"Stop Making Survivors Do All the Heavy Lifting"

These words from survivor Margaret Hillman at last week's Courageous Conversation cut right to the heart of the matter. For many years, most Catholics have stood back and expected victim-survivors to do all of the work of making our Church safer and more welcoming to survivors. However we've felt about this issue, we have rarely taken concrete action to stand with survivors and demand better from our Church.

The problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is large and complex. There is no single step that will bring about the needed changes all at once. But we can all do our part to move our Church in the right direction, little by little.

In the specific case of Catholic composer David Haas, some of the women who have been harmed are asking dioceses throughout the United States to suspend the use of Haas's music. Many dioceses have responded with compassionate action. Others, including the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, have remained silent. 

As members of the Body of Christ, this is one concrete thing we can tackle; one small thing we can do to communicate to survivors that their needs matter, that we are willing to listen and to respond. 

Will you join members of the Awake community in writing letters to your local Church leaders, asking them to suspend the use of David Haas's music?

All we're asking today is a few emails. Simple enough. There are complete instructions and even a cut-and-paste template you can use here. It should only take about 10 minutes. Could you please commit to taking this action by Friday?

If you're not sure what you think (or whether you're ready for this kind of action), I challenge you to watch the event recording and listen to the words of these speakers. In light of their strength and courage, sending a few letters seems like the least we can do.

Let's help with some of this heavy lifting, together.

Sara Larson
Executive Director, Awake Milwaukee

Act Now - Details Here!
PS: Courageous Conversations will continue at 7:00pm on the the third Thursday of each month moving forward. Please mark your calendar now for February 18, March 18, April 15, and May 20. February's dialogue will focus on understanding the impacts of trauma and building trauma-sensitive parishes, with guest speaker Dr. Stephen Saunders, professor of psychology at Marquette University. More details will be coming soon, but you can reserve your spot now by registering here today.
Event Recording - The Women Who Spoke Out:
A Survivor, a Colleague, and an Advocate Share Their Story of Exposing David Haas’s Abuse

Blog Post -  Courageous Conversations: Awake Welcomes Three Women Who Spoke Out About David Haas

“The speakers at Awake Milwaukee’s latest Courageous Conversation shared how reports of sexual abuse by Catholic composer David Haas were brought to light last year—and then made a powerful case for ending the use of Haas’s music.

The speakers at the January 21 event included Dr. Stephanie Krehbiel, co-founder and executive director of the small nonprofit Into Account, which has received more than 50 reports of abuse by Haas; victim-survivor Margaret Hillman, who was assaulted by Haas when she was 18; and Laurie Delgatto-Whitten, a former colleague of David Haas who is now advocating for his survivors... 

Noting the labor involved in making the case to dioceses, Hillman spoke passionately about the need for the Church to make the care of victim-survivors a priority. 'The most important thing the Church can do for all survivors is to stop making us do all the heavy lifting,' Hillman said."

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Please Join Us In Prayer

Thank you for your continued commitment to uniting with Awake through prayer.

After spending time last week with survivors of abuse by David Haas, we are even more convicted about the need to remove his music from our churches so that survivors can feel safe and welcome. Please pray that all with decision-making power (musicians, liturgists, pastors, bishops, and others) will hear the calls of those who have been harmed and respond with compassionate action.
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