This is a very serious issue that I couldn’t help but to address and post here.
About a week ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing a very strong woman for http://www.onestophiphopshop.com. Her name is Lilly Renee, and she is a domestic violence survivor. She has a story that will move you, and really make you want to take a stand to help people all over who are going through an abusive situation.
On March 13th, Ms. Lilly Renee is hosting a red carpet charity event for her 30th birthday in hopes to raise money for A Safe Place Women’s Shelter. Local artist like Erk Tha Jerk, Netta Brielle, London, Mac Arthur, and R.O.D will be performing, as well as a fashion show by J.Rachelle. Please come out, show your support, and be part of making a difference.
For more information about this event and to get your tickets please visit http://www.eventbrite.com/event/587051888.
Please take a moment to read the interview I did with the lovely Ms.Lilly Renee.
When you think of the word “Love”, what are you first thoughts? Like majority of the people in the world, you paint a very vivid colorful picture of what you think love is; one that gives a euphoric feeling. But should love inflict physical or mental pain? No, that is filed under ABUSE.
Derived from jealousy and possessiveness, mental and physical abuse in relationships is unfortunately not an uncommon thing. Outsiders looking in are left with a question mark over their head wondering how or why a person would continue to be in a situation so toxic. In fear of being embarrassed and having judgment placed upon them, the person who is being abused usually never speaks about what is or what has happened to them; it’s kept a secret. Fortunately they’re people who have taken a stand and are speaking in hopes of helping others. I have had the pleasure of interviewing a very courageous young woman who is stepping out into her community to tell her story, Ms Lilly Renee. In the short period of time that we spoke, I instantly received the impression that she is a sweet, ambitious, caring, and beautiful person on both the inside and out. A person would find it hard to believe that she is soon turning 30 because her level of maturity is well beyond its years. During the interview we touched on subjects like, what is currently going on in her life, how victims of domestic violence are getting younger, and her upcoming event to raise money for A Safe Place, a shelter for women who are victims of domestic abuse. Not only is Lilly a voice in her community, she is also a mother of 3, holds down a full-time job, and sings back up for Netta Brielle. She is a true inspiration to all, and living proof that anything is possible.
Tell me what got you involved in wanting to help A Safe Place?
So basically next week I’m turning 30, and to me this is a milestone in my life. I wanted to do something significant not only for myself but also for my community, that was first and foremost. So for me to do that, I wanted to do something that was near to my own heart. I was married for 9 years, and it was in a very abusive relationship. So I decided some time ago that I wanted to reach back and help as many young people as possible to spread the word that “yeah I went through that situation but I made it out”. So this event is my campaign to talk about it, and if I have to be the face of survivors, then I’ll do that. So the purpose of this event is to increase awareness. The organization that we are working together with is called A Safe Place, and it’s the only shelter for victims of domestic violence in Oakland, and they are actually in jeopardy of closing their doors due to budget cuts. So when I found that information out, I knew that that was the organization that I wanted to go with. I contacted the executive director and she was so thrilled that someone actually thought of their organization and wanted to do something, and she is 100 percent on board. She is going to attend the event, and she is going to speak about the organization in her own words to raise awareness, and I think that will be great, because we need people who will stand up and speak out. I’m also a local singer, so I know quite a few people in the music world in the Bay Area. I have asked quite a few people to attend and to perform, and everyone has come together more than willing to help and pitch in to do whatever they can for this cause and for this organization. So it’s just proving that we can come together as the urban hip hop scene and do something for a great cause. No one is charging, people are giving their time to push the event, and just working together. It all plays hand in hand. So that’s what we’re doing.
That’s good!! So just to make sure that I have this right, The event is on March 13th?
Yes that’s a Saturday.
So does the shelter offer any programs that can help the victims of domestic violence? Any kind of counseling?
From my understanding they do have the counseling, and they also assist when the woman is ready to move out, they’ll assist with items; little things that you wouldn’t even think of. Towels, pots and pans, items to get them back on their feet. They will also give clothes and shoes, they’ll buy groceries for them. So they’re pretty much there to provide shelter and help them get back on their feet once they’re ready to move on. So it’s a great resource to have in the community.
It is a great resource! So even after the event takes place, how can a person continue to donate to the shelter?
They have a website and you can donate directly (www.asafeplacedvs.org). There’s a link on the website, and you can donate whatever you like. And they also have a list of wish list items. They do need things such as hangers, and a fax machine. So they’ll put wish list items on the site and people can donate according to the list.
Domestic violence victims are getting younger and younger every day and kids are taking their relationships very serious. What are some of the warning signs that young people and anyone in general should look for to prevent themselves from being a domestic violence victim?
I would say if you’re in a relationship with a guy, or either way, and they have a tendency to be overly jealous, that definitely is a red flag. Jealousy leads to anger, and it’s not to say that a jealous person will turn abusive, but it’s something to watch out for. If you can’t go out and hang out with your friends because their upset, that in its self is a abuse, because you start to feel as if you have to give up certain things, or stop hanging out with certain people because you want to make this person happy. That for me, I would say is the major first signs, just an overly jealous and possessive type person. Separating you from friends and family, just separating you from the things you like to do. They’re not encouraging of certain things like if you want to go to school, or want to get a better job. Those are just a few red flags that can lead up to certain things.
So now that you have broken away from what you went through; going through the abusive relationship. Explain how you feel now.
I’m a completely different person! When I was in the relationship, I had dreams, I had all the goals in mind, but I didn’t feel as though I could make those things happen, and first and foremost because I didn’t have that encouragement. I had someone telling me that I couldn’t do it, I felt defeated before I could get started when I was in the relationship. It took something to happen to me personally in the relationship for me to say, “No, I do deserve to get out there, and I know in my heart that I want to help, I want to sing, and I want to encourage”. I knew that I was going to have to take a step out. And so once I made that decision, I blew from there. It was definitely a struggle to start all over from scratch. I walked away with my children, and with nothing but the clothes on our back, but I didn’t give up. I knew this is something that I had to do in order to get ahead in life. Either I was going to stay in that situation and never accomplish my goals and my dreams, or I was going to get out and take that step out on faith and make it happen. So from there once I left, I was able to get myself a job, get myself a place to stay, and take care of my children by myself. He actually is not around; he is not supportive ‘til this day, but that does not stop me. This is the path that I choose, so I gotta do it! I just make it happen basically. It’s not easy, but I know this is what I have to do. But it’s a wonderful feeling, because I set out to do it and I’m accomplishing things, and I’m accomplishing goals. I always wanted to help my community, and at my job I’m able to do so many things for the community. Last holiday season that just passed, I actually started an event, I work for Kaiser, and so I started a coat drive within my entire building. I made flyers, and had barrel bins. So basically for an entire month I had a campaign going, and I raised 450 coats and donated them to the homeless for Thanksgiving. That actually was my third time doing that, and the largest amount that I have collected. So every year I see myself growing and doing more the community. I help out with the American Heart Association too every year within my department. I form a team of people and we walk the Oakland Heart Walk, and last year we rose over $3000.00 for the organization, and I was the team captain for that. So just things in my heart that I know I want to do as far as giving back and helping my community, I’m able to do that now. I know that this is not where I plan on settling, I clearly see my vision for my future and nothing stops me now but me. And all lights are green basically.
Wow! Just hearing you speak about certain things that you’re doing, and things that you have gone through; you are a true source of inspiration. Have ever thought of writing a book or going around speaking?
Yes! And that’s the wonderful thing about this new lease in my life. I have to say that with me turning 30, and doing this event, I know that this is just the beginning for me in this area, speaking out against domestic violence. So like I said, if I have to be the face of survivors, speaking to the youth, speaking to young women, and speaking to women in general, then that is what I will do. A broken down person is a broken down person, someone that need to be encouraged is someone that need to be encouraged. So whoever I need to speak to, I’m willing and I’m ready. It took me to swallow my pride and knowing this is a purpose. I didn’t go through that for nothing, I know that I went through that because God wanted to put me here, because he knew that I would speak out, and he knew I would give back. The director at A Safe Place actually invited me to come and speak, and I’m ready, this is just the beginning. The night of the event I plan to present the organization with an oversized check for the amount of money that we raised. But before I present it, I’m going to speak; I’m going to tell a little bit about myself. Because everyone pretty much now is like “who is Lilly”. On the night of the event I plan on saying something like why I choose to do this and what I over came. I’ll have a audience , people to listen, and that’s really what I want, because you never know who’s going through it, who went through it, who just needed someone to listen to them. Once I started doing this event, and promoting it, a lot of young women reached out and told me that they’ve experienced it, or their going through it [abuse]. So I’m already in the position I wanted to be in, as far as being able to help and speak out. So yeah, I’m going to talk and share my story until I don’t have a voice anymore.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
I can’t even express the happiness that comes over me, because of the community support, it’s just flowing in. All of the promoters, the people that I have made friendships with, they’re all just willing to help and it’s just amazing. Play Date is helping the event and just a lot of support from everyone. I would like to say thank you to the artists that are performing. Erk tha Jerk, Netta Brielle, Matt Blaque, R.O.D, Mac Arthur, and London, also J. Rachelle Fashions. All of these people coming together and giving their time, I just really appreciate them. As well as East Bay Loop has been a significant sponsor with this entire event. I could not have done this without their help and their support. As well as J.E Media Group; J.E has been there when I was stressed out, and he definitely has helped me gather my thoughts, and helped put this together as well. I could not have done it without a fabulous team of people, and I just have to tell them that. We have so many sponsors I can’t even name them all. No Four Corners is helping out, their doing an interview as well, and they are also a sponsor. And The Boss Of Me, they’re a teenage domestic violence group, and they are also a sponsor. They have a teen hotline, that teenagers can call and get relationship advice, and that’s a really great service to have in the community because they didn’t have that when I was growing up. I wish there would have been people to speak up and speak out and give that type of advice. Kids are getting in relationships younger and younger, so that’s a fantastic service that they provide to the community. The event is also hosted my Prentice Powel, Hot Water Cornbread, DC from KMEL, and DJ Slowpoke will be the DJ. So we have a pretty good team of people that is helping out. Everyone has been more than willing to help and no one is charging, so it’s just a blessing.
Well thank you for your time, and we really appreciate you for giving us a chance to interview you.
Thank you for this opportunity, this is amazing, I will never forget this experience. This was my very first interview, so I was nervous. But thank you for listening.