Ardre Orie Receives the World Changer Award
When I was in 7th grade, I made mostly D’s and F’s on my report card. I am certain that the teachers referred to me as a troubled child. I could be seen on any given day with my feet up on the desk, popping gum and talking back very disrespectfully towards the staff. I attended a school named Howard Bishop. And at the time, the school’s reputation was on the mend from many unfortunate mishaps due to an increase in gang activity and so called turf wars.
One could assume that I was just like every other kid at the school. One major difference was that my mother worked at the school. Most could not understand how my behavior was justified. I was not a product of my environment.
My mother was a leader in the community, degreed and a true professional. From the outside looking in, we were a middle class single parent family working hard to achieve.
What many didn’t know was that at home, we lived in hell. We were not safe. My mother was not safe for work, public outings or anything else for that matter. When domestic violence is present in your home, no one is safe.
After dedicating her entire life to care for me, my mother discovered love. We thought it was love. She eventually married a man that turned our world upside down. He violently attacked my mother on several occasions and I witnessed the aftermath. And although I write words for a living, I am still left speechless when it comes to expressing those moments of witnessing my hero and the only person in the entire world that I could count on experience powerlessness. I was powerless, alone and afraid.
Powerlessness is crippling. It is equivalent to suffocation. I now own the truth that if I can say or do anything to inspire someone to walk in their power, I will do it.
I’ve written about domestic violence and its effects in my theatrical productions Lipstick Monologues and The Heart of A Man, and established events that increase advocacy and awareness such as The Beautiful Mile and the #IAM500 Makeover.
I am currently writing a screenplay that will depict domestic violence in a way that we haven’t quite witnessed, as yet another way to increase our pulse towards this epidemic.
I do these things because I know firsthand the lasting damage that is caused from these acts, not for applause. No matter how hard or how hurtful, we must find ways to open the floodgates for these critical discussions. Our lives depend on it.
I woke up to the news that I would be receiving the World Changer Award from the Rose of Sharon Transitional Living for Women, Inc., a non-profit that seeks to provide services and shelter to displaced mothers and children of domestic violence.
This award is beyond meaningful to me for so many reasons.
The World Changer Award will be presented during the Behind the Masquerade Gala on Saturday, October 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.
We take a simple act like going to work for granted but when violence prevails, victims are not even safe for work. Not one of us deserves to feel powerless. Together, we don’t have to. I will continue to use my voice and create media that tells our stories, even in darkness, we must discuss it all. I am thankful that it is not unheard and I will accept this award with honor and love. A very special thank you to Rhonda Thompson, Author, Advocate and Founder of the Rose of Sharon Transitional Living for Women, Inc. and creator of the Behind the Masquerade Gala for finding me worthy of this honor.
All my love.
Ardre Orie, Writer|Publisher|Film Director|Advocate