Meet a Fellow: Sonya Passi
November 3, 2019
Meet Sonya, a 2019 Roddenberry Fellow
Sonya is the founder of FreeFrom, a national organization on a mission to create pathways to financial security and long-term safety with and for survivors of intimate partner violence, so that they have the opportunity to live free from abuse. FreeFrom’s holistic approach incorporates capacity building trainings for shelters, online technology platforms to reach survivors directly through their smartphones, peer to peer networks, policy advocacy and corporate engagement to build an ecosystem to support survivor wealth building and healing.
FreeFrom is a proudly queer, women of color and survivor-led organization that is working in service of the 1 in 3 women, 82% of transgender folks, and 1 in 7 men who experience severe intimate partner violence in their lifetime and cite economic insecurity as the greatest barrier to safety.
“FreeFrom envisions a world where survivors are financially secure and independent. Survivors have sustaining income, savings, and credit with which to build wealth. Survivors are no longer in isolation and have the resources to support individual, intergenerational and community healing.”
During the 2019 Fellowship
During her Roddenberry Fellowship, Sonya has been working to advance FreeFrom’s bold and ambitious agenda of creating a world in which survivors have the resources necessary to invest in their long-term safety and healing.
In April, FreeFrom launched their national Survivor Wealth and Wellness Certification Program, which is training frontline staff in the movement to end intimate partner violence in how to support their clients in building financial security. In July, FreeFrom hosted the first ever Survivor Wealth Summit in Los Angeles, bringing together survivors, domestic violence advocates, asset building organizations, and funders from 35 states and 3 countries to learn, innovate, collaborate and build community. Finally, at the close of this Fellowship, FreeFrom will be expanding its self-help compensation tool, the Compensation Compass, to all 50 states. The tool has already reached over 100,000 users in California. Next year, FreeFrom aims to reach 1 million survivors across the country.
FreeFrom envisions a world in which survivors have the financial security necessary to support their safety and healing, in which harm doers are held financially accountable, in which the domestic violence field has the resources necessary to meet survivors’ needs, and gender-based violence is addressed as a systemic issue. If we can accomplish this vision, survivors will no longer be blamed for the abuse they suffer. Instead, financial abuse and the cost of domestic violence will be widely understood. Survivors will no longer bear the cost of the harm done to them. Survivors will no longer be known as “victims” their whole life but instead will be telling their own stories of healing and economic justice, breaking the cycle for their children. The domestic violence movement will have the resources to move beyond crisis intervention and be able to support long-term safety.”
Ways to get involved:
Shop survivor-owned businesses and support living wage work for survivors at www.giftedbyfreefrom.org
Join the movement at www.freefrom.org