The afternoon of July 22, 2017, we turned the Alan E Sims, Cedar Hill Recreation Center into a fun filled, electrified celebration of life. Silent Screams Inc. reserved all four event rooms and the kitchen. It was an afternoon of pampering all the ladies who attended. This was their day.

Women from all over north Texas came to be celebrated. Silent Screams the guests with a catered meal, entertainment, live music, gifts and chocolate. Nikia Hammond Blakely almost tore the place down with her incredible musical gifts to our guests. This mistress of ceremony Latoya Brown, a survivor herself, kept the atmosphere energetic and lively. What can we say about Ms. Vickie who kept us in stitches? Mark Turner and Axis Jazz band set the atmosphere with incredible, smooth jazz. Nice! Hat’s off to the massage therapists that really pampered the ladies. They even stayed to do massages at the end of the celebration. Now that’s a servant’s heart.

The celebration had a serious side as well but you couldn’t tell. You would never have known many women who attended were sex crime survivors. Others who attended were in between residents.  Our speakers were all local and all survivors or advocates. The founder of Silent Screams wanted to highlight local survivors and organizations. Every year advocates have spoken. This is the first year some of their clients spoke as well. Some stories made you think, made you shed a tear and appreciate life. The guests were noticeably moved by the survivor stories.

This was our first year we  honored survivors with a Meritorious Award for their fortitude and courage in pursuing justice. The four survivors we honored for pursuing justice are Lavinia Masters, Annie Kendzior, Debbie Jones, Kellee Ash. Even though these ladies knew they would most likely face persecutions by speaking out, filing charges and going to court, they could do nothing less. They chose to stand and fight for truth. Whether they won their case or not I’m sure they were empowered just for taking a stand for right. Hopefully, we will be able to give our honorees more than a certificate next year.

The key note speaker, Carolyn J Hudson used her time to tell the story of the history of Silent Screams and Celebrate Life, Afternoon Delight. She closed her presentation encouraging the guests not to allow something that happened in their past to stop them from receiving a gift or being a gift to someone in the present life. She exhorted the guests to let their gifts within them shine. At the end everyone received, what do you call it? Oh! A swag bag of goodies including chocolate. What gift are you holding inside you because of past wounds? What are your fears? There is life after trauma. Come join us next year. Check back with us next month for the date of Celebrate Life, Afternoon Delight 2018.