Ms. E is the activist and advocate you need to know.
On any given day in Kansas City, Missouri, Ms. E — as she prefers to be called — is working for her community. She is a fierce and passionate leader who works as hard as she leads. If you blink, you may miss her. That’s how busy she is and how fast she moves from one meeting, activity, press conference or work site. Or preparing to move into her completed office. Our Health Matters caught up with Ms. E. on a recent Saturday morning in October, where she was overseeing her youth mentoring program, Young Kings and Princesses.
Ms. E started G.Y.R.L. (Giving Yourself Real Love) almost 20 years ago to bring more awareness about domestic violence. G.Y.R.L. provides support and resources to domestic violence survivors, and also mentors young girls and women. This cause is personal to Ms. E. “I am a survivor of domestic violence trauma,” she explains. “I saw my father physically abuse my mother when I was a child. I heard her screams and cries. All these years later, those images are still vivid in my mind.” As she provides service to other survivors and their families, she’s also been on her own healing journey.
Ms. E’s feelings are borne out through numbers from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). One in 5 women report having experienced physical violence from an intimate partner. Those incidences of violence often leave children caught in the crosshairs and the trauma from witnessing an event affects them as if they were physically abused.
She is on a mission to end the secrecy and silence around domestic violence and G.Y.R.L is doing just that, one project and initiative at a time. As we leave the youth mentoring group, Ms. E asks me to meet her over on 38th & Chestnut where she is rehabbing a home that will serve as a temporary, emergency shelter for women escaping domestic violence. “We plan to temporarily shelter 7 women and 14 families,” Ms. E says. “Our goal is to have the work completed and the shelter open by winter.”
Ms. E says her office fields 30-40 daily requests for help with housing. “There is a great need in our community for this type of support and we are working hard to provide support and services these families need.” Monetary donations and in-kind support helps Ms. E to continue making a difference.
For more information call 816-622-2927. Be sure to Like and Follow GYRL “Hands off domestic violence and abuse” on Facebook.
Watch TV interview from Fox 4 News story.