Confidential Advocate Tiffany Hsiang, TRE Los Angeles provider Soleah Nicolis, and Bay Area TRE provider Nan Ayers co-presented a workshop at UC Berkeley
In response to the federal mandate for colleges and universities to address the epidemic of sexual violence on campuses nationwide, University of California President Janet Napolitano issued a call for action for the UC to be the national leader in prevention and response. Part of that response is the establishment of confidential advocacy offices, known as CARE offices, on each UC campus. These offices provide affirming, empowering, and confidential support for survivors and those who have experienced gendered violence, including: sexual harassment, dating and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sexual exploitation.
After a fortuitous meeting at the 2015 National Sexual Assault Conference, UC Berkeley’s CARE office partnered with TRE Los Angeles in a shared mission to create culturally aware healing spaces, especially for students from marginalized communities. After a successful workshop at the Multicultural Community Center for their Week of Cultural Resistance, we were excited to present another introductory TRE workshop at the 31st annual Empowering Women of Color Conference, held on campus in April. The focus of the Conference was “Decolonizing Feminism: Reclaiming our Bodies and Communities in a Digital World.”
Our staff TRE Provider Soleah Nicolis describes her experience:
“I was initially scheduled to teach a single workshop in the morning, but as the conference drew near, an additional time slot became available and I was asked to teach a second workshop in the afternoon. I was thrilled for the opportunity to share this self-healing and empowering technique with even more people.
When I arrived in Berkeley, rain was falling lightly. By the time I reached Wheeler Hall, the rain had turned into heavy downpour. Despite the rain, conference attendees came out in droves. I was so pleased that weather conditions hadn’t deterred folks from coming out and partaking in a myriad of inspirational workshops.
There are a number of TRE Providers in Northern California and I was lucky to be assisted by one of them, Nan Ayers. Additionally, our workshop was co-presented by Tiffany Hsiang, of UC Berkeley’s CARE Office.
At each session the room was filled to capacity. In fact, there was so much interest in both sessions that we had to turn people away. As I looked around the room at all the faces, from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, I became more fully aware of how important our work truly is. Bringing TRE to where people are, from classrooms to corporate boardrooms, is of great importance. We are community, and as community we need one another to grow, to change, to move beyond our collective wounds, and to be in touch with the authenticity of who we are.
While teaching the workshops, I could feel the energy of the room shift as the collective nervous systems became more and more relaxed. It was a joy to see and feel! Smiles, awe, and a sense of wonder filled the room as folks questioned how something so simple could produce such immediate, uplifting changes! Upon completion, the laughter and lightheartedness that followed the groups back out into the hallway made me so grateful that I have the opportunity to support and witness others on their self-care journey.
Prior to my departure for Berkeley, I had a wonderful conversation with one of my TRE LA colleagues, and dear friend, Ranji Ariaratnam. During the course of the conversation, she remembered an abbreviated version of a poem that had touched her deeply. After hearing it, I decided to include it in my talk for it seemed to capture the essence of what I came to teach and to share.”
Please come home . . . Find the place
where your feet know where to walk,
and follow your own trail home . . .
Please come home into your own body,
your own vessel, your own earth.
Please come home into each and every cell,
and fully into the space that surrounds you . . .
And once you are firmly there,
please stay home awhile
and come to a deep rest within . . .
Thank you Earth for welcoming us! And
thank you touch of eyes and ears and skin—
touch of love, for welcoming us.
May we wake up
and remember who we truly are.
Please come home.