Liberation: Doma International

Monday night was inspiring.  A doma colleague and survivor of human trafficking, Theresa Flores, hosted and organized the Liberator Awards to recognize the abolition heroes amongst us in Ohio. At the end of the night, Theresa asked me what my favorite moment was.  Was it the glitter that fell down from the ceiling, missing the award winners, but landing directly on Glenn McEntyre of Channel 10? Was it being in the room with the 15+ agencies who collaborate so well to rescue and restore survivors?   (Shout out to The Women’s Fund and Central Ohio YMCA for your continued support of us!!)  Was it the delicious Freedom a la Cart food?  (Shameless plug for catering and box lunch menu here!)

Hmmm…  Nope.  It was when there was a moment of spontaneous eruption of applause and cheering:

At some point in the film about Theresa’s life, an amazing abolitionist in town (Bev Delashmutt) recalled when Theresa was testifying at the hearing for the new  Ohio anti-trafficking law, when a senator attempted to speed up her testimony.

Theresa so poignantly said “Sir, I have prepared for this moment for a very long time and you will hear everything I have to say”.

At that moment in the film, the entire Liberator Award audience celebrated.

I think everyone realized that indeed, Theresa has found her voice.  Reflect on how empowering it is that a survivor, gave out awards to those who liberate– during January, National Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Month, and on MLK day, a day to celebrate the birth of a prominent civil rights leader who promoted nonviolent activism.  How inspiring that must be to those who are still seeking to use their voices.

This is our hope for the survivors we work with here in Ohio.  At doma, we have intersected with 122 survivors of forced and coerced prostitution—or modern-slavery.  We know this intersection has extreme responsibility and vulnerability for all of us.  We form relationships with them; we enter into their new norm alongside of them.   We journey with them as they find their voices.  We empower them to use their voices, and support them along the way. It was amazing to see some of these strong survivors in attendance at these awards.  And for doma, it was beautiful to celebrate our partnership with SOAP exactly as we envisioned it to be– what beauty to have such a seamless partnership that actively fights slavery in our own nation.  And what an honor to work with our amazing survivors, equipping them to rediscover ‘self,’ providing a path to find their voices, and empowering them to liberate others enslaved.

Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery- MLK


For Liberation,

Julie A. Clark

CEO, doma and Freedom a la Cart


Attend our volunteer training on February 10th from 1:30-3:00 at the YMCA- 40 West Long.   Register with Vanessa@domaconnection.org.  Visit freedomalacart.org and domaconnection.org to learn more.

Short film about Theresa’s story can be found here.   

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