“Los Retratos de mi Voz” (The Pictures of my Voice), a Safe Berks Photo Voice Project, is on display at Mi Casa Su Casa Café, 320 Penn St., Reading, through June 11, 2018. Mi Casa Su Casa Café, which offers authentic Latino Soul Cuisine, is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This exhibit includes 24 powerful images created by Latina survivors of sexual violence. These artists used photography to capture and convey images about their individual experiences, and their community’s needs and strengths. This exhibit celebrates survival, healing, courage and self-expression.
Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, owner of Mi Casa Su Casa Café, said she decided to host the Photo Voice Project for several reasons. “I am a major supporter of art, and if I can lend my wall to encourage artists and their self-expression, I will always do that,” said Cepeda-Freytiz. “Also, I believe that the artists will feel empowered by seeing their work displayed, and this can contribute to their healing.”
In addition to the photography display, Mi Casa Su Casa Café is also providing customers with access to information about Safe Berks, and the free services available to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“There are many victims still living in silence and fear, especially many women,” said Cepeda-Freytiz. “I hope that when they see this exhibit, they will see that there are survivors out there, and that they can be survivors too.”
Safe Berks welcomes general coverage of this exhibit. However, due to the sensitive nature of this topic, and concerns with confidentiality and safety, Safe Berks asks that the media not include any individual names of artists, unless that artist speaks to you directly and grants permission to include their name.
The Photo Voice Project was previously on display at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in April. Eight Latina women participated in the Photo Voice Project. They each received a digital camera, as well as photography instruction from Danielle Reardon, a professional photographer. They created photographs to express their struggles and their survival, and each chose three photos to exhibit.
In addition to the photography, the Photo Voice Project included weekly group meetings, facilitated by Safe Berks staff members including Mereliss Colon Ortiz, Director of Residential Services, Aleida Rodriguez, Assistant Director of Residential Services, and Letty Vázquez-Pena, Counselor/Advocate.
The Photo Voice Project was funded in 2016 by a grant of $34,631 from Raliance, a collaborative initiative dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation.
Raliance was founded by three sexual violence prevention organizations – the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
The goal of the project is to improve Safe Berks services for Latina survivors. The grant funded a survey of Berks County Latina women about their life experiences, including with sexual violence, which was administered at five locations: Centro Hispano Daniel Torres; The Reading Hospital Women’s Health Center; and all three Berks Community Health Center sites.
Safe Berks services include a Safe House for adults and children who are in danger, a 24-hour Hotline, individual and group counseling, legal services and advocacy, and educational programs. Our services are free, confidential, and available in English and Spanish. Our 24-Hour Hotline number is 844-789-SAFE, or text Safe Berks to 20121.