Healing Generations

At the heart of HTA’s work is our Healing Generations leadership development program, which was developed in collaboration with low-income, immigrant, and undocumented survivors of gender-based violence who determined the core content and structure of the program. Healing Generations educates survivors about root causes of sexual violence such as white supremacy, capitalism, and ableism; builds their skills so they can effectively reach survivors of rape, domestic violence, and sexual harassment; and trains survivors on core principles of community organizing. Since its founding four years ago, a powerful base of 30 survivor leaders have graduated from two cohorts of the Healing Generations leadership program, representing Black, indigenous, Asian, Latinx, immigrant, and disability identities.

Survivor-Leader Quotes

One step or action as a result of the training:

I’m going to commit to paying attention to my surroundings so that I can be a witness and in turn help the situation in some way.

I learned that a lot more constitutes sexual violence than I thought. I will identify it and speak up in the workplace and personal life as appropriate.

I definitely was more honest with clients about what to expect from media in terms of results. After this training, I learned it's more important that they feel safe and comfortable telling their story. I can answer specific questions in terms of media coverage as it comes up, but it's not the priority.

SexEd Works Campaign

Through Healing Generations, survivor-leaders realized that a root cause of violence that their children experienced was the normalization of toxic masculinity and gender policing in their communities. They also realized that these community attitudes were in part due to a lack of education for youth around critical issues like consent, healthy relationships, and gender identity. After intensive dialogue and caucusing over several months, HTA's leaders launched the SexEd Works campaign to address access to comprehensive sexual health education for Chicago’s low-income Black and brown youth.

Critical Public Actions

Held a virtual town hall with over 40 people in attendance, including all of the members of CPS’ Office of Student Health and Wellness and a member of the Chicago Public School Board

Met individually with three members of the Chicago Public School Board to discuss the inequity of the existing and proposed comprehensive sexual education policy

Presented to the Chicago Public School Board the need for funding comprehensive sexual education during a CPS budget hearing

Held several meetings with CPS Officials of the Office of Student Health and Wellness to discuss improvements that could be made to the comprehensive sexual education policy

Organized over 175 educators, youth, and caregivers to provide public comments on the proposed new sexual education policy advocating for funding comprehensive sexual education, caregiver support, and community accountability

Quotes from Survivor-Leaders

It was on a timeline and now we’ve done it—I’ve been in an LSC and I never spoke with a board member and now I realized that I can do this—they never thought this could happen, where we put the eye we put the bullet.
—Maria Serrano

What happened to me with my daughter, has been a way for me to inform other moms in my communities—they’re the symptoms that [other] kids are experiencing and I can share this.

—Esperanza Emiliano

Media
Attention
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  • Press conference led by Aurelia Aguilar, Cristina Padilla, and youth leaders Maya Khurana and Sophia Penglase, “CPS’ new sex ed policy doesn’t address important needs” covered by the Chicago Sun Times.
     

  • Our first townhall for the SexEd Works campaign
     

  • “Most of US Wants Sex Ed in Schools. Why Isn’t It Federally Mandated and Funded?” Truthout
     

  • “Reform is needed to ensure equitable access to sex education. Healing to Action’s SexEd Works campaign is fighting to ensure that the community has a voice in how sex education is administered, that there’s funding for equal access to sex ed regardless of the zip code and that support exists for parents to understand it and teach kids about healthy relationships at home." —Aurelia Aguilar, Ms. Magazine
     

  • Despite a curriculum that mirrors national standards, CPS has failed to ensure teachers receive high-quality training and on-going professional development; develop clear policies that support educators; ensure caregivers have the tools to reinforce the lessons at home; and develop a strong curriculum that is inclusive of diverse learners and the LGBTQ community." —Rocio Caravantes, Chicago Unheard