Updated: Mar 15, 2021


The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) hosted its third annual art exhibit titled “Connect, Care, Create: Healing Collective Trauma through Art.” This digital exhibit took place during the City’s annual observance of the global campaign, 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) which seeks to raise awareness and inspire action at the community level. For this year, their goal is to expand their exhibit to explore the process of healing from interpersonal and structural forms of violence, particularly as we endure the COVID-19 and racial injustice pandemics. Their platform serves to support diverse groups of artists who create works on gender-based violence and its impact on individuals, families and communities, and now also including this year’s major life shifts that have created ripples of impact on our communities.

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Special thank you to photographer/creative Laurel Abbott for inviting us into this amazing space and highlighting founder Leonora M. in her "Love Thy Hair" series.


Permission to be a black, first generation woman in America. Permission to be told that I live in the land of the free but denied access to freedom, shipped into a box full of limitations, racism, judgement, struggles that you may never understand unless you live it and fear. Not knowing where my destination will be, because every day I’m taking a risk by just being me. When did you get permission to love everything about what I represent but hate me merely for being born, with God’s permission to be black? I boldly give my permission to love that. I love being black. I love being a black woman!

I wake up everyday and give myself permission to love every part of me, to heal, to not be okay and feel like I have to be okay. To seek therapy even when my culture tries to deny the validity. I give myself permission to break those chains. To love at my free will and not be bonded by my parent’s trauma, outdated beliefs and limitations of what my life should look like. I give myself permission to boldly be me and teach them otherwise. To accept myself in all spaces and feel comfortable at any table because I belong there. I give myself permission to accept all layers of who I am. There are so many pieces to my puzzle, and I love them all the same. I give myself permission to name my trauma and learn my triggers. Permission to take my power back from the man who stripped me of it at such a young age. I give myself permission to finally… finally…forgive you. I give myself permission to forgive myself.

Permission to be a creative. To create. To build my legacy. Permission to create generational wealth. Permission to be strong enough to overcome all obstacles and be successful on my terms. Permission to use my voice. My art my power. Permission to be all that I am MADE of!

Permission to inspire and walk in my purpose

Permission for you to walk away if it is too much for you.

Permission for me to be okay with that.

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