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storytelling for the free-spirited

featured posts

BOHO SUMMER WEDDING

A FAIR TRADE WEDDING

URBAN INDUSTRIAL
WEDDING

FREEDOM PROCLAIMED – a night of freedom from human trafficking

storytelling for the free spirited

the world
gives you
so much pain
and here you are
making gold out of it

there is nothing purer than that 

– rupi kaur

On a Sunday evening, we gathered at Welcome Fellow Coffee in Colorado Springs for a benefit night. Anna Wolff, a student at the University of Colorado, united a masterpiece of creatives advancing Restore Innocence‘s efforts to end sex trafficking, calling the night ‘Freedom Proclaimed’.

​Through poetry, music, painting, photography, coffee and even baking, the community was intertwined with injustice, feeling closer to survivors of a relevant issue sometimes seemingly so distant. The heart behind the art pieces was to create work exuding messages of hope inspired by individual stories of survivors rescued through the program. Restore Innocence

 brings women out of sex slavery + into a restorative shelter in the Springs area.

Anna welcomed the room full of twenty-somethings into the evening, an aroma of purpose + fresh-baked bread filling the room.

Creatives from all areas of Colorado joined forces to spur on another in creating art for a purpose.

The power of creation speaks to our hearts more than facts sometimes; it says we are humans with beating hearts + we need to feel the suffering of the broken to walk alongside each other as equals. We need more than just numbers to wake up from our own comfort + dance with lament. We need emotion. We need empathetic hearts. We need acting hands.

A POEM

a letter to survivors

I could read you statistics, get you pissed wondering how could we miss
this? I could flash you tables and graphs give you a chance to grapple
with these beautiful people’s terrible pasts. yeah, I could do that. or, I
can stand here today and give praise to their strength. I can stand here
and give thanks, marvel at the determination of those who for so long
have taken the blame; made to feel shame. I see nothing shameful here
today, I only see the incredible people that have borne too much pain
and yet through it all, still remain–unchained. Unshackled; powerful,
stronger than me, stronger than anyone I’ve ever met, that should be
damn clear to see. their survival radiates a certain type of heat, a fire
that comes from knowing the value of life, a spark that spreads through
the hearts that brings a light to the dark, hope to those who don’t yet
know how beautiful they are. you matter. if to no one else, you matter
to me. wherever you are, however lost and alone, you are still the
master of your soul. your existence matters. allow yourself to glow,
radiate, illuminate, but refuse to ever let someone tell you that you are
anything less than great. greatness demands only that we understand
that strength thrives inside. our destinies are carved into our hearts once
we decide that we deserve our own existence. for every survivor of the
human trafficking trade, never let that spark go out – it’s your existence
that inspires us to be brave. keep surviving, we will keep fighting.

​- noah suess

A SONG

you’re still innocent

washed clean from all the sin

close your eyes it will all be over soon

keep your heart

you are so much more than used

oh God you will be made new

– andrew cooke + drew johnson

The room is filled with warm compassion, responsiveness, and appreciation.

Picture

 A SONG

trying hard not to roll her r’s
doing her best to play the part
all created equal is breaking her heart
maybe we could do our part
we ignore the things that bother our normalcy
it’s a cheap excuse and we’re bartering
trying hard not to fall apart
i don’t understand the gravity of this
i never will we never will
and that’s what kills
trying hard to understand
how this can be part of God’s plan
why would you create us to make this choice
to the culturally operated voiceless, who had no choice in this

​- aaron noble brown

A SONG

laura began with this passage from scripture as the inspiration behind her song.

ezekiel 37

the hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit
​of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.
he led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones
on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. he asked me, “son
of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘dry bones,
hear the word of the Lord! this is what the Sovereign Lord says to these
bones. I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach
tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin;
I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. then ou will know that
I am the Lord.'” ..so I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered
​them; they came to life and stood up on their feet–a vast army.

in hollows of hills

i’m down in this valley,
my arms long and thin
and all these skeletons they,
draw me in.
i’ve never seen daylight
it won’t venture the edge of these
terrible mountains that build up the hedge.
in hollows of hills bones lie,
their vibrance and color long died.
and I am among them, I stay,
among these unfortunate graves.
it’s dry here,
i’ve forgotten the taste of my blood.
the life wrapped around the veins in my limbs has long become one with the dust.
but the prophets do speak of a different reflection than dusty regret and misdirected passion,
my spirit is starving for what i can’t feel,
why can’t i remember.
why can’t i remember.
breathe deep you’re sleeping awake.
wrapped again with life won’t you sing this praise.
He alone, yes He alone,
will lift, will raise, will shake these bones.
and i need you.
i need you, dance within me.
i need you, dance with me.
– laura mcelroy

Photography, prints, and paintings inspired by survivors’ stories lined the room. Proceeds from each piece sold went directly to Restore Innocence.

 

 

​The shop was buzzing with conversation well after performances ended. Creativity, community, and a little bit of coffee filled the places within us desiring more intent, spoke to our yearning for a life fulfilled, and united us by a common experience. Benefit events are an impactful way of rallying a community around causes so worth our attention. We gain more than we bargained for in the end; an interest in our neighbor + a shoulder to stand on. 

the world
gives you
so much pain
and here you are
making gold out of it

there is nothing purer than that 

– rupi kaur

On a Sunday evening, we gathered at Welcome Fellow Coffee in Colorado Springs for a benefit night. Anna Wolff, a student at the University of Colorado, united a masterpiece of creatives advancing Restore Innocence‘s efforts to end sex trafficking, calling the night ‘Freedom Proclaimed’.

​Through poetry, music, painting, photography, coffee and even baking, the community was intertwined with injustice, feeling closer to survivors of a relevant issue sometimes seemingly so distant. The heart behind the art pieces was to create work exuding messages of hope inspired by individual stories of survivors rescued through the program. Restore Innocence

 brings women out of sex slavery + into a restorative shelter in the Springs area.

Anna welcomed the room full of twenty-somethings into the evening, an aroma of purpose + fresh-baked bread filling the room.

Creatives from all areas of Colorado joined forces to spur on another in creating art for a purpose.

The power of creation speaks to our hearts more than facts sometimes; it says we are humans with beating hearts + we need to feel the suffering of the broken to walk alongside each other as equals. We need more than just numbers to wake up from our own comfort + dance with lament. We need emotion. We need empathetic hearts. We need acting hands.

A POEM

a letter to survivors

I could read you statistics, get you pissed wondering how could we miss
this? I could flash you tables and graphs give you a chance to grapple
with these beautiful people’s terrible pasts. yeah, I could do that. or, I
can stand here today and give praise to their strength. I can stand here
and give thanks, marvel at the determination of those who for so long
have taken the blame; made to feel shame. I see nothing shameful here
today, I only see the incredible people that have borne too much pain
and yet through it all, still remain–unchained. Unshackled; powerful,
stronger than me, stronger than anyone I’ve ever met, that should be
damn clear to see. their survival radiates a certain type of heat, a fire
that comes from knowing the value of life, a spark that spreads through
the hearts that brings a light to the dark, hope to those who don’t yet
know how beautiful they are. you matter. if to no one else, you matter
to me. wherever you are, however lost and alone, you are still the
master of your soul. your existence matters. allow yourself to glow,
radiate, illuminate, but refuse to ever let someone tell you that you are
anything less than great. greatness demands only that we understand
that strength thrives inside. our destinies are carved into our hearts once
we decide that we deserve our own existence. for every survivor of the
human trafficking trade, never let that spark go out – it’s your existence
that inspires us to be brave. keep surviving, we will keep fighting.

​- noah suess

A SONG

you’re still innocent

washed clean from all the sin

close your eyes it will all be over soon

keep your heart

you are so much more than used

oh God you will be made new

– andrew cooke + drew johnson

The room is filled with warm compassion, responsiveness, and appreciation.

Picture

 A SONG

trying hard not to roll her r’s
doing her best to play the part
all created equal is breaking her heart
maybe we could do our part
we ignore the things that bother our normalcy
it’s a cheap excuse and we’re bartering
trying hard not to fall apart
i don’t understand the gravity of this
i never will we never will
and that’s what kills
trying hard to understand
how this can be part of God’s plan
why would you create us to make this choice
to the culturally operated voiceless, who had no choice in this

​- aaron noble brown

A SONG

laura began with this passage from scripture as the inspiration behind her song.

ezekiel 37

the hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit
​of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.
he led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones
on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. he asked me, “son
of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘dry bones,
hear the word of the Lord! this is what the Sovereign Lord says to these
bones. I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach
tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin;
I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. then ou will know that
I am the Lord.'” ..so I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered
​them; they came to life and stood up on their feet–a vast army.

in hollows of hills

i’m down in this valley,
my arms long and thin
and all these skeletons they,
draw me in.
i’ve never seen daylight
it won’t venture the edge of these
terrible mountains that build up the hedge.
in hollows of hills bones lie,
their vibrance and color long died.
and I am among them, I stay,
among these unfortunate graves.
it’s dry here,
i’ve forgotten the taste of my blood.
the life wrapped around the veins in my limbs has long become one with the dust.
but the prophets do speak of a different reflection than dusty regret and misdirected passion,
my spirit is starving for what i can’t feel,
why can’t i remember.
why can’t i remember.
breathe deep you’re sleeping awake.
wrapped again with life won’t you sing this praise.
He alone, yes He alone,
will lift, will raise, will shake these bones.
and i need you.
i need you, dance within me.
i need you, dance with me.
– laura mcelroy

Photography, prints, and paintings inspired by survivors’ stories lined the room. Proceeds from each piece sold went directly to Restore Innocence.

 

 

​The shop was buzzing with conversation well after performances ended. Creativity, community, and a little bit of coffee filled the places within us desiring more intent, spoke to our yearning for a life fulfilled, and united us by a common experience. Benefit events are an impactful way of rallying a community around causes so worth our attention. We gain more than we bargained for in the end; an interest in our neighbor + a shoulder to stand on. 

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  1. Cara

    January 19th, 2017 at 8:54 am

    What an amazing event!

  2. Jennifer

    January 19th, 2017 at 9:24 am

    It always boggles my mind to think that sex trafficking goes on. It truly is so under the radar! Thanks to people like you who help bring this issue to light and raise awareness! My heart goes out to anyone who’s had to endure that kind of treatment. <3 Great post- and great documentation of a meaningful event.

  3. Emilyanne

    January 19th, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Beautiful event for an amazing cause!

  4. Melissa Mullins

    January 19th, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Looks like a great turn out for an important cause!

  5. Deziree Dufresne

    January 19th, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    What an amazing event for such an important cause! You captured it beautifully, and it’s so inspiring to see so many artists come together for this cause!

  6. Sunshine Lump

    January 19th, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    What a great event!

  7. Jennie

    January 20th, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Love that you included the artist’s work in your post!

  8. Abigail K

    January 20th, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    You did a great job of capturing this event, and I’m sure they all appreciate having these images for the cause!

  9. Michelle

    January 21st, 2017 at 10:56 am

    You documented this great impact event well! Love the images and how you included their words. It all speaks volumes.