Advocating from Trauma

Etel Haxhiaj & Gina Plata-Nino

Trauma is about powerlessness. It happens at a macro level when one group of people is afforded institutional power over another group of people. It is a betrayal of trust and the social contract. When the political system is the perpetrator, deep despair can set in. Healing from trauma means regaining a sense of autonomy and control. Political advocacy and movement building offer a path to healing through collective action, connection to others, and regained efficacy.

Etel Haxhiaj came to the US to escape political oppression. She attended Clark University, earning a BA in International Development and Social Change and an MA in Community Development. She was an organizer for Mothers Out Front, a Member of SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice), and currently serves on the City Council.

Gina Plata-Nino has devoted her career to people in need. She was honored with the Bar Association’s Rising Star Award for effective advocacy to eliminate Food Insecurity. She uses her legal expertise and passion for social justice to center the voices of people with lived experience.

They will offer strategies for post traumatic growth by speaking up when it feels hopeless.