Trauma
Many people find their ability to connect and form intimate relationships altered following interpersonal trauma. Trauma survivors often report a decrease in relationship satisfaction, along with impaired expression of emotion, sexual activity, intimacy, communication, and adjustment. This workshop will provide an overview of the emotional, psychological and social impact of interpersonal trauma on dating and forming intimate connections. Strategies will be given to assist in identifying and processing damaging and destructive relational behaviors in order to reconstruct healthier relationships.
Erica Holmes, PsyD is Core Faculty and the Director of the Psychological Trauma Studies Specialization in the Master’s in Psychology program at Antioch University Los Angeles and Executive Director of Champion Counseling Center at Faithful Central Bible Church and the founder of HOMMs Consulting. Since 2001, Dr. Holmes has provided psychotherapy and counseling, training and consultation, education and research services to individuals and organizations for over 20 year.
Dr. Holmes is a frequent invited speaker at local, national and international conferences and events. Her areas of inquiry and more than 150 presentations focus on psychological trauma, relationships and coupling, insight and empowerment, psychotherapy with African American clients and the integration of Christianity and Psychology.
Her recently released book, Dating with Purpose: A Single Woman’s Guide to Escaping No Man’s Land has been met with great enthusiasm and positive reviews.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with a minor in Behavioral Science from California State University Dominguez Hills, as well as, a Master’s degree and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. Further, Dr. Holmes holds post graduate certifications in the Psychology of Trauma from Antioch University and Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. She is an American Psychological Association Minority Fellow and past board member for the Los Angeles chapter of the Association of Black Psychologist.
Challenging the System: Defining a New Pathway Toward Survivor Centered Justice
Alison Turkos is a sexual assault survivor and advocate fighting for systemic change.
Whether it’s through telling her story publicly, working behind the scenes with organizations and companies, or filing litigation to hold systems accountable, Alison centers and lifts up survivor voices and pushes the narrative to be more survivor-centric.
Alison has been an activist for change for over a decade, from organizing NYC’s first SlutWalk in 2011 to live tweeting her IUD insertion in an effort to demystify the process for others to leading chants on the steps of the Supreme Court fighting for abortion access in 2016.
As an outspoken survivor of sexual assault, she has fought to challenge the systems that further harm and silence survivors. During the 2018 Congressional confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, she joined thousands of protesters in the halls of Congress and personally confronted Joe Manchin about his expected vote to confirm a perpetrator of sexual assault to the nation’s highest court.
After Alison was kidnapped by a Lyft driver and raped in 2017, she refused to stay silent about how system after system failed her and so many other survivors. On January 31st, 2019 she filed a lawsuit against the New York Police Department because of the callous disregard and negligence she was met with when reporting her sexual assault. The following September, she filed another lawsuit—this time against the rideshare company Lyft, for continuously dismissing her story and refusing to take any meaningful action to make their platform safer.
“I do not believe there is one pathway to justice. I believe sometimes you have to work within a system to change the system. And sometimes you need to tear the system down and rebuild it,” says Alison.
Alison has been interviewed about her experiences and her work to hold systems accountable across dozens of national news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, CBS This Morning, New York Magazine’s podcast The Cut on Tuesdays, The Huffington Post, ABC News, and NBC News.
In addition to her advocacy for sexual assault survivors, Alison works in the reproductive health, rights, and justice field. Currently working to increase access to abortion and contraception in the US and Latin America, she also serves on the advisory committee of the All* Above All Action Fund. She previously worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood of New York City, and served on the board of the New York Abortion Access Fund.
Alison was born and raised in Vermont, graduated college in New Hampshire, and has lived in New York City for 10 years.
Collective Art Piece: Breaking the Soundproof Glass, Single Voices Connected Together as One
In my own journey and healing process marking events and working through memories or feelings with physical activities and art has helped me to begin to trust my voice, tell my story, and ground and value my experience. We come together as many different voices but all of us are vital. Joining together, during these two days, and in participating together in this art piece, we value and make this commitment to ourselves and one another. We will come together in ways of our individual choosing, to create a collective piece of art which commemorates and celebrates both our individual voices and our magnificent collective voice, breaking down the invisible walls put in place that have kept survivors apart and in silence. We celebrate our rising, our resiliency and the power and bonds we hold together. We break the soundproof glass that has meant to keep us small and alone.
Tania Culver Humphrey grew up in the public eye in the world of Humanitarian Aid and Christian charity but lived a secret life defined by abuse. Her father, Ellsworth Culver, a leading diplomat and celebrated humanitarian, was co-founder and President of Mercy Corps, a world-renowned charity. He also was a serial pedophile. Tania was sexually abused and a victim of child pornography from preschool through high school at the hands of her father.
Tania came forward publicly in a story and documentary entitled “No Mercy” published in October 2019 by the Oregonian/OregonLive. Her story created a massive fallout of resignations at Mercy Corps and was a wake-up call to humanitarian aid organizations around the world who bear a unique and crucial responsibility to keep safe those who are vulnerable. Tania has called on organizations – including educational systems – to own this responsibility and courageously take the lead in true accountability, creating new bold policies and cultural shifts that will ensure safety and the prevention of sexual assault and exploitation.
Tania holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Lewis and Clark College. Tania loves to write and paint, and often uses those as ways to process and heal and enjoys sharing her work. Inspired by working with trauma survivors while teaching art, Tania created her Leaping Heart Studio art classes with a mission of building self-confidence, joy and value in our personal creative voice. She believes that when we learn to value our voice we can tell our stories. Tania holds fast that all voices matter – survivors and bystanders alike – and that embracing this truth brings great hope and power.
Break Free & Build Your Dreams
From MeToo survivor to Grammy nominee: Nomi Abadi’s workshop is about bringing dreams into fruition and turning pain into success. Women will use their resourcefulness and passion to overcome external forces and internal obstacles, and optimize the space they fill in the world as they take the steps to build a career from what they love most… Even a most wild wish from childhood that seems impossible! We will discuss drive, organization skills, mental clarity/clearing out unproductive energy, finances, creating a support system, and leadership.
Turning Your Pain into Passion & Purpose
Jessica Barth | Actress, Activist, Writer, Voices in Action, Founder & CEO
Jessica Barth is an actress best known for her breakout leading role in the hilarious Ted movie franchise. She began her career in the Philadelphia Theatre scene as a young girl which led her to a prestigious apprenticeship at Vassar College in association with New York Stage and Film. It was there that she honed her craft before deciding to head to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television and film.
During her years in LA, she has appeared and starred in numerous plays, commercials, television shows and films. Jessica graduated with a degree in Theatre and Creative Writing and has enjoyed writing short films, plays and screenplays.
As a #MeToo activist, she founded Voices in Action, a non-profit initiative empowering victims to use their voice. VIA’s report, support, match, connect & protect is the only of its kind offering a platform to document sexual misconduct and track serial perpetrators with the ability to connect under privilege & confidentiality.
Jessica has always been hugely passionate about advocating for young women and has worked for years with foster care youth, teaching female empowerment through art.
Jessica is thrilled to be a part of this global movement in an effort to further the conversation about the abuse of power and gender inequality not only in the entertainment industry but in industries world wide.
Jessica will direct her first feature film in 2020 and is also working on a book of essays encapsulating her journey within the #MeToo movement and beyond.
Silent No More Anti-Rape Art Therapy Workshop
Lili Bernard: Silent No More Anti-Rape Art Therapy Workshop involves the making of functional art objects, group exercise and discussion, as creative vehicles of support and empowerment that encourage participants to use their voices in order to combat rape culture and to help heal themselves and society. Whether they are survivors, bystanders or advocates of sexual assault victims, through the use of metaphor, participants of all genders experience the personal and therapeutic impact of speaking out against sexual violence. The trope of the workshop is the Chinese philosophy known as “Yin-Yang,” the interconnectivity of opposing forces. Explored in the exercise is the duality of sexual trauma juxtaposed against healing.
Lili Bernard is a Cuban-born, Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary artist of mixed African, Caribbean, European and Chinese descent. Her work examines issues of sexism, racism and trauma. A mother of six whom she birthed in a ten-year span, Lili is an award-winning exhibiting fine artist, actor, published writer, independent curator, educator, community organizer, public speaker and founder of BAILA: Black Artists in Los Angeles.
Raised predominantly in Princeton, Jct., New Jersey, and a graduate of The American School in Japan where she spent 11th and 12th grade, Lili attended Cornell University and The City University of New York, earning a B.A. in German. She received her MFA in Visual Arts/Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design.
In the fine arts, Lili’s numerous credits include a 2017 solo exhibition at Museum of African Diaspora and favorable reviews in a multitude of mainstream art periodicals, including ARTnews Magazine. As an actor who has performed extensively in NYC Off-Broadway theatre, on television Lili starred in the BBC film Murder in Oakland, co-starred in Stephen King’s Golden Years, and guest-starred on Seinfeld and The Cosby Show.
A Cosby survivor-turned public-figure antirape activist, Lili influenced the abolishment of the statute of limitations on rape prosecution in California with her #EndRapeSOL peers, as well as the gubernatorial signing of three #MeToo bills on employment sexual harassment and assault. Currently, she serves as co-chair of #ERAnow.
This experiential workshop is an introduction to understanding the basics of secular mindfulness, trauma from a neurobiological view, and how to manage traumatic stress during meditation. Participants will learn how to incorporate trauma-informed care principles when guiding or experiencing mind-body practices and how to interrupt the hijacking of the nervous system’s stress response through the cultivation of self-regulation and self-compassion.
Laurie Cousins is a mindfulness-based teacher, integrative holistic practitioner, and an Echo trauma-informed nonviolent parent educator. Her education includes training and certification through the mindful centers of UCLA & UCSD.
Laurie enjoys being a lead teacher for Susan Kaiser Greenland’s Inner Kids curriculum and brings secular mindfulness into education for students, parents, and faculties throughout the Los Angeles area.
As a trauma survivor herself, she suffered on and off for years until she learned how to manage her traumatic stress through somatic and trauma-informed therapies. Laurie is passionate about helping youth, adults, women, and families to overcome adversity, find recovery in addiction and trauma, and embrace their innate resiliency. For more information please visit: www.
Theater for Trauma Recovery
Tasha Dixon, actress and trauma survivor, will guide participants in the use of artistic tools such as improvisation and freewriting to find their voice. She will showcase different techniques that not only explore our feelings, but also help us move through emotions we may be stuck in. Performance is not needed in this workshop, but should anyone wish to step into the space it is welcomed.
Tasha Dixon is a latinx bicoastal actress, filmmaker, and artivist. She was the first woman who publicly came out on CNN Live to share her experience of Trump’s abuse of power toward women in the Miss USA competition she was in. Tasha then turned her trauma into art and collaborated with This Is Us producer/writer, Julia Brownell, to turn her MeToo experience into an off-Broadway hit she starred in at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in NYC. She then helped bring it to LA and co-produced, directed, and starred in the Hollywood pop version as well that raised money for TIMES UP and We the Women Collective.
Tasha currently is reprising her role in the latinx Diary of Anne Frank, and recently was an LA Weekly top pick for reprising her role from off-Broadway. Tasha is a professional improv comic who’s worked with legends TOMMY CHONG, WILLIAM SHATNER, and more. Next, she will share the screen with David Arquette.
Previously Dixon won the titles Miss Arizona USA and Miss Hispanic Arizona USA. She has a bachelor in interdisciplinary arts from Arizona State. and went to school on a Full Bright scholarship. She strives to bring humanity to stories of people that are overlooked, misunderstood or left behind. Her mission is to make sure everyone knows YOUR VOICE MATTERS and empower others to share their truth,
Parenting After Trauma
When violence happens, it’s hard to imagine how you could live your life again. Learning about trauma is essential to healing yourself and your children. In this workshop you will gain an understanding in how trauma impacts our daily lives and our parenting. Based on the latest research on the brain and attachment you will learn how to recognize trauma in yourself and others. Karen will offer strategies for emotional regulation for you and your child.
Karen Gonzalez is a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. These experiences prompted her to train through Echo in 2014 to become a trauma-informed nonviolent parent educator. Karen is also the founder of Helping Hands Resource Center. In addition, she is trained as a healing art leader and a wellness advocate. Her passion is to inform others about the challenges trauma creates in our daily lives and what can be done to overcome trauma.
Listening Circle Facilitators & Presenters
Caitlin Dulany is an actress who has been in numerous productions, including the Warner Brothers film ‘Project X’ and television shows ‘Criminal Minds’ and ‘ER’. She is featured in the Official 2019 Sundance Festival Selection Documentary ”Untouchable” on Hulu about the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Since speaking out against Harvey Weinstein in 2017, she has become a passionate advocate for change in the area of sexual assault and harassment within the entertainment industry and beyond. In 2018, she founded Voices in Action, alongside actress and survivor, Jessica Barth. Voices in Action is an accessible and safe space to report incidents of assault online, whose mission is to empower victims, and to promote equality, inclusion, and accountability.
Caitlin is also a member of the Time’s Up Entertainment Safety Working Committee, which works to create and set safety standards in the entertainment industry, as well as for survivor support. The group was instrumental in Sag-Aftra’s plans to create standardized guidelines for on-set Intimacy Coordinators.
In the fall of 2019, Caitlin served as a Delegate for the Sag-Aftra National Convention, where she championed the passing of a number of resolutions that protect survivors of sexual misconduct and provide training for the prevention of harassment on sets.
She is currently the Vice-Chair of the Los Angleles Sag-Aftra Committee on Sexual Harassment. Caitlin has also collaborated with Equal Rights Advocates to help pass important legislation that strengthened sexual harassment protections for working people across California. She is proud to call herself a Silence Breaker and to lend her voice and experience to the important issues the #MeToo movement has shined a light on.
Larissa Gomes has worked in the entertainment industry for over 20 years, and as a Silence Breaker in the ‘Me Too’ movement, she is driven to help create a safer workplace for all.
Born in Toronto, Canada, Larissa is an actor best known for her roles on American television and feature films. Larissa displayed a passion for performing in theatre and music by her teenage years. As a graduate of York University, she received her B.A. with a major in Sociology, a specialization in Criminology and a minor in Film Studies. She has one son, born in 2015.
Larissa starred in the popular Lionsgate feature film franchise “SAW VI” and “SAW 3D”. She has worked in the feature films: Sony’s “Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse”, Disney’s “Phantom of the Megaplex”, “Zebra Lounge” and “Get Over It”. Supporting roles in television movies such as the CBS Movie of The Week: “The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth about Enron”, Showtime’s “Feast of All Saints”, “Rough Air”, “Star Trek: Renegades” and “Blackout”.
Larissa had a series regular role in ABC’s prime time drama “In Justice” as well as a role in the Gemini Award nominated series “Bliss”. She has also had major recurring roles in such critically acclaimed series as “Supernatural”, “La Femme Nikita” and “Leap Years” as well as numerous guest starring roles on “Designated Survivor”, “People Of Earth”, “CSI-Miami”, “Out of Practice”, “Missing”, “Odyssey 5”, “Tracker” and more.
She co-produced and narrated the documentary ‘Tribal: Beyond The Four’, an inside look at the artists of the Los Angeles urban lifestyle.
Larissa has written feature films and television projects that have been in development at HBO & various production companies. She currently has a slate of projects, some of which are in development.
As a singer/songwriter, Larissa has toured the world from North America to Europe & Asia, collaborated and shared the stage with platinum recording artists. One highlight included performing for Nelson Mandela at the Skydome Stadium in Toronto. She continues to write music, with her long time co-writer, a Grammy-award winning producer.
Sarah Ann Masse is an actor, writer, filmmaker, comedian, activist and Silence Breaker. She is an outspoken voice against the patriarchy and rape culture, a tireless supporter of survivors of sexual violence, and is one of the many women to come forward about her abuse at the hands of Harvey Weinstein.
Sarah has worked with several organizations and individuals such as Echo Training, Time’s Up, SAG-Aftra, Equal Rights Advocates, Peace Over Violence, and Sen. Brad Hoylman to change laws and culture to create a safer world for all survivors. Best known as the American half of viral British-American comedy duo “We Are Thomasse“, she has recently won several awards for her romantic comedy “Tristan & Kelly” (co-starring Game of Thrones’ Toby Sebastian) and has frequently collaborated with Grammy-Winner Jason Mraz.
Lizette Martinez was a naive 17-year-old the first time she met R. Kelly in a Miami mall. She was walking with her best friend, when his security guard handed her a folded up phone number that changed her life forever. The second time Lizzette’s life changed forever, was when she participated in the Emmy nominated documentary “Surviving R. Kelly”. Suddenly, everyone knew her name, and her story and she needed to use that to do good in the world!
Currently living and working in Los Angeles, Lizzette now dedicates a large part of her time helping other survivors of abuse. She wears many hats, from being a mother of two to an activist and author. She hopes to use her story to help others come forward, and to help bring support & resources to survivors everywhere!