The second annual Silence No More Movement Ceremony on Wednesday celebrated and uplifted stories of survival and support systems for survivors of domestic abuse.

Solitaire Carroll, founder of nonprofit One Sparrow, hosted the June 29 event and said it was “an intimate gathering of people who want to make a change, regardless of their situation, regardless of your resources.”

“It is mentally exhausting to mentor, to train, to develop, to educate, to keep things going, but it’s necessary,” she said. “The reason I say that is, if people like us aren’t in the room, if we’re not at the table, then we’re not making sure the right decisions are being made. ... It’s important that we continue to take up space, because if we don’t, someone else will, and they won’t speak for those who need help. They won’t speak for those that are in need.”

Silence No More is a gathering of people working to foster dialogue among nonprofit and business organizations, government agencies, community members, elected officials and survivors, with the aim to build a system of support to sustain victims for at least two years.

“Silence no more is a platform, is a community movement, with the mindset that individuals are the solution to the domestic violence epidemic,” Carroll said.

The ceremony recognized both some of those survivors who have gone on to become advocates and volunteers themselves, and local leaders. Those included a surprise recognition for Carroll herself.

“What really is the most incredible thing about Solitaire is always her heart,” said Erica Rowe, who presented the award. “I think it’s a blessing and someway of a—not a curse, but not so much of a blessing, when you have a heart like Solitaire’s where it is all about giving of yourself. It can sometimes be taken for granted.”

In addition to the survivors who were awarded at the ceremony, awards were presented to community leaders like Women Giving Back Executive Director Nicole Morris and Program Director Erica Parraga. The nonprofit provides women and children in crisis quality clothing at no cost to give them a first step toward stability. Carroll said Morris exemplifies understanding both the compassion and business of a charitable nonprofit.

“This is not just a job for her. She does it like a professional, but it’s not just a job—it’s also her heart,” she said.

“It’s not about the clothes. That’s just a decoy of what we’re doing. Everything we do, how we operate, is really with the women in mind that walk through that door,” Morris said. “… it’s the support system, and we love when we hear of our survivors coming full circle, and they came in one door, and now they’re coming in another door as a volunteer.”

“I do enjoy the work that I do, and I think you have to. I love seeing people walk in. … They look defeated, they look upset, but when they leave through the door with a smile, gratitude, and thankfulness,” Parraga said. “There’s nothing more rewarding than that.”

Another award went to Jaime Jimenez of Luxury Studio Events Center in Sterling.

“The most important thing is not what we have, the most important thing is what we do,” he said.

And another went to Karima Nasser.

“You are not just a silent partner, but you show up. ... You show up every single time, and that means something,” Carroll said.

And finally the ceremony recognized County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) who Carroll said she’d known since middle school.

“For any government, government cannot do it by yourself. You need your faith partners, you need your nonprofits, you need your community leaders to come alongside you,” she said.

This article was updated July 6 at 2:15 p.m. to correct an error about Jaime Jimenez's name and business.

‘Silence No More’ Celebrates Domestic Violence Survivors, Supports

Women Giving Back Executive Director Nicole Morris smiles after being recognized at a Silence No More event Wednesday, June 29. [Renss Greene/Loudoun Now]

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