Q&A with Tomieka Daniel
City of Residence: Warner Robins
Occupation: Supervising attorney, Georgia Legal Services Project
QUESTION: Youve put together Secrets & Stilettos: Saving Our Sisters. Whats it about?
ANSWER: Its a domestic violence information and prevention program for girls and women from 3-5 p.m. on Sept. 7. Were addressing other issues girls and women face like sexual exploitation. Its going to be a fun, girls afternoon out.
QUESTION: Those arent exactly fun topics.
ANSWER: Thats why were purposefully making it fun and a little light. We want to remove the stigma and make it an enjoyable event where you can still learn.
QUESTION: Whos invited?
ANSWER: All girls and women 13 and up. Its great for school teachers and counselors, church youth group leaders, sororities, mothers and daughters -- everybody.
QUESTION: You say mothers and daughters, so it has a family aspect?
ANSWER: We dont shy away from sensitive issues but address them in a sensitive way, so yes, its family oriented. Its funny. So many parents say they dont want their children to know about these things, but the fact is, their kids could tell them a thing or two. Our digital-age kids know a lot more about violence and abuse, sexting and related issues than their parents. We want to bring people together to get good information to spark conversations at home and among friends. It could help them or their friends who might be in abusive situations now or in the future.
QUESTION: So its not just for victims?
ANSWER: Absolutely not. Youre not identifying as a victim if you come, youre identifying as someone who cares. But sure, victims are welcome and can get help. Some may come and find out theyre victims.
QUESTION: Explain that.
ANSWER: In my work, I speak to youth and groups around the state, and all too often a girl will come up and say, You mean its wrong if they treat me this way?
In our culture a lot of girls, a lot of young girls and women, think the way theyre treated is OK when really its abuse. Media and culture have made abuse, violence and what some women are made to do sound common and OK, but it is absolutely not OK. Ive had a girl as young as 11 talk to me about being a victim of date violence, which is one of the things we address.
QUESTION: You mentioned your work, what is it?
ANSWER: Georgia Legal Services is a nonprofit, statewide law firm that represents low-income and elderly clients in civil cases. I also speak in schools around the state.
QUESTION: What will the afternoon be like? Is it free?
ANSWER: It is free, but I ask people RSVP me by Friday at 478-751-6500 ext. 6260 to let me know theyre coming. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well have door prizes, food vendors and make-up people as well as access to social services. We have a wonderful nationally renowned speaker, Lisa Williams, who was a victim of sexual exploitation and now has founded Living Water for Girls.
QUESTION: The event isnt all your doing. You have sponsors.
ANSWER: Its sponsored by the Flint Energies Foundation, Georgia Legal Services and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. It grew out of my work and being an Alpha Kappa Alpha. Weve done it for two years, and Ive bummed donations off a lot of my lawyer friends to put it together. We have a lot of community members and organizations helping out.
ANSWER: The Galleria Conference Center at Houston County Galleria mall in Centerville and again, Sept 7, 3 to 5 (p.m.).
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at email@example.com.