Artists ‘speak’ for abuse victims
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Just Speak, a non-profit organization supporting the victims of child sexual abuse, will celebrate their 10th anniversary on Nov. 30 with an evening of music, poetry and art. The concert will take place from 8-11:30 p.m. at the 5e Gallery inside the Cass Corridor Commons, located at 4605 Cass Ave. Detroit.
Scheduled to perform are Monica Blaire, Steffanie Christi’an, D.S.Sense, LaShaun Phoenix Moore, ‘Nique LoveRhodes, Mic Write, Insite the Riot, Miz Korona, Brittany Ware, Cold English, Dionna Lady Chosen, Natasha, King Kold, Cinetic Energy and Peace, with sounds by DJ Dez and DJ Stacye J, and live painting by Flaco Shalom.
Just Speak founder Brittni Kellom says the purpose of the concert is “not just for child sexual abuse, but is a way of getting people involved in the community by having artists and advocacy meet.” Just Speak was founded by Kellom in 2003, who had survived sexual and emotional abuse for four years of her childhood. The organization’s mission statement is to “empower young survivors of child abuse, sexual assault or neglect; as well as the community by serving as a voice advocating against child abuse for children using a holistic approach.” Services of the organization include legal, medical and psychological support for abuse victims and emotional and educational development activities through the arts.
For child victims, finding a voice after the abuse can be very difficult, and silence leads only to more suffering. “We’re cultivating that, because we believe you have to have a voice,” Kellom told the Michigan Citizen. “And that is what Just Speak does; it cultivates a voice for young people. And through our youth facilitated groups, primarily Out Loud (for the 13 to 18 year old audience), we’re doing a lot of interactive theater, art therapy, writing poems, a lot of free writes. So, by the end, they develop a sense of resiliency through all of these different outlets.”
The evening’s lineup for the D. Blair Theater stage includes some of Detroit’s greatest rising stars in hip hop, R&B, rock, jazz, funk and poetry. Tickets are $10 and food will also be available.
For more information about Just Speak, visit www.JustSpeak.org.