Tonight's special guest is Tree Turtle from Baltimore, Maryland, a survivor of multiple forms of child abuse (in and out of foster care) who's now an activist. Tree says, "I survived physical and sexual assaults as well as child ography and am a longtime facilitator and mediator for child and youth welfare. As a Buddhist educator, my aim is to guide others to use loving-kindness and peace-building to conquer societal ills." Beginning in the mid 80s, Tree has offered educational workshops as an anti-violence facilitator, anti-bias mediator, and sexuality educator for such organizations as Public Allies, the Urban League, SMYAL, OUTPost, and scores of schools, shelters, and foster facilities in the Mid-Atlantic region and the Midwest for over twenty-five years. From the 1980s until today, Tree transitioned from being a survivor to becoming a preventer: an American citizen who works to bring awareness to the enormous harm that violence, inequities, and ignorance breeds amongst humans and other species. Tree believes that speaking out against violence as a survivor and a preventer is not enough: we must also give others tools, practices, concepts, policies and procedures to supplant hateful, violent, inequitable acts with peer-to-peer and institutional love. She writes, "Peer-to-peer love models care in our everyday relationships. Institutional love models care in our governmental, educational, and professional communities. Thus, preventing abuse flourishes when we learn how to treat others well regardless of differences; when we learn how to transform conflicts into caring, mutually beneficial opportunities; and when we learn how to change institutional policies, procedures, and practices to ensure equity while caring for and protecting others from harm.
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