It is with great humility and more than a little trepidation that I share my story, and ask for your support. I am an artist and community facilitator who was based out of Brooklyn, and I have spent most of my adult life working to support youth, women and communities impacted by violence and trauma to work toward healing through the arts.
What I Am Asking for Help With:
I am going through a very difficult period in my life and I am homeless. I have been moving between safe-houses every few days since October thanks to the generosity and grace of my friends and community. I am currently unemployed, and it is hard for me to find a stable job, because I have been moving so frequently (I am concerned he will find me). I have a double disability (diabetes and an autonomic disorder), and the circumstances I experienced last year severely impacted my physical well being, and I am working on focusing on my health and safety. I am currently trying to do freelance illustration work, and remote facilitation of workshops to help make ends meet, but it’s not really enough to support the incredible costs of my survival during this crisis.
I am trying to fundraise $12,000 to get through at least March of 2019, which is the soonest I anticipate I may be able to stop moving every few days or weeks and traveling to protect my life. All the funds I raise with your help will go toward the cost of my travel, board and lodging, caring for my physical and emotional health (including medicine, diabetes supplies, acupuncture, and therapy), covering my basic needs and necessities, and maintaining some semblance of financial solvency by trying to stay on top of my bills and obligations, including medical debt.
I am currently trying to figure out how I may be able to move to Norway and continue my education in a graduate studies program. Norway is where my mother is from and where I was a dual citizen until I was 21, and I feel the further I can get from this person and situation, the safer I will be, so I can try to rebuild my life and continue my work as an artist and my commitment to communities impacted by violence and trauma. Depending on what I discover about my options for immigration to Norway, I may increase the amount I'm fundraising for to help me cover the costs associated with that as well.
I feel extremely vulnerable and more than a bit nervous to share this information. I tried for months to navigate this privately and within community and family, but at this point, I am desperate. While I am afraid of what further consequences, judgments or harassment I may face for stating my needs and the truth of this tragic situation that I am actively surviving, I am humiliated and exhausted and do not know what else to do. I am working hard with my domestic violence advocates, community and friends to focus on my safety and recovery.
I am well aware that the world is wild right now and there are many, many people and communities who are in dire need of financial support for their safety. I know that I am only one of these people, and that I have many advantages and privileges to my benefit that others do not have. It is with great humility and awareness of this that I ask for your support as I work hard to heal myself, stay safe, and rebuild my life.
Once I can stabilize and heal from this trauma, tragedy and terror, I intend fully to continue my work with and amongst communities impacted by trauma to focus on healing justice and the power of the arts and collective care. But I can’t do that until I am safe and healthy, and this will help me get there. I remain hopeful that this unexpected and truly devastating experience will only offer me more wisdom in time that I can use in service of our many interconnected communities.
Other Ways You Can Help:
I am currently taking commissions for freelance illustration work. You can find an order form here .
I am actively looking for remote PT work. I have experience as an administrator, project manager, designer, community engagement specialist, writer, editor, curriculum developer and designer .
I am eager for any and all resources that can help my physical, emotional and spiritual recovery in this time.
I sidelined my practice as an artist for many years. I am currently trying to rebuild my career as an artist, and am eager to apply for grants, residencies and other opportunities that can help me with my work as an artist, writer and community facilitator.
Tanya --aka Mensen--is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer and community facilitator with a background in community and cultural organizing. Her public art practice is committed to the people, and rooted in poetry, muralism, illustration and participatory workshops. Her work explores social relationships, power, vulnerability, femininity, health, the dystopian present and working-class visual language. She utilizes participatory storytelling and design to collaborate with groups working on social justice campaigns, memory-keeping and collective healing and liberation. Tanya has also worked in the non-profit, media, arts, and direct service sectors, and within local and transnational grassroots initiatives working with and for working class and poor communities and youth.
Some of her major achievements include the recognition of her collaborative community murals by the City of New York and the US Consulate in Mexico, the creation of a national oral history and media campaign that preserved and amplified 150+ conversations between people impacted by mass incarceration, an internationally acclaimed poem written to working-class girls, and project management of the community engagement and production strategy of an ambitious city-wide project.
Mensen believes everyone is inherently creative, art is about ideas, and that making things together is a form of alchemy that can transform relationships and support change in systems and social structures. She is a proud daughter of her Norwegian immigrant mother.
- Molly Abbattista
- Aileen Kelleher