$2,807.85 raisedGOAL: $10,000.00
Survivors' Truths relies on the generosity of individuals who share our commitment to bringing the best of social service and social media together to discover new possibilities and promote positive social change.
Right now, our goal is to raise $10,000, which will cover our basic operating costs for 2019, allowing us to continue promoting our work with war survivors, transgender youth, and others. A little goes a long way! So, whether you can make a one-time donation or a monthly commitment, your donation counts!
Please help us make this fundraising drive a success by asking your friends to join you in supporting the work of Survivors' Truths.
Dove and the rest of the Survivors' Truths TeamDonate
Survivors’ Truths operates on the back of its committed team of volunteers. Our volunteers contribute their diverse expertises and skills to help Survivors’ Truths serve marginalized groups. In doing so, volunteers expand their professional capacities while gaining valuable experience in the non-profit world. Survivors’ Truths’ volunteers possess a can-do attitude, impeccable work ethic, and a passion for social justice and human rights. Volunteers make contributions in the following areas:
Blog Writing/ Editing
If you are interested in joining our team, click here to view current opportunities and introduce yourself!
Executive Director, acting Board Chair
A licensed marriage and family therapist, Dove also brings a degree in Business Administration and extensive program coordination and management expertise to the organization. She is a member of a number of professional organizations and has presented on social justice-related topics at conferences around the world.
Rev. Rachel Ciupek-Reed, M.Div.
A full-time minister with the progressive Midlands Church, United Church of Christ in Arlington, TX, Rachel has a history of nonprofit leadership too extensive to list here. She is excited to build Survivors’ Truths’ systems to maximize efficiency and improve reporting capacities.
Sarah’s passion and experience is providing people the space to make art to support healing. She has developed and worked with programs serving marginalized and homeless children and families. Sarah has previously been involved with Survivors’ Truths as a volunteer program manager and fundraising coordinator, and is happy to serve on the board.
Ashford T. Summerville
A native of Liberia, West Africa, educated here in the US, Ashford has been able to gain extensive marketing and business experience while also volunteering for a number of charitable/social justice causes. He was drawn to Survivors’ Truths because of its emphasis on building on local knowledge and strengths while supporting front-line service providers and bringing attention to social justice issues.
Chipo is a lawyer whose commitment to social justice has taken her around the globe. She has worked for a number of legal advocacy organizations, as well as the United Nations, and has done everything from setting up and monitoring organizational systems to legislative review. She has been an advisor for Survivors' Truths from its beginnings and brings her strong analytic and organizational skills, connections and passion for social justice to the board.
Maria has been a leader in social services for the Latina transgender community in Los Angeles since 1998. She has been involved with many organizations including serving as a board member of the Liberty Hill Foundation, The Los Angeles Transgender Task Force, The Trans Unity Planning Committee, Alianza and The Los Angeles and West Hollywood Police Department Sensitivity Training Program.
Social entrepreneur Dove Pressnall founded Survivors' Truths to bring together the best of social service and social media to promote positive social change. Among her current projects is Palaver.net, a virtual forum to support grassroots peacebuilding and reconciliation in post-war West Africa. Domestically, Dove is currently working with transgender youth, and has recently launched The Inside/Out Project, a program to highlight the issues and difficulties of currently and formerly incarcerated women as well as their children.
Dove is also working to implement a collaborative project with the Corporation for Supportive Housing. Survivors’ Truths’ focus is on strengths, and helps those who share their stories. These stories inspire reflection, hope, and action; and creates social change by challenging the way we think and talk about people affected by violence and discrimination.
A licensed psychotherapist in private practice since 2001, Dove is inspired by the possibilities for challenging less respectful ways of describing those we seek to help and the opportunities created by new media to connect, ally, and advocate.
Survivors’ Truths helps groups of people affected by violence or discrimination who are generally either not seen or seen in a negative light. Our projects are geared toward bringing out the parts of each person’s story that include their knowledge, courage, and other resources that have kept them going. The process of telling their own stories of resilience using various creative media is a powerful tool for individual healing and moving forward.
Survivors’ Truths seeks out and builds relationships with a variety of groups and organizations already working on social justice issues. This brings opportunities to share our strength-oriented media approach in collaborative ways. We work with social service agencies, grassroots groups, and other organizations serving our project participants because they already know the population and can support participants more holistically. Our partnership approach adds value and brings visibility to the amazing work of our partners and builds their capacity to continue to work in this way.
Stories of resilience can inform, inspire, and push for social change. The media we co-create in each project informs others about the difficulties faced by marginalized groups, challenges stereotypes, and presents ways that others can help. Each project includes an advocacy strategy that amplifies the voices of those directly affected in conversations about the issues they face as well as the solutions that are needed.
Where are we?
Survivors' Truths has been described as 'an organization doing great work in Africa.' Other people think of us as 'that group that serves transgender youth in Hollywood.'
While our offices are located in Los Angeles, California, we don't think of ourselves as limited to a certain geographic area. Operating in the digital age affords opportunities to collaborate and support work that is going on anywhere in the world.
So, in reality, the question should be...
Where wouldn't we work?
If you are a group interested in how strength-focused storytelling and social media advocacy can amplify your impact, let us know. We'd love to work with you.
"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."
--Nelson Mandela, Champion of Human Rights
From the beginning to the end, life is a vision built upon by memory.
This gallery presents a single journey undertaken by brothers and enemies, the beloved and the downtrod: the struggle to survive. It is our mission to preserve memories, the unsung truths delivered from the mouths and hearts of those who dared to live.
Everyone has a story, and it all begins with a click.
But what does this look like?
We work with each of our partners to find the format for our collaboration that will best fit with their existing programs and maximize their resources. Our partnerships vary from ongoing collaborations with support groups that can span years, one-time workshops or short-term series, developing resources for and training staff of partner organizations to do the media creation with their own constituents, and strategic media initiatives that are developed collaboratively and launched locally.
Since every Survivors’ Truths project is developed with our collaborating partners and participants, no two projects are exactly alike. However, all of our projects:
Build on existing resources - we will often come in to an existing program, like a support group, where participants are already comfortable with sharing their experiences.
Use creativity to facilitate story development - depending on the project time frame and skill level of the group, we might use visual art, writing, and other formats to support participants in developing and sharing their stories or messages.
- Bring technology in service of the stories - we endeavor to capitalize on the power and accessibility of consumer technology and social media. Depending on what is allowed (we can’t record video or audio in a prison setting) and participants are comfortable with, audio and video recording and broadcast allows our work to have much greater impact.
A Typical Workshop: Inside/Out Project
Held at Serenity House in San Diego, we met with a group of about 12 women for two five-hour workshops. The goals of the workshops were for participants to have a rich and new experience of themselves through creative art expression and storytelling and to develop, from where they were at, their comfort level in working with various media. Group members were supported in speaking about their experiences in ways that they feel respected and honored, looking at their experiences from a broader social justice perspective, and considering how they might engage in advocacy for better criminal justice practices.
In the workshops, we used visual art and writing exercises to help the women separate their own identities from their criminal activities and incarceration experiences. As a group, we developed a picture of the stereotypes and misconceptions about incarcerated women that are unhelpful and keep them stuck in their lives. They then had the opportunity to propose alternatives and talk about exceptional programs that had been helpful to them.
Throughout the workshops, we had simple video cameras available and encouraged the women to film one another - to increase their comfort level with the technology. This simple video was edited together and included in a multi-media art exhibit at Expressive Arts San Diego. Attendees of the exhibit were invited to interact in various ways and propose their own ideas for improving our criminal justice system.
The Survivors’ Truths team is devoted, integrated and awesome! Each of these individuals’ contributions to Survivors’ Truths and dedication to social justice issues are greatly appreciated.
A bit about diversity: Survivors’ Truths regards visible diversity as an integral component of our social justice work and the outcome of ongoing efforts to make space for, include, and value varied ways of knowing and doing things. We do this by recruiting in a variety of settings and seeking out leaders in the communities we serve as collaborators, directors, and staff members. Beyond the numbers, diversity of opinion and experience are core values of our organization.
We all have stories. They help us make sense of our lives and define who we are in the world. Without stories, our lives are just a collection of facts and events. Stories explain what matters to us, who we are connected to, how we handle it when things don’t go well.
When is a Story More Than a Story?
We tend to think we already know the stories of others who have been through really difficult things - like violence, severe discrimination, or a disaster. Think of the ‘taken for granted’ meaning when talking about someone being ‘homeless’ or ‘a child soldier’ or ‘LGBT.’ There are enough stories out there about what those things mean that it is easy to assume that we know what that person needs.
The reality is that each person has many stories. A person’s story of victimization will be about powerlessness. Not knowing what to do. Being disconnected from others. But still, that same victim has other stories too. Stories about who they are, what they stand for, and who has contributed to their lives.
Survivors’ Truths is on the leading edge of a paradigm shift in how we think about and work with survivors and their advocates. Our approach seeks out these survival stories and puts the people who need help in the position of experts. We use accessible, high-impact technology tools to empower survivors to tell their own stories.
So, What's Your Story?
In the Press