The Power of Three Women Rising Through Full Surrender Regardless Of the Ambiguity Of Our Journey
Written by Velika Lawrence
I received an email my friend’s mom, Karen Ayee (whom I did not know) in the earlier part of 2012 asking if I would consider coming to Jamaica to help her act in response to an article written by a doctor on how our babies have been suffering from Sexually Transmitted Diseases due to incest in the Caribbean (Jamaica Specially).
As a survivor of molestation and contracting an STD from that encounter, a counsellor, and a young woman passionate about the effects of healthy human interaction, I felt compelled to drop everything in my island of St. Lucia to meet this almost stranger. I felt moved by her call to action.
Karen had just read my Loverly Sheridan Interview and felt that based on the work my partner, Souyenne (Sou) and I were doing with PROSAF that I would be an asset to have on her team. I felt honoured that she chose me. So I explained to Sou and my family that I was going to go meet this lady from a group called Ennufff in Jamaica. She had offered to support the financing of the trip if I was willing to come and work with her and share my heart, knowledge and skill to help her create her idea of “sisters in the Caribbean Uprising from abuse”. I was moved and made arrangements straight away!
The journey from St. Lucia to Jamaica was intense. I had recently gone through a huge physical and emotional transition and I had all kinds of mixed feelings on the plane. I felt excited to face the unknown and get to know Karen and the people she wanted us to help but guilty because I felt so low inside at the time. I asked myself,” how are you going to go empower people yet you feel so horrible about yourself Velika?” I wrote in my journal and cried and by the time I landed in JA I had convinced myself to allow this trip to change me.
I got off the plane and said that as soon as met her I would ask Karen to recommend someone to cut my hair for me. I wanted to start over and I wanted to start in JA. I was going to use this trip as my own version of EAT PRAY LOVE for the sake of myself, Karen, and the other survivors I was about to come into contact with. My life had taught me that the journey can be excruciatingly painful but it also taught me that real understanding, joyful patience and true love for self and human nature were key to the healing work we intend to do together- strangers in the physical but kindred companions as survivors and women, Karen and I began to unfold:)!
In the near two weeks I spent in Jamaica with Karen and her team (business partner- Damali, friends, reporters, musicians, artists, survivors etc.) we drafted a framework for what we named US-RISING. Us-Rising was an idea, a vision in small action, mobilization of reporters and all creative thinkers in the Caribbean to unite under an umbrella to empower and go back for the little boy and girl within all of us who have suffered trauma. We began to film and record music and network with other regional artists to develop what we felt would be a necessary instrument for change. We made great headway and then it was over for JA. However, we kept in-touch frequently, and kept linkages, collaborations and networks live over the seas between PROSAF and ENNUFFF and eventually came to this point in 2014 where we are all working together on the international front for the first ever Caribbean Rising with support of our new sister Dianne from CADVA.
In the words of my dear brother, teacher and friend Lambert Soomer-James- “The sky is not the limit my darling…the sky is infinite” so off we go Karen- The Phoenix of Air, Velika The Phoenix of Water (inside joke), and all the lovely risers we meet on this journey! ONE CARIBBEAN RISING!