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Trigger Warning – Taking Direct Action in our Scene

Trigger Warning was born in response to domestic violence in our scenes and sexual violence in our culture… but it is growing to something so much more. 
Trigger Warning is a direct-action-show series in which a targeted demographic is encouraged to take the stage for the night.   Speakers tell their stories of overcoming a life of adversity by whatever artistic means they choose.
The goal is to empower the marginalized and provide the audience with resources.  To give people who normally don’t have a voice, a platform with which to speak, and those who want to help, an opportunity to learn, listen and heal.
Each event that is hosted chooses a cause or organization that will receive the donations from the evening.   The cause or organization is chosen by the target group speaking.  The target group speaking also provides those in attendance with educational material and resources to take home with them.  It is an excellent way to provide survivors with healing and allies with education. By giving back to the community, everyone benefits.
Trigger Warning is about all of us caring enough about each other to show up and have an uncomfortable conversation.
Or to just listen and be present. Some real tough love shit.
This is what it looks like in action.

The first event in this series took place on Nov 8th, 2018 at Connie’s Ric Rac in South Philadelphia.

Marion- speaker/comment box director/co-organizer * Photo credit: Erin Incoherent

 

The target speaking group were survivors of sexual abuse and/or domestic violence.
‘Women Against Abuse’ was the non-profit chosen to receive the donations.  A list of currently accepted donations was circulated with the flyers and event pages for Trigger Warning. Items included yoga mats, crochet needles/yarn, bras of all sizes, journals, art supplies.  An array of different life effects. Each participant could tailor their choice of donation.

Erin Incoherent- speaker/event coordinator/singer * Photo credit: Olivia Pawling

Resources provided for the evening included: Philadelphia’s domestic violence (DV) hotline cards, pamphlets on identifying DV/ways to help, purple ribbons and bracelets to stand in solidarity against DV, and tear-away phone number posters, hung in bathrooms to allow a private resource for those who might need it.

Resource Table (*resources provided by: http://www.womenagainstabuse.org And http://www.phillypolice.com/programs-services/domestic-violence/ )

A comment box was made and audience members who didn’t want to speak publically were encouraged to write something for the box to be later read by one of the target group speakers.
Those who came filled buckets with their donations. 120 items collected in all, with another $107 in cash donated.

Jonny Degenerate- speaker/writer * Photo credit: Erin Incoherent

Connie’s Ric Rac donated cheaper venue rates for the evening.
It was almost as if every way you turned, you saw people ready to help however they could. What a powerful notion realizing everybody could help in such different yet equally meaningful ways.
One by one we took the stage. Each performance moving and magical in a different way. Everybody tackling the topic of their abuse from such a different perspective. Everybody hurt together and everybody celebrated the strength it took to overcome. People cheered with gratitude and shook their heads in anguish.

Donations Collected

Audience members were periodically invited to come to speak if they felt so compelled.
It felt like a new beginning at the end of the night.
It felt like we had all gone through something together and made it out to the other side alright.
It felt like we were more equipped to handle this kind of content and process it in an empathetic way.
It felt like the start of a big thing about to move out in all different directions.

We are currently booking more Trigger Warning events in and around Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Upcoming target groups to look forward to include:
  • Living with a physical disability
  • Life after addiction
  • My mental illness
  • Gender is Fiction
Wanna speak?
Have a venue?
Support a cause?
An idea for a target group?
Got donations?
There are just so many ways you can help.
Get in touch to get involved!
Time to get personal, motherfuckers.
See ya at the next event ✊

Gallery Photo 1:  Bex Waring- speaker/singer  (Photo credit: Erin Incoherent)
Gallery Photo 2: Olivia Pawling- speaker/performance artist (Photo credit: Milana)
Gallery Photo 3: AlxZandria- speaker/singer-songwriter (Photo credit: Erin Incoherent)

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