Cheryl Rogers, executive director of the New England Learning Center for Women In Transition, writes in to share her gratitude to the Women of Amherst.
I am writing to The Amherst Student to share my deepest gratitude for the hard work and generosity of the Women of Amherst in selecting NELCWIT to be the beneficiary of the event proceeds.
I had the privilege of being part of the audience for the Sunday performance of Women of Amherst 2013: On Stage(s). The stories were performed with such respect and emotion — expressions of heartache, vulnerabilities, outrage, resilience, compassion and the joy that is part of a loving relationship. The performance gave voice to so many women who have been silenced by shame, fear, oppression, judgment and institutional power. It reminded me of Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise.” The profound life stories demonstrate the resilience of women and survivors — from the depth of shame, leaving behind nights of terror and fear, bringing forward family, culture, strength, hope and courage to still rise and overcome.
On behalf the entire staff and board of directors of the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition, and the women we serve, we thank the Women of Amherst and the Peer Advocates for supporting our work and being the change we all want to see in this world. Their energy, commitment and leadership are a gift to the Amherst community. We thank them for bringing light to the crime of sexual violence on campus and in our communities and for encouraging those of us who work with survivors to recognize our accountability to survivors and the importance of maintaining a survivor-centered approach in our work.