Person of Merit: Jacquelyn Lamont

Our society aims to uncover overlooked goodness in this world and bring that goodness out into the open and placed upon a diverse, global platform. Goodness already exists, warriors already walk this Earth, and fearsome Angels live amongst us. But they often go unnoticed and unheard of. We, at Gamma Alpha Draconis, aim to change that. It is our goal to lead the vision of the people into areas that should see the light of day!

It is in that very same vein that we present to you our very first Person of Merit, who has been unanimously voted in by each member as deserving of our endorsement. In our society, every member must agree that a nominated person or organisation is indeed an individual or an organisation of merit. Jacquelyn Lamont is one such person, and is the first person that our society wholeheartedly endorses and supports.

I want you to meet Jackie, in her own words:

"My name is Jackie Lamont and I am the Director of Now You See: A Celebration of Courageous Kids (NYS). I work for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County (CAC). (The CAC is a non-profit partner with the DA’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts.)

I am a forensic interviewer in the Child Protection Unit and since 2003 I have interviewed over one thousand children and adult survivors of abuse. It is because of their courage and spirit that I started Now You See.

NYS is an ever-growing exhibit featuring the real eyes and words of many of the brave individuals, both young and old, who have disclosed physical and sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation and other types of violence and trauma. The exhibit seeks to empower survivors to talk about their experiences and to be proud of their resilience and strength. Most importantly, these photos and words help us all move beyond the silence and secrecy that so often surrounds and enables child abuse.

In 2012, “Sara” became the first child photographed for Now You See. Now, as a young adult, she is a speaker at Bravery Celebrations and a role model for others. NYS is proud to feature over one hundred and fifty participants of all ages and will continue to expand in order to give a voice to those who often go unheard.

I am committed to taking NYS beyond the boundaries of Massachusetts because these survivors deserve a national (or international!) platform.
I will make this happen but certainly do need help."

The Now You See Facebook Page features close-up images of the eyes of child (and some adult) survivors of sexual assault and other forms of abuse. Their eyes and a snippet of their brave stories are available for viewing just like a standard social media post or meme. The display of images and stories is incredibly real and extremely compelling. It's difficult to look at, it feels like you are walking into a dangerous dungeon, one you want to run far away from. And yet you stay. You stay because you are looking into the eyes of children who have been through hell and back, and who have since become brave and beautiful survivors. You realise, while you look into their eyes, that warriors come in all ages, shapes and sizes. Who are you to run away, when these souls have fought hard and lived to tell the story?

The concept of presenting the eyes of the survivors coupled with a short snippet of their stories, is something that I have not seen before. The result is undeniably compelling and truly heart-wrenching. But we should be compelled forward, not backward. What does it mean to be compelled forward? It means that we must be compelled towards these survivors, their stories, and towards the knowledge of others who are like them, living here in our world. We share a planet with many warriors and we must be moved to hear them, to see their pain, and to realise that we have a very long way to go in terms of securing the societies that we live in so that we can become a safer place, a safer home, for our children. They are the mighty hands that should turn our minds into the directions we ought to go into. What are those directions? The directions of love, of empathy, of knowing what (who) is important in this world. What is important in this world? What is worth our protection? Who is worth our protection? Innocence. Innocence is important, innocence is worth our protection. Our children are important, they are worth our protection. They are worth saving from the very real evils that do exist in all of our societies.

In the meantime, we live in a global community which would tell us to turn our faces away from children and adults who have very difficult stories like these to tell. Our current mainstream mindset would train us to face rainbows and sunshine all day long, because maybe if we look away long enough, stories like this will just stop happening. But the problem with all of this, is that, it is not true! Looking away will not cause realities like this to cease from happening. We need to look towards the brave, look towards the warriors, look towards survivors like these children, like these people, and we need to learn from their stories, we need to learn from what they are telling us. We need to embrace them, to hold them, and to make it our mission to fight for a world wherein people like them won't need to fight anymore. One day, nobody should need to fight for their innocence, fight for their right to a happy and healthy childhood. One day, every child should be happy, healthy and safe. 

We are Eltanin Thuban Draconis and we stand beside Jacquelyn Lamont, we stand beside all of her children, and we stand beside her organisation. We call you to stand beside us, too. Spread the word, like her Facebook Page, follow them on Instagram, get involved, and don't hesitate to send her an email if you want more information straight from the Person of Merit. Together we can all be braver, stronger, together we can all be warriors

Are YOU a person of merit? Do you know a person of merit? Do you like the shiny badge we bestow upon worthy people? 😄  If so, contact us and send in a nomination! We are waiting to uncover goodness!


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