I identify as a biracial woman of color who was born and raised in beautiful Colorado. I’m a first-generation student and earned my degree from Colorado State University. Throughout my studies I have found my passion for understanding the complexities of how communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by power–based interpersonal violence. I am invested in supporting survivors of color who are navigating a patriarchal system that has been designed to work against survivors. I believe in having an intersectional approach to advocacy and have been providing confidential trauma-informed care to survivors of power-based interpersonal violence for over 5 years in various positions and settings within higher education. I am excited to bring my knowledge and warm energy to the Healing and Advocacy Collective as a confidential Survivor Advocate. Some of my interests include attending live music gatherings, going on road trips, and getting the chance to express my creative side by playing with clay and throwing on the wheel.
A New Englander through and through, I grew up in Acton, MA and attended undergrad at Clark University in our neighboring city of Worcester. During my time studying Psychology, Studio Art, and Art History at Clark, I gravitated more and more toward social justice work, intersectional feminism, and community healing through art. I originally started my career in neuroscience, but quickly realized that I did not agree with how the field devalued individual experiences and viewed human beings as a collection of atypical symptoms to be fixed. I shifted toward community-based work and spent several years working at a group home for young adolescent mothers in Lowell. Through organizing and facilitating weekly arts and crafts activities for the young mothers and their children, I realized my true passion lay in healing through the arts.
I started my journey towards attaining my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy at Lesley University and haven’t looked back! I feel strongly that creative expression has endless potential for encouraging personal growth, fostering connection and community, and changing the world. Whether it be through music, theater, dance, movement, creative writing, poetry, or the visual arts, we all can benefit from exercises in imagination and creation. At the Healing and Advocacy Collective, I aspire to use those benefits in conjunction with mindfulness techniques to help alleviate the pervasive suffering caused by oppression, marinization, and power based interpersonal violence. In my own journey towards healing I prefer to express myself through poetry and the visual arts, but I have experienced profound shifts in awareness through exercises in movement, music, and drama as well.
I was born and raised overseas, and have lived in 3 different continents and several different states before moving to Massachusetts in August 2021. In every place that I’ve lived, I’ve found that my love for the arts has opened doors to new experiences, connections and community.
I have been a studio potter for 20 years, and I am passionate about sharing this. I love watching people of all ages and backgrounds fall in love with clay and its healing powers. I’ve led ceramic studio programs for children and young adults with special needs, for residents of assisted living facilities, at cancer support centers, for college students on study abroad programs, and for parents and teens.
I am currently in my second year of studies towards a masters in Mental Health Counseling at Lesley University, specializing in Art Therapy.
Having grown up in an area plagued by conflict, I am deeply committed to building peace, reconciliation, and healing. I have seen firsthand how powerful and life changing face-to-face encounters can be. Ever since they were young students, my parents were human rights, peace, and social justice activists, and I strive to follow in their footsteps, and to have my own words and actions carry on this message to my children.
I enjoy reading and throwing pots on the wheel-mugs are my absolute favorite thing to make. I love traveling, hiking and camping with my husband and 4 kids, having family jam sessions, game nights, lively conversations and lots of shared laughter and hugs.
I am a Louisiana transplant. So, I am a southern girl through and through. I identify as a Black Woman. While I am used to extreme levels of heat and humidity, I am not sure I am a huge fan of the snow at all. I moved to the Boston area for graduate school. I am a 2nd year at Lesley University in the Expressive Therapies Program. I am working towards my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with Drama Therapy. My bachelor’s degree is in Psychology and Theatre. Originally, my career involved working primarily in ABA, but I realized I did not agree with the foundational methods used within ABA. I started to gravitate more towards working with individuals diagnosed with eating disorders, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder. As someone who grew up as a theatre kid, I knew I had to find a way to merge my love of theatre and psychology.
Once I came to the realization that I wanted to help guide individuals towards transformation through the arts, I found my true passion. Personally, I tend to dabble in improvisational theatre, storytelling, narradrama, poetry, miming, and circus arts. I strongly believe that as we get older, and responsibilities pile up we lose our sense of play. A core technique in drama therapy is dramatic projection. Dramatic projection allows an individual to project or externalize aspects of themselves and their experiences toward the dramatic material (puppets, rocks, inanimate objects etc.). It is the process of externalizing inner narratives/conflicts and projected them into the play space to view things from a different perspective or change the narrative. From my lived experiences as a minority who was often silenced, one of my future career goals is to amplify the voices of marginalized groups and give them a safe enough space to feel heard with no judgement. At the Healing and Advocacy Collective, I would like to incorporate my passion for curating safe enough spaces, theatre and the arts to help alleviate the tensions caused by “the elephant in the room”, trauma, marginalization, and power based interpersonal violence.
My experiencing and witnessing systemic inequities drive my commitment to anti-oppression and liberation work. I believe in the transformative power of communities coming together in the service of work that holds space with one another, reduces harm, creates material change, and fosters individual and collective liberation for people on the margins. I have been an advocate and prevention educator for over 15 years. I enjoy exploring, learning, reading, being in nature, walking with my dog Truman, and facilitating trauma-informed yoga. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together” (Aboriginal Activists Group, Queensland, 1970’s).
Truman is the friendly beagle with Healing & Advocacy.
- Birthday: May 8, 2015
- Likes: visiting with people, long walks, naps in the sun, sniffing for rabbits, and peanut butter treats.
- Truman and Melanie are a certified therapy dog team.
- “Dogs: It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them” (John Grogan, author of Marley & Me)
- Instagram: @trumantales