SAGE survivors inspired vigil and each other

Last week, women survivors from our SAGE group held a vigil in the Garth Courtyard of Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church. Survivors, advocates, providers, and community members were in attendance to hear testimony and gather resources and inspiration to help create more survivors of prostitution before they are killed in the violent sex trafficking industry.

SAGE Leader Tammy Gaultney at Vigil

Hi, it’s me Tammy, blogging again.

The August 22 vigil was an exciting event for the survivors who attended. It was powerful. I felt positive energy from everyone. I think it went great. And it went smooth. Everyone came together with compassion and support. 

I’m proud to be a part of SAGE. The audience was attentive to my story, and to Kelly’s story. People came to us after our testimonies; people came to us with praise and told us we did well. It was a good overwhelming feeling, to receive praise from the Sunlight Project organization, and compliments from a lot of other people telling me thanks for telling my story. I hope that as I told my story that I had made a difference in the world.

I was filled with joy to see my friends from the recovery center at Haymarket go up to the microphone during the open mic to say they are survivors. That’s very encouraging to see such determination for recovery. I’m glad people wanted to take my survivors’ manuals home with them.

I asked the other SAGE members for their thoughts on the vigil. Here is what they said:

Lavida M.: “I’m thankful that people like me have come together to help the ones behind me to let them know that they don’t have to do the things I have done to fulfill their needs.”

Rachel M.: “I want the public to know those women are not criminals. They have mothers and fathers, and some survived and some didn’t.”

Leeanna Majors: “It was awesome. It was about creating survivors. I would like to thank everyone for coming.”

Kelly J.: “These women & men are worth it we need to come together for more survivors.”