James Baldwin once wrote: "trouble means you are alone".
Being unsafe means being unable to get anyone, anywhere, to help you.
Danger is when you're about to take a hit, and my family is in danger.
This is not a cutesy posed photo from a "project" in the Dominican republic. It is a miracle in action. It is the change that you want to see in the world. But beyond the bars in the background, over half of them leave the shelter each night and navigate a level of danger that I can no longer accept. You are looking at my family, and at any moment, any one of them will likely take a hit.
I've traveled back and forth since last year, each time holding babies, giggling with language barriers, singing, sharing meals. They embrace me. I know the smells of the heads of the babies falling asleep on my chest. But over and over, I've had to sit at home in America and pay my bills and run my film company knowing that, at any moment, their lives can be torn apart all over again.
No matter how safe we make their environment, it only takes one estranged relative, likely with an addiction issue and their own trauma, to show up and shatter lives. The case we've been prosecuting is pivotal. It is a man who is fundamentally incapable of living in any kind of society without violently imposing himself sexually upon others. But he has many allies, and the threats are accelerating. He has trafficked, raped and brutalized all of his children in ways none of us could imagine on our own.
1 week ago, a man walked into Casa Azul, sat down at the kitchen table, and told the director that he will to return with (bribed) police, kidnap the 2 smallest babies, and hold them hostage until he received a ransom. He repeated this threat 2 more times before leaving. If anyone could carry it out easily, it would be him. He's worked with the center for years and has known the babies since they were born.
The Batey Rehab Project (BRP) is the only organization that I am aware of, worldwide, that succeeds across the entire spectrum of humanitarian response and post-traumatic human development. Like most organizations that respond to human trafficking, BRP provides reconnaissance, intervention, rescue, advocacy and prosecution supports. But unlike any organization we've found, BRP provides the umbrella of supports, resources and protection necessary to restore whole families (2 generations at a time), and break the intergenerational cycles of extreme poverty and violence. This means that we hold babies, build homes, provides full employment + benefits, trauma-informed care reproductive and mental health, education, spiritual and emotional supports to each woman in their program. The result is healing, empowerment and the resurrection of whole human beings.
This is one of the many threats that the women and children I work with face, but his familiarity with every weakness in the compound and its programming increase the danger considerably. The organization does its work very, very well. This fundraiser is specifically tied to the security of the compound and safety of the women and children in our program.
1) Cash to secure the women and children, while prosecuting perpetrators. To do this for all of our girls (currently there are 5 women who return to extremely vulnerable conditions at night), we need to quickly construct a shelter on our existing property to give the women that are in danger a safe home that doesn't separate mothers from their children (BRP operates the only shelter in the DR that keeps families together) and urgently triple mental health support on the ground.
2) Boots on the ground - Retired or otherwise available to serve, ideally Spanish speaking, military leadership or special ops or other relevant trained professionals who have enormous integrity and humility. We aren’t looking for hero’s. We need people who know how to secure physical spaces and transport scenarios.
3) Army of Love - Hosts who will receive me, and individuals who will duplicate my efforts. I am on the road with a film, slideshow and discussion that changes lives. It’s not a pitch, its a journey through the heart. Homes are a wonderful way to hold these discussions. Especially those who would like me to share in universities and churches, please contact me first before making introductions so that you have more information.
4) Contacts at the State Department - or any contacts that can bridge between US influence and resources and the few, rare individuals in the power structure in the DR who can help us get steady visibility to consulates and international missions that are secure/state sponsored.