Democracy Now! Interview with World on My Shoulders Founder

This entire clip is worth watching as it focuses on mutual aid efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the importance of building our own sustainable support networks.

If you don’t have the chance to view the whole segment, you can skip to the end (56:21 mark) to see an interview with World on My Shoulders Founder, Julia Walker. Julia touches on the importance of a trauma-informed approach to disaster relief, and why efforts need to focus on empowering the community members who will be doing the long-term re-building.

Video Source: Democracy Now!

The Work Continues

While our Founding President Julia is still in Houston; our other work continues.

All funds received since 5:33pm Central on 8/27/17 noted with “Eviction” have been designated to our Eviction Prevention fund.

All funds received since 5:33pm Central on 8/27/17 noted with “Harvey”, “Hurricane”, or expression of support have been designated for Hurricane Harvey Relief.

All funds received since 5:33pm Central on 8/27/17 with no notations, have been designated for Hurricane Harvey Relief.
FROM THIS POINT FORWARD; unspecified funds will be directed to our General Fund. Which may be used for anything that serves our mission.

Being in a state of crisis doesn’t necessarily require a natural disaster. Losing one’s job. A rent hike. Car problems. Being sick. All these things can spin a person into a crisis – especially someone who is living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Living paycheck-to-paycheck and missing work because you’re too sick? Literally too sick – cause a lot of folks go into work when they’re still sick cause they can’t afford not to. Imagine how that can throw off your carefully calculated paycheck-to-paycheck budget. Missing a day of work can mean having to choose between eating and paying rent.

Living paycheck-to-paycheck and having car problems? Losing one’s primary mode of transportation can be devastating. It can lengthen commute times to work and have really challenging complications for childcare; and equate with a loss of income. (see above about being sick).

Living paycheck-to-paycheck and having your rent hiked? You can’t just up and move to someplace less expensive. If your own rent is being raised, chances are there is no place less expensive; and living paycheck-to-paycheck means you don’t have first, last, and security deposits to put down anywhere else. So now, you have to worry about threats of eviction because you already know where every penny goes and there aren’t enough pennies for more rent.

Living paycheck-to-paycheck and losing one’s job? Given all of the above, this should be pretty self-explanatory.
The point is – people all over the country encounter crises everyday. Poverty itself is a national crisis that doesn’t get the attention and aide it requires.

The mission of World on My shoulders is to address these issues and support people coping with, surviving through, and thriving in Capitalism.

A devastating loss – while different for everyone- is still devastating.

WOMS has received more donations – in volume and quantity – than we’ve ever had in our history; yet, the eviction needs from last week remain unfilled.

We have people to the tune of $313 and $1,061 (plus a third recipient who has reached out just this morning) all in need of eviction prevention assistance.

So please help us. Our Hurricane Harvey fund needs to continue to grow. The aide needed in Houston will cost millions; and we will aide those who will never see a penny from larger organizations. Still, right now on top of that, we have to continue to address the needs of others. We still need to provide total/holistic care for our other recipients.

So help us. Take the lead and fulfill the needs of our other recipients who are experiencing their own crisis. They may not have been destroyed by a hurricane; but they were still devastated by the things impacting their lives.

Unspecified donations will be directed to our General Fund.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

World on My Shoulders (WOMS) and Black Women’s Defense League (BWDL) have been fielding phone calls since last night from activists in Houston. They’ve been telling us what they need and how we can support them. These are people in and serving underserved communities that will likely go unsupported by relief efforts of more well-known organizations.

We will be going in when the roads clear, which is likely going to be Wednesday.

These are the needs in order of importance:
$1,500 to facilitate aide efforts
Hazmat suits
Trash Bags
First Aid Supplies
Bottled Water
Non-perishable Food items

Diapers (all sizes)
Children and Adult Hygiene items
Toilet/Tissue paper
Children’s uniforms (unisex)
Children’s clothing/shoes (unisex)
School supplies
Women and Men clothing/shoes (Unisex jumpers)
Baby Carriers

Donate $:
Please note “Hurricane Harvey” on your donation.

Shipping address:
World on My Shoulders
PO Box 6576
Tyler, TX 75711

For DFW Area Drop-Off Points:
Call BWDL @ 828-REVOLT-0

EDIT 8/29 @ 9:45 am CST:
All donations received since this post went live were assumed to be for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.  <3 We’re requesting any other donations still coming in be noted as “Hurricane Harvey.” Thank you!  <3

The Monsters Under My Bed

Written by Hess, Baltimore/D.C. Leader

My work with World On My Shoulders is a voluntary action; as is prior times in life that I would volunteer or work with populations affected by domestic abuse. In the beginning, I felt it hard to get in the non-profit world of DV advocacy. I would share the story of my mother; in 1996 then 27 year old Desiree Chavis met her demise at the hands of the man that had been her abuser and her boyfriend. I considered myself a “success story”, someone the clients could look to as someone that simultaneously understands, and as a vision that there is a life after abuse.

I realize now that not only was sharing my story making me seem more like a liability to most places – instead of the source of heightened compassion – but that also the whole mindset was a sack of shit. How dare I fancy myself a success (at breaking the cycle of domestic violence ) when days before my 28th birthday I realized that monsters still live under my bed. As a child that lived in a home where domestic violence was present, met with exceptional explanatory stories, mingled with drugs, and the times my mom thought she had enough; it all imprinted things on my brain that the latter years of a relatively stable childhood couldn’t remedy. As a child I played the part of “healed” better than I do as an adult. I was healed and thanks be to God that a small child had the ability to walk away without many scars. In reality, I hid my scars because I didn’t want to be seen as a disappointment in the ability of my paternal family’s love, and a tragic case.

Flash forward. The night a few days before my birthday. My family and I live above another family. Thin walls and weak floors leave room for little secrets. It’s with embarrassment that I admit to knowingly living above a woman that is the constant victim of her partner’s rage. I’ve asked many friends what to do because she hasn’t asked for help and I know will side to protect her abuser. Many nights I laid in my bed as a grown woman with children of her own, tightening into a ball while the roars of the monster under the floor fill my home and theirs with screams, crashes, cursing, and verbal manipulation.

Most would ask, what’s the issue? Isn’t this what you do? Help DV victims?

The issue is that I didn’t sign up for this. It sounds ridiculous but I leave my home or walk into positions where I can mentally switch on my “helper’s hat”. I fancied myself as someone that broke the cycle of domestic violence when it came to my own family. This time, it permeated into my home and froze me. I hadn’t involuntarily overheard domestic violence since I was 7 years old. Many nights a week felt like a personal hell that had caught up with me.

I write this after hearing certain things that made me slap down on my floor like Iyanla on the “not on my watch” meme. Part of it was returning the favor for when they’d bang on their ceiling when they deemed my children too loud during the day. I felt impulsive and reactive in the moment, but – in rewinding – maybe my actions were strategic and some sort of overdrive. The police local to me have shown that domestic violence isn’t high on their priorities. A noise complaint, physical threat, and verbal demeaning from my neighbor – as I dare interrupt his abusive tirade – is what I called the police about and documented. Calls about domestic violence have always fell through. But this call worked for the police making a presence at least. Towards the end, I requested that the officers look for signs of domestic violence as that was part two of the noise source, and – as expected – they didn’t.

I asked for anyone that was up to talk to me, and one of the first to respond via inbox was Julia, up during the wee hours of the morning.

She asked what I needed. She didn’t ask details. She didn’t probe me to see if I was worthy of the resources she had to offer. She believed me.

As someone that has volunteered with DV orgs before, I can tell you that asking “what do you need” in that trusting tone, as the first thing to come out of a worker’s mouth is a lot less common than it should be. That immediate validation fills in many feelings of distance. I told her that I just need help finding a good price on a hotel.

This is what Julia does with EVERYONE.

The way she approaches this is a way that could transform more lives if she was given the support World On My Shoulders not only needs, but truly deserves.

I write this from a hotel room that my husband is working overtime to pay for. For many, their abuser is their partner and they have no funds and no support to relocate to a hotel for the night.

This has laid so heavy on my heart tonight. That with many federal sources of aid potentially closing down to help fund the larger and more bureaucratic dv orgs, supporting your smaller direct service orgs instead of supporting larger orgs is so needed. The work Julia has been able to do on her own is not only impressive, but legitimately rivals bigger orgs in sheer determination.

World On Your Shoulders needs your support so that they can support others.

For the cost of a few forgettable items you buy in the Dollar Spot at Target, you could fund a portion of someone’s new start.

I’m asking, as favor not to me or to WoMs, but a favor to current and potential recipients; could you pledge $5 a month? Or maybe a one time larger pledge since tax-refund season has padded a few pockets? Could you pledge anything so that somewhere, a child – today, tomorrow, or next week – could find refuge from the monster?

Put your heart into it.

-Hess, Baltimore/D.C. Leader

Make a pledge: