Shamara Kelly, Parent Organizer

Shamara Kelly joined Rise through the Rise & Shine Parent Leadership Program. Shamara heard about Rise through a housing focus group for domestic violence survivors with VOW. She wanted to know more, applied for Rise & Shine, and was accepted. Shamara wants to be a voice for impacted parents and survivors of domestic violence. She was already doing the work organizing and advocating for survivors of domestic violence at VOW and became a domestic violence advocate and community organizer at VOW in 2019. Shamara stated, “I learned about my rights and how my story can help victims. We organize around survivors’ rights and policies that are supposed to protect us.”

Shamara also sits on the ACS Parent Advocacy Council (PAC), where parents who have been impacted by the family policing system work to amplify impacted parents’ voices into all aspects of ACS’s work. Shamara explained, “We all come from different aspects of life, but the work we do isn’t about us—it’s about the parents who are voiceless and don’t know their rights.”

Shamara graduated from Rise & Shine and became a contributor at Rise in 2020. She then started working on Rise’s participatory action research project in 2021 and is now a Parent Organizer at Rise. Shamara shared, “Through community conversations, we heard from parents how even through the pandemic they were still dealing with the family policing system and racism. Parents found a safe space with our team of Rise parents that led the conversations—that’s what keeps me going, continuing to do this work. I’m excited about being that voice, amplifying and providing solutions, educating the masses and offering hope to those who might not feel like there is hope!”

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