Collaborative Communicators is a two-year project funded by People’s Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery West Midlands. The project is run as part of WE:ARE's range of programmes and resources to support domestic abuse survivors’ in Birmingham. The project uses a mix of weekly peer support sessions and fortnightly workshops to increase members’ confidence, self-esteem and sense of empowerment.
As part of this ongoing project the participants have started a monthly newsletter. Jo Willis, Collaborative Communicators Project Lead, shares how the Warrior Wisdom newsletter came about and how it is helping people build vital connections.
“One of our objectives this year was to increase the involvement of the women we work with in the design and delivery of the project. With lockdown came the challenge of how this could be achieved. Throughout the year, the women were encouraged to join a private Facebook group, share ideas and resources digitally and attend workshops. However, it always felt more could be done to include the women across the digital divide, and so the newsletter idea was born.
It was first pitched to the women to see if they would be interested in writing or reading it. The name, Warrior Wisdom and the logo were the results of competitions, designed and voted on by the women. Whilst I am there for support, the newsletter is edited by one of our women who used to work in publishing and the articles are chosen and written by a small team. There is a core team with other writers dipping in and out.
Articles cover a range of subjects from financial abuse, women in history, poetry, recipes, trauma informing stories, book reviews, workshops and more. As the newsletter is written by warrior women for warrior women it provides another opportunity for connection.
One woman has said in response to being part of the newsletter team that ‘it’s great to feel that our opinions matter and are valued’. One of the readers commented to say ‘just wanna thank you for allowing us to feel like we're even able to be part of an empowering newsletter...and how much hope and understanding this will have for all of us warrior women.’
At the time of writing there have been five editions of the newsletter, and I look forward to seeing where the women take us within future issues.”
Below are examples of published work in the newsletter from women involved in the project
Sarah Everard, by Diamond
Here's yet another death you may find hard,
And that's the death of Sarah Everard,
All she ever wanted to do is just to be left alone,
Not stalked kidnapped and murdered on the way home,
Yet here we are yet again,
Another family left in torture and pain,
We need heavier sentences to be deployed,
Whose going to pick up the pieces to all the lives its destroyed,
Just another family left in deep states of trauma,
When are these criminals going to get harder sentences we need justice as karma, all she ever wanted was to just be left alone,
Not stalked kidnapped then murdered on her way home,
This one should really hit everyone of us hard,
Say her name
Say her name
Inspirational women in history
In June 25, 2013, Texas were due to vote on a bill that would have seen the closure of 37 Out of the states 42 sexual health clinics, which provided pro-choice facilities.
In order to stop people being able to vote on the bill, absolute legend, Wendy Davis, a Texas senator decided that she would do the only thing she could, and filibustered her heart out. Filibustering in this case Is someone talks on a subject at length in order to tie up the people involved so that they can’t vote before the deadline.
Wendy Davis talked for a massive 10hours and 45mins during which she was not allowed have food or water, sitting or even lean on something and definitely no toilet breaks. She also wasn’t allowed to digress from the debate, and filled her time reading testimonies from the thousands of women who would be affected from the clinic closures.
The bill didn’t go through (that time) and Wendy showed, again, exactly how far women are willing to go and the strength that we have when it comes to standing up and fighting for our rights against a patriarchal government.