Executive Director Shana here, throwing out a special post for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday: it’s a day that everyone has off from work and school, and it’s dedicated to celebrating in the company of those whom we love, typically surrounded by great food. There’s no religious undertone, no presents are exchanged, and it’s about bringing people together. “Friendsgiving” has become part of our vernacular as some of us will spend the holiday with chosen family. And it’s a time to pause just for a moment and give thanks.
The news this year has been all over the place from celebrating the triumphs of space exploration and sweeping same-sex marriage approvals across the country, to heightened awareness of racial inequalities and the overwhelming public response to sexual assault on college campuses. It’s easy to get caught in the whirlwind of bad news, and so for one day, maybe just for the five minutes preceding the Thanksgiving meal, we pause and appreciate all the good that we have. For many of us, we’ll be sitting with family or chosen family, someplace warm, with a bounty of food and good company. If nothing more, we have that privilege for which to be thankful.
For many of us, today is the last day at work or in school before breaking for the weekend, and so, as the Executive Director of Speak About It, I want to give thanks. I want to give thanks to all of you. The work that we were able to do this year has exceeded our goals and expectations, and we’ve been able to spark dialogues about consent and sexual assault prevention with almost 30,000 high school and college students since January. We’ve been to dozens of schools across many states, have held local performances for the Portland community, and have begun conversations to bring the program overseas. We were able to hire a wonderful intern for the summer, and employ the skills of 20 brilliant actors throughout the year. We’ve been onstage for high schools, community colleges, military institutions, and the top colleges and universities in the country. We have been supported by loving friends, community-members, engaged audiences, and passionate administrators.
Thank you for opening your auditoriums to the performance, your minds to something new and unfamiliar, and your hearts to support survivors. The conversation about sexual assault prevention is far from over, and we’ve been at the educational forefront across the country thanks to you.
And we cannot continue this work without you. Today, we’re taking a moment to be thankful for all that we have been able to accomplish and the lives we’ve been able to change in 2014, and tomorrow we’re looking ahead to 2015 and the impact that we can have in the future. We need your help to continue our work across the country, from high schools to large universities to thriving communities. We have high hopes for 2015, and we need your help getting there. We want to reach thousands more students at the high school level, we want to expand and spark dialogues with more college students, and we need administrative help to support the organizational growth.
We all have our stories about sex, and many people in our communities have stories about sexual assault. We are survivors, we are partners and siblings of survivors, we are active bystanders for friends and strangers, we are consent champions. And we know that this movement needs more momentum than we can do alone. But you can help us by supporting the organization. A donation today or for #givingtuesday means that we can continue to be leaders in the national movement to end sexual violence and promote a culture of consent. We think that sex can and should be a wonderful experience, and we want to give people the language to ask for consent and the confidence to do so. We can all be bystander superheroes to our friends by offering to get a slice of pizza. And we need your support to continue educating. If you support and believe in the work that we’re doing, give us thanks this #givingtuesday by donating here. Tell your friends, your family, your chosen family, your barista, your friends at the dog park. We all have our stories about sex and sexual assault, and we all have our reasons to be passionate about this movement. Tell us your story by showing your support.
So today, the day before Thanksgiving, I am thankful for everyone who has helped us get where we are today, and I’m asking for help to get us where we want to be tomorrow. You can help us speak about it, and together, we have the power to change countless lives through education.
Thank you for your continued support, and Happy Thanksgiving,