Melanie Thompson and Taina Bien-Aime

Recorded April 12, 2021 Archived April 11, 2021 37:09 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ddv000643

Description

Colleagues and friends Melanie Thompson (24) and Taina Bien-Aime (62) talk about Melanie's lived experience in sex trade. They discuss the systems -- racism and misogyny -- that influence the sex trafficking industry and talk about how partial decriminalization offers solutions for survivors.

Subject Log / Time Code

MT talks about her experience as a survivor of sex trading.
MT defines human trafficking and discusses many of its misconceptions.
MT talks about the prevalence of sexual abuse histories in people who engage in prostitution later in life.
MT expands on TB's point about the connections between slavery and prostitution.
MT shares a memory from her time in sex trading that shows how white girls are treated in sex trading compared to black girls.
MT talks about the patriarchy's role in sex trafficking and sex trading.
MT talks about the Sex Trade Survivors Justice & Equality Act. She explains the difference between criminalization, decriminalization, and partial decriminalization, and also explains the importance of aftercare for survivors.
MT reflects on what her dreams were as a child.
MT shares how she hopes to get others involved in advocating for survivors and creating change.

Participants

  • Melanie Thompson
  • Taina Bien-Aime

Recording Location

Virtual Recording

Partnership Type

Fee for Service

Initiatives


Transcript

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00:02 63 years old today is Monday April 12th, 2021. I am in New York and I am recording today with Melanie Thompson, who is a colleague friend, and fellow warrior in our works, too. And human trafficking.

00:30 Thank you, Tina. Hello. My name is Melanie Thompson. I am 24 years old. Today is Monday, April, 12th, 2021 here with Ty and Abby anime, who is my boss? My friend, my colleague, my partner. And despite that we're going to get into I guess and let's get this on the road.

00:52 Well, thanks Melanie. And it is a long road, but sometimes fun and sometimes not so fun. So when was the first time I met you, I think it was in June 2013. You are about 16 years old. We were in Albany New York, the capital of the State Legislative fighting for a bill that became law. Two years later, which was all the trafficking, Justice trafficking, victims protection act, and there you were sitting looking very young.

01:42 DIY, why did you decide to go up to Albany and advocate for the fly?

01:47 I guess I can, I guess I can start answering that by saying, like, how I got here and we'll get more into that. But I am a survivor of the sex trade. I was traffic when I was 12 years old and I've been in the face for years after that. And I remember, I been sent, I went to the court system and was sent to many different institutions. The foster care system, Juvenile Detention facilities, at cetera. And there was a New York Times editor who had come up to one of the facilities. I was in to do an interview with the person who I guess the manager or the supervisor of the facility, but that's supervisor actually had referred me and said, why don't you talk to one of the young people. So once I once I spoke with him and I saw that small column that was posted in the New York Times about my story. I thought it was from that point that I recognized that maybe if I talk more and use my voice, more until more people about the things that I've seen and been through, it can be impact.

02:47 So the first time that I ran into an organization, I can't remember which one it was first that it one of my social worker said, introduce me to this and said, hey, there's some press here, that may want to speak to you. Are you interested? I'm in from that point on. It was just like advocacy was my call and I said, any laws, how can I help, how can I change the system? So I believe I want to see that might have been the first time I was in Albany, when you met me so I guess, I don't know. I was young. I was still a child, but I definitely want to see is my voice somewhere more powerful than just an interview. And I think that out for me was the biggest eye opener in my advocacy experience.

03:27 Yeah, and you're one of many, many children and from what I know all of them, more brilliant, more one than the other. And you always see her in that category. It's not knowing hearing reading about what a life in prostitution does to an individual to the person psyche. Hell.

03:51 Outlook on life to me. When when I work with, you everyday, when I hear you speak. It's almost as if I see a miracle happening in every day because I always wonder like, how can people survive? What you encountered? What do you think? Are the ingredients that that makes someone a Survivor? We're not absolutely. Thank you for that. It is definitely a struggle. So it is, it is not easy. Trust me. I think that, if you, if you've gone through any, any type of trauma, really? But in this, for this particular conversation, when you go to exploitation and you come out of it on the other end and you make a conscious decision to try to move forward and in a different direction with your life, I feel like that in and of itself makes you a Survivor, but I do recognize that it takes a certain.

04:51 Drive or or level of motivation or, or some type of resiliency that push that continues to push us forward. So some people unfortunately, you know, they they make it out of the sex trade and then they don't know how to get a grass back on their healing Journey or they're healing. Journey is is extremely difficult. Some people still commit suicide, afterward. Some people can't regain some people be lapse back into the sex trade and I don't Harbor any negative feelings towards anybody who's gone through that. I know, for me relapse is on my mind for years after I left, but it takes a certain level of, I want to use the term power, I guess here, for lack of a better word for us to have to get up everyday. Look at ourselves in the mirror. Try to tell ourselves that we are beautiful or handsome, despite with pimps and sexual sex buyers have told us about her wear ugly and her, we're not strong so far it from me. I really don't know what the secret ingredient is, but I do know that.

05:51 There is a an, a power in all of us, I think. And I think that tapping into that and recognizing that you are not your story and you are not the things that other people try to label you. As I think that's where that the resilience that comes out of that. It just keeps pushing you to remind yourself everyday that you're not what you were 5 10 15 years ago.

06:12 Yeah, so just for the listeners, it would be good to just have a little bit of background on what's human trafficking and how does prostitution fit into it? Obviously, people are trafficked for a number of reasons for labor servitude, or exploitation for organ removal and for exploitation of prostitution is illegal. Now, a lot of people just kind of separate text Tray. That should be accepted. Yeah. So this is absolutely true. So, you would know better than me in terms of the legal. Jargon of what the definition of human trafficking is federally. But

07:04 In this case, I know I was but I was a victim of sex trafficking. So I was traffic for the purposes of sex. I was kidnapped at 12 and I was put into the sex trade and was sold to sex buyers for the prophet of the person that was exploiting me, my traffic on my fence. And in sex trafficking, you can be exploited for the purposes of excuse me by frog, force or coercion. It includes the harboring and transporting of the physical body, and it was a lot of people don't focus on this idea of, exploiting up the power and control and exploiting someone's boner ability. So a lot of people when they hear the term trafficking, when they think of sex trafficking, they think of movies like taken, they think of of the most extreme cases where there are children usually under 18 that are smuggled across International borders. Are they think of somebody that smuggled to Russia or China and it's not to say that those those types of cases don't occur because they do but the real

08:04 He is especially in a place like New York where it where I'm from where everything is so busy. And there's sommat this a huge population of people trafficking doesn't necessarily look like that. So for me, trafficking on the street here in New York City is just like me blending in with the average person going to work at 6 in the morning, but a lot of people when they think of traffic Anythink of children thrown in white van, that does happen, but that's not the only with a trafficking looks. So, now, what a lot of people would I find in them in my advocacy and, and you would know this just as well as me when we talked about traffic and people automatically think children, it's accepted that this is wrong. This is not okay. Nobody should exploit or rape or child. Nobody should kidnap anybody. But the minute that that fourteen-year-old, child turns 18, on their 18th birthday. Now, all of a sudden Society switches, their lands and says this person is no longer traffic child. This is a quote on quote sex worker. This is somebody.

09:04 Chose to be in prostitution. They're making a valid choice. So the issue and in this is why I going back to what you just said about that separation. This is why people separate the two, they don't see how the two are interconnected so you can be in prostitution never having been trafficked but you're in when it comes to sex trafficking you're always traffic for the purposes of prostitution that is. So I like to say that trafficking is the vehicle and prostitution is the destination. And that's that's just the the most simplest way that I can make that visual. But with a lot of people don't recognize when it comes to individuals and prostitution. At that that are adults currently on the surface. Will people see our people over 21 or people over 18 making a choice to be in a strip club or making a choice to go and quote unquote sell themselves on the street or online or whatever have you what people don't recognize that? Those same individuals were one usually exploded as children according to a statistic many.

10:04 The bus that are in the sex trade after 18, or either traffic, these children will have some type of sexual abuse history or foster care experience or immigrants that is or lgbtq identifying labels, whatever. Have you all of these depressions and isms and vulnerabilities that made us susceptible to prostitution in the first place. So on the surface one might say this is somebody that chooses to do this and she likes it. And that's I'm just going to, you know, throw some dollars at her and call it a day which in turn release the massage Journey, but we can we can talk about that. But what they're not saying is that three days ago, they had no place to stay or it but they're not saying is that they had a pain from when they were a child that forced them into a strip club, that is now standing in the audience, making sure that they don't run off. They don't see those things that people are just coming in and and because it's so much to me. I think it's easier to accept that there's a separation quote on quote that prostitution is one thing and trafficking is another because the reality is it's harsh and a lot of people don't want to hear about hearts.

11:04 A lot of people don't want to take accountability and a lot of people don't want to recognize that. This is in your backyard. So you had, you can potentially have a role in helping the solution and stopping list of people don't want to acknowledge that because this is portrayed as more fun. As you know, the quote unquote, Happy Hooker Narrative of the Pretty Woman in the Hustler movies. They show these things. As if this is something that we like even down to our TV show. Do you have the girlfriend experience? You have The Client List, all of these things that portray these women as in power and getting all this money and and feeling sexy and and all of these different things but they're not recognizing is one. That's that's a fabricated and sensationalized story to that only focuses on one form of the sex trade and 3. They're not showing the the harsh realities with a girl on the street with a bloody nose and her pimp, taking her shoes away from her than not going to show that on TV. That's just too sad. You're not going to get that much viewers, right? So the media and I know I'm like jumping but the

12:04 Tia does a, it's either, they showed the extreme, The Very extreme form of exploitation, where you taking somebody from Saudi Arabia, and bringing them to America, or they show this very happy happy high-end escort narrative. So, because of that. And because, you know what, the average Joe is not in the work that we do everyday, they're not having these conversations. They don't see that. So, they go off of what sport straight to them. They see this. And that as two separate things, when really they're interconnected.

12:34 Yeah, you know, I'm on Twitter. Somebody posted one to the right, oppression of women is called called nature, but to the left is called empowerment. And so right now, what we're seeing, which really breaks my heart, you know, I've been doing this work since the early nineties and yes, they were always battles. Among even feminist groups to other prostitution was work or not. At the time. There was not even legal definition of human trafficking, right? Because legally, you have the international definition of traffic. That is found in the two thousand and the trafficking victims protection act. Also finally decided that human trafficking wasn't crying. It was also enacted in 2000. So the concept of you

13:34 Trafficking legally is a relatively new one. And yes, they were always battles because there's, there's always been this forced to try to commercialize violence against women to normalize violence against women and I see women and obviously, their their chance. When you get a chance girls, who are also acutely vulnerable and over-represented in the sex trade being purchased by the, by the same mad. Right is just different sexual fantasies, right?

14:08 But I don't I don't I've never seen it. This secret reality and it comes mostly from the left. And what I don't understand is in this when I say it, I mean really pushing for seeing prostitution as a form of words as needing to be legalized.

14:31 And it's so easy. A storical, right? You and I both have ancestors who were sold on the market place. It was because of our foremothers that slavery was able to continue even after the abolition of slavery, black women produce slaves from. And so for us to see that our brothers and sisters and other colleagues not recognizing the link between our history. And what is happening now is it is very, very, very disturbing to me. And why do you think this is happening?

15:17 You know, honestly it's funny because a lot of people in our society still think that that slavery and racism is over at that doesn't exist anymore. In that were all big one, big happy, you know, America's Melting Pot of things, but the reality is when it comes to black women in the section a black girls in the sex trade it it's right at the Crux of racism massage in the patriarchy capitalism all comes together and we find all the way back in in the in the ages as I call it cuz you know, I'm still kind of young. So all the way back and slave times when we have slave master than we were chattel slavery in traffic, then brought across Seas on a boat. We saw that the the way that black people were treated in general, but even more than the black men, black women and how we were raped and use for whatever it is that they wanted that only translated to us, net, that translates to us now, and in the sex trade, I've seen firsthand how black girls are treated differently than the white girls that are doing the same thing.

16:17 As me the same the same street, walking the same dancing in an underground strip club, the same ads online, but there's this racism, in that, that idea that one, women altogether are inferior. Let's do that. Black women. This is, is this unspoken notion in the sex trade. Usually at the hands of sex by or the minds of sex buyers that believe that black women deserve to be there. That's what we're supposed to be. Do you think back on slavery? We were used to, to be raped in to breed slave, masters, children, or, or bastard children, whatever have you. And in the sex trade? We still see sex by your say, the black ones are the ones. You can beat the most and the white ones are the ones you pretend to be your girlfriend. The black ones are the ones and excuse my vulgarity, but the black ones are the ones that gets on their knees and have to kneel on Rice instead on carpets and make sure she gets rug burn. And the white girl can go in the back of your car. They're both really messed up and disgusting. But the reality is even when you think you're at the bottom there.

17:17 Always a place for black women underneath that especially in the sex trade and it's disgusting even even to the point where I've seen me and I am there was a time that I was in a life with, with a white friend of mine were both younger before teen, but we both were still in the life and a cop picked us. Both up, gave us. The proposition is most police officers do in a sec. Sure. They say, if you take care of me, I'll take care of you. If you don't want to go to jail, you do this. To me, usually is a sexual gratification of some sort. We both do this thing to this man thinking that we're going to be able to go home. She, they send me back and they they take her back to her mom, right back to wherever her house. Was why? Because of that idea that black girls deserve nothing but being beaten or abuse or any type of trauma and that's thumbs back all the way. Like, you were saying back into slave days when we were still viewed as property as as as capital as physical property. And now more of a, of a

18:17 Emotional about the word but more of a, I guess emotional property. We're still seeing that way. Just looks a little different and they have different clothes on and we may not be paying the same taxes if they're even taxes in this late time, but regardless, it's this, this notion that we don't belong and being in prostitution of any race or color is already marginalizing, right? It puts down in this oppressive and it keeps us here. But then in that there's still this hierarchy. When it comes to color, when it comes to race, when it comes to who's more inferior, then it becomes a fight between the people that are being exploited because we're all trying to get this equal opportunity at the very margin of what the system of prostitution likes to ride on. So, it's really disgusting. We know that racism is definitely has its own Panda making this country, but to see, even within the, the fight against, you know, racism in and things of that nature to steal.

19:17 See that? And you know what that means? You're back on this, right? It's either you're treated horribly because you're black in the sex trade or you are fetishized because you're black in the sex trade and we don't talk about that enough when it comes to sex by her, plenty of them, for obvious reasons, like to rape us and beat us and leave us with bruises. I've had a sex by and I'm not and I'm not even the darkest skin black girl that there is but I've had a sex by a white man. Tell me once I wonder if I pinch you would you turn purple and that, you know, a lot of people think that the sex trade is only about intravaginal sex. A lot of it is about power and control and when it comes to black girls and black women in the sex trade that power and control level for the buyer has heightened because we are exotic to them. We are not what they're used to seeing. They don't have these in their families are hair is different. Our skin color is different, you know, are sunburns look different. So to them, it's like this, this juul that they just found, that's so unbeknownst to them that they want to.

20:17 Keep it for themselves and they they they they throw money in our faces. Will I pay extra if you bark like a dog or do this, right? So it's it's really interesting to see how racism has played this. This major. How was really transferred from slavery into modern times and seen what that looks like for us that are in the life.

20:36 Yeah, you know, I needed the the UN has established that you and trafficking is a very gendered crying. Like most people who are traffic for labor or men and boys, and most people who are trafficked for sexual exploitation are women and girls. So, overall 71% of detected, trafficking victims for both sexes and labor, our women, and girls, and 94% of detective sex trafficking victims are women. So, when you just look at that, I always say if it's a martian, came down and he knew nothing about trafficking and he knew nothing about the sex trade. And you just explain to the who's in, who's doing the buying and Reese decide, which we know the sex trade is racist side. She just look at the sex and gender.

21:36 On one side, you Scott 95, probably globally 99% swimming in crowd. And here in the US, I would say. And then on the other side, you've got 99.9% of the. What's wrong with this picture to see it, obviously, but why is it that now mainstream media? And so, many Progressive groups to do amazing, work cannot are totally blind to these facts.

22:18 I don't even I couldn't tell you. I couldn't tell you why. Now. It's such a Hot Topic. I can't tell you why. They don't see it. I just know that the factors that contributed to that like the media like misogyny. And that goes, that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years of how women have been treated. And how girls have been treated from Prehistoric. Age is if you look at, if you look at it from a Biblical perspective, how women are supposed to obey, if you look at it, from a historical perspective perspective, women are weaker than man, quote, on quote weaker. It's all about the physicality is the patriarchy deemed women inferior from God knows how many years before me. So that just translated over and now because and I and I always had this is my personal opinion. I think that our society has developed as if you can't beat them, join the mentality. So because women have been deemed inferior, all these hundreds of centuries on because the patriarchy even took today,

23:18 Still shows and proves Superior and still as much as I Try to Make spaces and things inclusive still, keep women at a margin. I think that we and we not you and I we as a society have adopted will, you know what? Let's make the best of what we have, which is why. And when I think about that in relation to the Section 8 and prostitution, I think there's a side. The I know and I said and I said this often when you're in the life, it is so brutal and gruesome and disgusting and all types of different things that you have to literally tell yourself that you were in control and you were in power. So that somebody that's in the life. You have to train your brain to pretend like you're the one calling the shots. And I think that when you think about it like that, it relates back to what I'm saying about this as a society, we are not winning so far. We have not successfully overthrow overthrown, the patriarchy we're still in Syria to them. So because of that we say, will you know what? Let's claim back.

24:18 Power, because our society is so gendered and it's so racialized because of that, it's part. It's predominantly us. Women who were like, well, what's the one thing that we have power over the other people? The patriarchy doesn't know granted men and boys by traffic. I'm not going to negate that but the majority of women and girls and trans women in trans use and because of that we say we'll know we can we can fight and that's why this this big issue and not just feminist and but with a lot of feminist on the issue of a prostitution because they're fighting over the little things that we have that we can call ours that we can have a power when you compare that to the patriarchy, we're still inferior. What the problem is because we don't really haven't reached that that status yet. We haven't reached that playing field with the men. Are we take the things that belongs to us are vagina is our periods, are minstrels, you know, childbearing and all these different things. We take those things and start to make Con.

25:18 Persis in the Basin device over. Because those are the things that we can control. And that's my personal opinion. It's not proven by science, but it makes sense. Because why else are we fighting? I just passed. I just came back home before I before I log on to this interview and there's a strip club. Two blocks away from my house. It is one of the few left in New York state that are 18 and over to get in. There's no alcohol served there and they're open at lunch time now. And they make it very known that they are now open at lunch and on as soon as you pass it. It's a big purple sign that says girls girls girls. Why do I not see the same saying, Boys Boys, Boys, there's a reason for that. There's this issue of this, this gender lens in our society. Isn't this always been this idea that vaginas are to be capitalized. It's always been his idea that a woman's body is supposed to belong to man. And because, and that again, both biblically and scientifically. So because of that in our society and because we have yet to overthrow The Patriot,

26:18 We're still at this place where everybody wants to make women's issues a Hot Topic because we're not making the men's issues a Hot Topic because they're the ones in power. So, the men said, no, let's not talk about our tax brackets. Talk about Ari,. Let's talk about their breasts. Let's do that, because we can control that. So, that's, I think to me, that's where the two come together. I could be very off, but I feel like in my heart. That's what it is. No. No, I mean, you kind of suck, but we're, we're fighting right? We're fighting against this. Sometimes, it feels like it's a tidal wave over. I had, you know, we, we, we believe that the people are with us to Scott. If you follow the money, you know, who's behind all of this noise, and cultural narrative and political force behind the demonization, and commodification of human beings, especially women of color.

27:18 But we're also fighting for it. Right? And so you want to talk about what we're doing now in New York. Yeah, absolutely. So, right now, we are advocating for a bill. I do not know the bill number off the top of my head, but I will provide that eventually and I call it the equality model legally. It is called the help me outside in New York Exchange, survivors, Justice and equality act, the mouthful. And what the equality seeks to do is partially decriminalized the sex trade. So, right now for those who may not know there's a huge debate, specifically in New York on whether or not we should fully decriminalized prostitution or leave it criminalized as is.

28:06 Everybody that's that, has an opinion on this building. On this issue, all agree that full criminalization is not the answer, that is what we currently have enacted in New York, state are all parties that are caught doing anything related to prostitution. Get a criminal criminal record. Go to jail, get arrested. We recognize that for many people who are exploited in the sex trade, criminalizing them for their exploitation is not the answer. So now a lot of people are group of, people have tried to say, well, the alternative to that is the exact opposite which is fully decriminalizing, the sex trade in prostitution know. A lot of people have jumped on that narrative and said that, that must be the best way. Because what food decriminalization does is decriminalized. The person, whose exploited in the sex trade, and when people hear that, they automatically think this is the, this is the right way. We need to not make people that are vulnerable or people that are in the Life. Criminals. The problem with faulty criminal has a

29:06 In addition to fully decriminalized in the one exploited. It is also decriminalized in the people who perpetuate it. So sex buyers and pimps at the end of all of this, get no penalties. And at the very most a slap on the wrist to probably. So, you know, myself other survivors colleagues in mind, we said, well, that's not the right way either because if you take, you can take me out of the situation, but if you also decriminalized princess expires and leave them out on the street, it's just going to continue to happen just with no penalties. So we came together and be several. What's the right way? The right way is to take us that we're vulnerable in the first place out of that situation. Do not give us your time. And instead referring to the services that we need to to reverse what made us susceptible to prostitution in the first place. So Mental Health Services housing, all types of different things, victim Services, whatever. Have you while simultaneously, keeping the pain

30:06 Teas that we already have in place for those who perpetuate it. So hymns traffickers sex buyers. Those individuals would keep would still have the same penalties that we have in place now Under full criminalization for them. I'm so that's why we call it the equality model in the partial decriminalization model. What I love about the smaller. The most is that the focus is on after care. So not only does it take us out of the situation and say you're not the criminal, not only does it keep the penalties in place, for those who want to continue to exploit people in the sex trade, but it also says, okay, now that you're out, what do you need to let you don't go back. This is the only one of the three proposed. I just order three legislation that we have. This is the only one that focuses on that. So yeah. But if you can take the person off the street, but then where do they go back to that? You didn't you didn't refer them to a job, you give them no vocational training, you didn't teach them but they need to go to Mental Health Services. You never for them to a therapist, any of that. So, nice times out of 10, that person that was removed.

31:06 Right back to what they know and that's being in prostitution with the equality model. This puts an emphasis on our well-being, the people who are exploited the people that come from poverty, the people that have a lack of resources and because of that, I don't see how there is any other way. That is considered. I am biased, I am a survivor. So for me is always going to sound like the best way but in reality that's what we need. Nobody wakes up and says prostitution is my dream jobs. You get into it because you either exposed to it or you had a need. And I want to say less than 2% of the world is in it because it would truly just curious. But that doesn't represent the majority of us. The majority of Us come from poverty with black and brown were marginalized. We don't have money to eat. We don't have a place to stay were kicked out because of our sexual orientation where undocumented and so on and so forth. So, if we can reverse, what made us vulnerable in the first place, which I think it starts with it starts to me with instilling, the equality model focusing on, for lack of a better word rehabilitating.

32:06 Who who were exploited in the sex trade? I'm working on trying to build a better person and there for a brighter future.

32:13 And it's a model that's been proven to work in the number of countries around the world that started in Sweden in 1999 and seven other countries to follow. And, you know, we always say if one woman has a dollar bill on her body, every woman has a dollar bill under body and that's why it's called the equality model. Because if, if you're sold on the market, like any other Goods, then you're never going to be team, doesn't fully human being.

32:44 Regardless of of you being in prostitution or not. I would be any female walking working trying to enjoy life. So we only have a few minutes left. I just wanted to go back, maybe to your childhood. What were your dreams when you were a little girl before you turned twelve and your life. I always thought that I was going to be a hip-hop dance teacher. I was very set on being a choreographer. I looked up all these damn schools. And then I remember auditioning for LaGuardia High School of Arts, which is like a a very known Performing Arts High School here in New York. And I was rejected because ballet is not hip hop. So I remember feeling really discouraged and iPhones a poetry and I started writing a lot because these detention facilities, you need to talk to somebody and social workers were

33:44 Oh, I wanted to speak to. So I ended up writing a lot of my journal and then I started making poems and then I realize like these are good poems. I like that. So I started doing that. So then I was like, I was like, I don't know if I can type that long. So here I am now doing advocacy and and really this is I feel like this is where I belong. I don't see myself ever leaving as an advocate and going to something any older or any of that. I feel like my my heart and my passion is here trying to make sure that, you know, my daughter is in my, in my future, my future grandkids don't have to go through this.

34:18 And also your siblings, are you having a lot of siblings who are younger than you? And I know you're worried about as well and you're still a beautiful writer and you could be both the writer and I definitely plan to do that.

34:41 Yeah, so do you? We we we have to have hope, right? We wouldn't be doing this unless we had absolute faith that regardless of where the pendulum swings that you know, a little swing the right way.

34:56 How do you say we can invite more people to join us in this movement?

35:03 Really? It's just about education and spreading awareness. But talking to people one-on-one chat, talking to people in the media are people who have access to, you know, TV and like documentaries and cameras. Having these conversations at your dinner table, spreading these into schools and all just any way that we can just get people educated because what I'm smiling from what I'm finding. A lot of people don't even know that this is going on and for those that do they they don't know all sides of the story. So I think that if we can just get people in a room and hear from people like me and hear from any other person who got who has lived experience than I really think that I have hope in my heart that the majority of people will understand. What's right and wrong in this particular situation, but it's a step forward and then. You know, I don't think that it might happen in my life. I may think it might be when I after I passed and maybe maybe in the Next Generation, it's hard to undo 400 + years of of some type of Oppression. But while I'm here, you know,

36:03 My legacy to be that I fought the entire way through. I'm a nice way, I and you and all of us in our team, intense it to

36:11 Well, I'm so so proud and humbled and honored to be walking this path with you. And I do hope that at least in your lifetime will see some level of equality for women in particular, especially for women of color. Very, very long road.

36:29 You know, where part of this is part of the of the Long Haul game, right? And we stand on the shoulders of so many Brave women supposed to trim your trees Harriet Tubman on down. And so we, we know that we're just smoked on 2nd and very, very big wheels. So proud.

36:51 Do your friends and your Mentor if I dare say that and it's just such an honor to know you. Thank you.