As I write this, I am completing my first full month as the new Executive Director here at the Sexual Assault Resource Agency. I could not be prouder to lead this passionate, dedicated, and talented team. Starting a new chapter with new leadership in the midst of a global pandemic, a national racial reckoning, and civil unrest is certainly, well, a lot. However, SARA’s collective ability to rise to this unique moment is a testament to what SARA has done for over 40 years. We stand with people and with this community even when—especially when—hope itself can feel out of reach. Author Austin Channing Brown calls this “standing in the shadow of hope.” What does hope look like right now for us here at SARA?
Hope looks like survivors continuing to heal with our therapists through telehealth.
Hope looks like teens engaged online in their schools as they work to increase protective factors and disrupt high-risk situations through Green Dot bystander training.
Hope sounds like our 24/7 Hotline and ER Advocacy continuing to be answered even as we work remotely.
Hope sounds like the voice of an advocate reassuring a survivor that they will not be alone in their journey after an assault.
Hope feels like the embrace that we at SARA have received in the support from friends, donors, and community partners.
Hope feels like opening our eyes, minds, and hearts to learning how be intentional in our allyship, intersectional in our understanding, and serving every part of our community in the ways they need.
Going forward, we want to give you an increased view of that hope! Each week in this space, we will highlight a different program and different people that make SARA what it is. We will share stories of success, useful information, upcoming events, and even answer questions that sometimes people are hesitant to ask.
Renee Branson, CReC, MA