States on Skates Rolls into LA

Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Los Angeles, CA

For 78 days, we've watched four courageous women take on a national movement—literally—to end sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. Calling themselves States on Skates, this group has skated 2,800 miles across 8 states to bring light to the issues and raise funds for the Joyful Heart Foundation. After hearing about their adventure I was captivated by their journey but after experiencing firsthand Gracie, Brenna, Beth and Kim’s spirit and passion, I am absolutely in awe of their resolve and dedication to spreading hope nationwide to survivors and advocates.

Today, States on Skates compete their journey in Santa Monica, California—all the way from Florida—but yesterday, they were welcomed to Los Angeles with open arms. I was honored to be a part of that group. Hosted by the LA Derby Dolls Dolloseum, fans, survivors and local program partners gathered to celebrate their strength and commitment. Representatives from the Mayor’s office awarded certificates of recognition and Joyful Heart presented gifts of appreciation. Everyone made sure to soak in the skaters’ contagious spirit through pictures and candid conversations. Even after their long, arduous journey, the States on Skates team was cheerful and spirited as if they were about to embark on their first mile…not their 2,700th.

 In a heartfelt statement, survivor Helena Lazaro spoke about how States on Skates speaks to Joyful Heart's mission and the journey of survivors everywhere.

“This is the reason I personally connected to the mission of States on Skates—there are so many parallels for the journey of a survivor. Because 'healing' is such a pretty word—and it is a beautiful thing. But getting there isn’t easy. It’s messy, it makes you raw.

It is painful.

It is terrifying.

It is exhilarating.

It is exhausting.

You cry, you break down, you want to give up. But you can’t. So you, you know, eat a lot of cheeseburgers and milkshakes and keep going.

And along the way, you meet wonderful people and learn that there’s more to you than you knew. You get stronger. You discover exactly how much you are capable of. You find communities of loving, supportive women to help carry you through the hardest parts.

You realize that you are powerful. You are resilient. And that if you can make it through this—you can make it through anything.

To the women of States on Skates, thank you for inspiring me and so many others to keep moving forward—no matter how long the road ahead may seem.”

The event was filled with laughter, tears and hope. It was impossible to leave feeling anything less than inspired. While States on Skates’ journey may be coming to a close, they have opened our hearts and eyes. Thank you, Gracie, Brenna, Beth, and Kim. We’ll be your cheerleaders until the end.

To make a donation in honor of States on Skates, visit:

- By Jed Shireman

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