To the Warrior Women of Wellspring

Had the privilege of sharing this poem at the Wellspring Living Gala this past Saturday. Wellspring Living is an organization here in Atlanta that provides a home and recovery place for girls and women who are coming out of sex trafficking. When I first heard about the issue of sex trafficking I assumed it was happening overseas, but through Wellspring I found out that underage girls are being trafficked overseas and here in the states, with Atlanta being one of the biggest trafficking centers in the US. I never could have imagined that sex trafficking is happening right here in counties and on streets I visit all the time. 

I have been volunteering at Wellspring for four years or so doing a poetry writing session with the girls there who are between 12 and 17 years old. Two graduates of Wellspring were honored with a Butterfly Award at the Gala and I shared this poem to honor them and the many women who are survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. I wrote many of these lines while in session with the girls as we wrote about shoes, faith, starting over, and what we would be like if we could be superheroes. :) The young women I write with are brilliant and they continue to inspire me. They are my sheroes. 

Warrior Women of Wellspring
To the brave warrior women of Wellspring
Life has left you with stripes
But they are not scars
They are war paint
A reminder that you are more than a survivor
You are living inspiration
Breaking out of a cocoon
Stretching wings to embrace the sky and fly

You are brave
Carrying courage with you always
Wearing resilience around your shoulders
Taking every step with tenacity

Let your determination 
To not let your future be defined by your past remind you
That you don’t have to fit into a mold anyone builds for you
That you don’t have to walk this journey alone
You are loved, you are worthy
That in the arms of God we all have a place to belong
Use your voice
Speak your truth
Love yourself
Be yourself
Be an original
Be unique
Continue to grow, hope, succeed
Believe until your dreams come true
Be who God created you to be

To the brave warrior women of wellspring
I look up to you
Thank you for teaching me what strength looks like
For showing me how to stretch my own wings and learn to fly