Save The Date: Annual Anti-Trafficking Awareness Day @ the State House

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This year Survivor Speak USA is proud to host the annual Anti-Trafficking Day at the Maine State House. The day will focus on reflecting & responding to the question: How do we create a Maine where survivors can thrive? 

When: Thursday, January 10th, 2019 @ 9 am-12 pm

Where: Hall of Flags @ Maine State House, Augusta


This year’s program will focus broadly on ‘aftercare’ for survivors who have escaped a life of trafficking and sexual exploitation, but still navigate the enduring impacts and repercussions of their experiences—on their physical and mental health, economic opportunities, and families. We seek to draw attention to the myriad policy interventions, resources, and services that survivors need in order to forge a new pathway in life, beyond exploitation.

SSUSA speakers will focus on our bill to win vacatur—post-conviction relief—for survivors of trafficking & sexploitation, and why #VacaturIsFreedom for survivors.

Program Schedule
• From 9:00 until noon: Visit tables and learn from a range of organizations working to end sex trafficking & sexual exploitation in Maine, as well as provide services to survivors. 
• At 10 am: Hear survivors, providers, and allies speak on the topic of how we can create a Maine where survivors heal, thrive, and lead. 
Online: If you can’t be there in person, be sure to follow Survivor Speak USA on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #VacaturIsFreedom to see live video & updates. You can also join the conversation using the hashtag.

Contact Executive Director Dee Clarke with questions @ deeclarke@survivorspeakusa.org.

Printing Our Way To Vacatur!

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This summer, SSUSA Executive Director Dee Clarke was awarded a Printers Without Margins Fellowship by Pickwick Independent Press. The fellowship provided an opportunity for fellows to collaborate with a Pickwick artist to create a design on a postcard or broadside expressing something important about their organization or artistry, and to create 100 copies. Dee chose to create postcards to engage supporters and legislators around SSUSA’s campaign to win vacatur for Maine survivors of sex trafficking and sexploitation.

As Dee shares: For the last 3 years, SSUSA has expressed the need for vacatur, only to be met with pushback. For 3 years we have been told it is unconstitutional, because we already have a law in place: pardoning. Pardoning is more about forgiveness, and vacatur is an admission that the survivor did not commit a crime, and therefore that conviction/charge becomes null, nonexistent and wiped out.

Dee was paired up with Pickwick Director Pilar Nidal and also invited SALT members to join in the collaborative process of making a compelling piece of art that would also be used to communicate the importance of vacatur to legislators and spread the word about the campaign in the 2019 legislative session.

Dee explains the process this way: Several survivors and myself first met with our instructor to educate her on who we are, about sex trafficking and sexploitation, what vacatur is, and what it means to us and why it’s necessary, which led into the artistic phase, planning and designing. I saw a new freedom amongst my friends. All while sitting together pitching ideas of what our post cards would look like, sketching various designs and figuring out the right word choices and explaining what’s wrong with other words.


The design of justice scales conveys how much more weight vacatur carries in improving the lives of survivors, by reducing stigma and removing practical barriers for survivors to housing, jobs, and involvement with their children’s lives. SSUSA sees vacatur as a powerful intervention in the lives of Maine’s Forgotten Women, which will also help survivors break cycles of poverty, violence, and exploitation so their children do not become more Last Girls.

Reflecting on her experience in the fellowship, Dee said: I especially appreciate the commitment from our instructor in that she was down with other survivors taking part. We created art together, but also many layers of social oppression of who we are peeled away during the collaboration. Thank you for that!!!!

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SSUSA is 2018 Maine Women's Fund Grantee!

SSUSA is excited & honored to announce that we are a 2018 grantee of the Maine Women's Fund! Last night, our Executive Director & a board member represented SSUSA at the MWF reveal party. We are honored to be among an impressive cohort of grantees doing critical work to build power & leadership in Maine women & girls! You can learn more about the other grantees here

 

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