We believe that working together, with those who also believe in true justice, strengthens our impact, and brings us closer to the change we require.
Wrongful Conviction Summit
Wrongful convictions are an all too regular part of our society. Worse yet, there are so many people who remain ignorant of the frequency and true cost of being a victim of this atrocity. To address this, Survivors Speak began hosting the annual Wrongful Conviction Summit in 2019, inviting individuals, families, legislators, and community members. It provides a platform to connect, share ideas, and unify in a push for improved legislation to support exonerees and those who remain unjustly incarcerated.
Wrongful Conviction Support Group/Taskforce
To further support those who have been wrongfully convicted, we created the Wrongful Conviction Support Group, which gathers once a month via Zoom to provide an opportunity for victims to share their story, gather help for reacclimating with society, and foster an environment that promotes healing.
Getting Real About Race Community Forum
Racial inequalities are no secret in our modern world, and we host our annual Getting Real About Race Community Form to provide an outlet for several speakers to communicate their personal experiences and expertise on the topics of race, reparations, racial equity, and other topics. Tim Wise, our usual keynote speaker, does an incredible job at inspiring attendees to actively push for change, both within themselves and within their community. Our community forum is an all-day event that also bolsters positive, inspiring musical and spoken performances.
Pull Up/Turn Up Series and Civic Duty Education Nights
Survivors Speak is all about community, and we display that proudly with our Pull Up/Turn Up Series and Civic Duty Education Nights, which actively engage community members in their own neighborhoods. For these events, we focus on areas of Ypsilanti which are often neglected. We share resources with participants and help propagate health, civic duty, and voting in a way that’s designed to be fun. Grant funding from the United Way Justice Fund and the Black Voters Matter Fund helped to provide dining, activities, and even a video game truck during our 2022/2023 events!
Juneteenth is a holiday that we here at Survivors Speak hold near to our hearts, and we proudly display this during the Juneteenth Celebrations! We work with the city of Ypsilanti and other community organizations, such as the Puffer Reds, to make these celebrations possible. In 2023, we help host over 1500 participants and vendors for the celebration, which lasted three days!
Community Healing Spaces and Community Protests
Healing is at the core of our mission, and we strive to live up to the words that are displayed on our bumper stickers “we are a threat to injustice!" to support this value, we organize and participate actively in activist protests, and create healing spaces for victims of a myriad of community tragedies. From giving a voice to women currently incarcerated at the Huron Valley Women’s Correctional Facility to organizing at a city council meeting to try and influence a critical vote. If there’s a change to be made, we’re going to be there to drive it.
ONE TIME INITIATIVES
Serve Our Seniors
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Survivors Speak realized that our local elderly individuals were perhaps the most vulnerable groups. Recognizing this vulnerability, Survivors Speak immediately snapped into action, and secured funding and volunteers to deliver crucial items, such as everyday cleaning supplies, right to their doorsteps. This action not only impacted the seniors in an incredibly positive way, but also our volunteers, one of whom is quoted as saying “this was more than just dropping off bleach and paper towels. When I would show up, masked and distanced, most people just wanted to visit for a bit. The isolation of the pandemic was super hard, so being a bright spot in someone’s day was so impactful-for both of us.”
ONE TIME INITIATIVES
School of Focus: Estabrook
Children are a vital part of our communities, and when Survivors Speak’s Youth Programming Committee (a branch of our Ingrid’s Angels volunteer corner), saw an opportunity to make a difference they made it happen. Working with the social worker at Estabrook Elementary School, they launched a three-prong initiative for the school: 1) they secured funding to purchase clothing to increase the availability of emergency outfit changes for kids who may need them. 2) The provided a surplus of snacks to help keep kids focused for a math curriculum night. 3) Working closely with Brush Rite Painting, Maker Works, Chelsea Lumber, and Anderson Paint Company, “buddy benches” were built to support social and emotional connections and well-being in the Estabrook community.
ONE TIME INITIATIVES
Black Lives Matter Murals
Not only is artistic expression a powerful healing tool, but it can also serve to deliver a message. Working with the Black Lives Matter Mural collective, four large murals were created (two in Ypsilanti and two in Ann Arbor), to help deliver the powerful message behind the Black Lives Matter movement.