Physical, Mental and Sexual Abuse Survivors around the country came together to kick off The 2nd Annual Voice Your Invisible Wounds Conference on September 25-26, 2015.
Voice Your Invisible Wounds Conference was hosted by its founder, Alissa R. Jones. This two-day event took place at the Norris Conference Center in Houston. Patrons and participants were filled with inspiration and empowerment to help boost confidence of those who are survivors. “Removing The Mask” was the theme for the conference, which embodied the dedication to celebrating and honoring survivors who have lived courageously despite life’s travesties and obstacles of abuse.
The event opened on Friday night with an introduction of conference speakers and a meet-and-greet hosted by Women Empowering Change Founder, Shunte Davis. Attendees from Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, and California among other places had the opportunity network, enjoy musical entertainment and delicious food.
On Saturday morning, participants gathered together during the daytime to hear and engage with survivor empowerment and testimonial speakers Sarah Anderson, Kandice Ewing, Aleesha Barlow, Lou Gary Hughes, Cherise Riley, and David Massey hosted by Radio Personality Dawn Paul of Dr. Dawn Radio. In the midst of tragedy each presenter demonstrated how to experience inspiration to move forward despite their unfortunate situations.
The day ended with a fundraising dinner gala and award ceremony where attendees and VIP guests arrived for a 3-course meal dinner prepared by Kouture Kuisine. The room was filled with entertainment and recognition for the hard work of individuals that keep the Survivors With Foundation going and most importantly, the former victims who now see themselves as victors. Professor Carlos Wallace an Author, Philanthropist, President/CEO of Sol-Caritas was a special guest speaker who spoke about his life story and shared excerpts from his book “Life Is Not Complicated, You Are.” Following the dinner, featured keynote speaker, Cancer survivor and WE tv actress Phoenix White shared her story and life journey. Phoenix walked through the room greeting guests and as beautiful as she is, you would never imagine what she had been through. She talked about being a victim of rape, being homeless, and having brain surgery and nearly dying in the process. Her story was remarkable!
Alissa took the stage to give special awards to the following individuals: Majic 102.1FM Radio Personality Kandi Eastman (Survivor Honoree Award), Nichole Villafane (The Odessa Award an Award of Forgiveness), Haynes Healing of Hearts founder Andrea Haynes (Making A Difference Foundation Award), Women Empowerment Foundation founder Jazmine Jones (Making A Difference Foundation Award), Lt. James Stewart (Survivor Of The Year Award Winner), and RST Lupus Foundation Founder Rebekah Threlkeld (Survivor Of The Year Award Winner). A representative from Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee’s office was there to present Alissa with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for the work of her foundation Survivors With Voices and a representative from Mayor Annise Parker’s office presented Alissa with a Proclamation naming Survivors With Voices the official “Unlock Your Voice Month” for the entire month of September.
Several VIP guests who attended the Gala included: Miss Mykie (BET Correspondent), Ramona Franklin (Notable Attorney/Public Figure), Roneisha Ray (Miss Black America), Joe Grisaffi (Award Winning Director) and Sara Gaston (Actress).
This year’s sponsors and supporters included: Intravec Designs, Sol-Caritas, Why Leadership, DJ TNT, Kouture Kuisine, LG Entertainment LLC, Glam The Salon, Homes By Jones, Loans By Jones, Lemon Lime Light Media, Strictly Industry a Boutique PR Firm, Survivors With Voices Foundation, Something To Talk About Weddings & Event Management, Total Life Changes, It Works, Traci Lynn Jewelry, Essence Of Faith Hair Studio, A God Inspired Boutique, SCT’s Kreations, Jubilee Jewelry, The Glamour Projects, A Rich Girl Handbags & Accessories. Hair provided by Shuron White of Glam The Salon and makeup provided by Steven Cole of Colors Coleman.
The 3rd Annual Voice Your Invisible Wounds Conference is scheduled to take place on September 23-24, 2016 with keynote speaker Sarah Jakes-Roberts daughter of Bishop TD Jakes.
Survivors With Voices Foundation is a non-profit (501c3) organization benefiting men and women who have suffered mental and physical abuse. The premise of the Foundation is to cultivate (within those who benefit from the Foundation) the true mark of a survivor. The Foundation defines the true mark as the ability to inspire hope through the telling of a survivor story. Through support groups lead by chapter member-presidents across the country, the Foundation provides an open forum for women to be supported by their peers who have experienced similar circumstances. Women can come to find mentorship, counseling, and development for social skills and self-esteem. The Foundation teaches group member / participants how to become empowered by telling their story. In 2014, Jones held her very first Voice Your Invisible Wounds Conference where she and her team helped many men and women who needed help in letting go of all the hurt and pain of life travesties. She believes that no one’s story is the same, but we all have a story. This conference is aimed to help men and women find healing and balance in their personal and professional lives. For more information visit http://www.survivorswithvoices.com
Photo credit: Rodney G. Oakley
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Deborah Griffin – Strictly Industry PR