We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandy Storm and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandy, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
As an abolitionist, I am inspired by the work of those who have gone before me raising the battle cry for justice, and by knowing that every day the work I’m doing is truly making an impact – captives are being set free, lives are being restored, and our children will be safer. I am humbled and honored to follow the well-worn path laid by the men and women who wailed for slaves to be freed in the 1800s, the soldiers who literally fought and died on the battlefield with the goal of making purchasing people a thing of the past, and the righteous warriors who have been crusading for women and children to be viewed as human beings with inherent dignity, destiny, and purpose. Working for over a decade in the Justice Movement has allowed me crucial insight into what it really means to fight for freedom and how the systematic exploitation of vulnerable people has been a plague on society for centuries. I am still inspired, knowing there have been many victories along the way, and because of my commitment to the cause, we are contending for new conquests daily. My personal story of overcoming abuse and trafficking may be inspiring to others, but for me, it is fuel and it drives me to set my face as flint against the enemy and fight every single day for freedom, justice, and restoration of all those who are being oppressed.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It is sometimes hard for me to believe I am a published author who has spoken at colleges, universities, seminars, conferences, churches, and community events all over the country. Telling my story is never easy, but I’ve created a unique writing style that I refer to as an allegorical memoir. The distinctive traits of this technique paint a picture in the reader’s mind, captivating them as the storyline and plot unfold and allow the characters to develop. A good comparison would be like the difference between watching a documentary filled with dry facts and figures, compared to watching movies based on true events that engage the audience in action and drama as it unfolds. Being an author always seemed like an impossible dream to me when I was growing up. I would fantasize about seeing my name on the covers of books that I would passionately devour, but as a pre-teen runaway and a broken young woman who was all-too-familiar with the pain of rape and exploitation, I never expected to have that daydream become a reality. Because my childhood was filled with pain, loss, abuse, and instability, I spent most of my time and energy in survival mode and left the preparation and planning for the future to the kids around me who were experiencing the safe, secure types of lives that would produce high school graduates with attainable goals of pursuing journalism degrees and someday having careers and families and mortgages. All I ever thought I would have was heartache, but I did love to write. The controversial topics and unique style I employed would stun my English teachers at the small, rural high school I attended. While I would always receive high marks for the grammar and technical structure of my work, often the content would concern them. It was common for red ink to be scribbled across an essay commenting about the story I had written, asking me if I wanted to talk with them about the issues I was facing. Because of the lack of structure in my life, I barely made it to school enough days to obtain my high school diploma, and while I eventually did receive a copy in the mail, I missed out on the ceremony and related pomp and circumstance. Getting a college degree and learning how to effectively express myself using words was not within my reach. Instead of sharing the experiences of other young adults coming of age in dorm rooms and lecture halls, I struggled through addiction and entrapments that kept me bound to a life on the streets, trapped in a cycle of hopelessness and despair. Many years after I escaped the horrific life of trafficking and exploitation, once I had spent years healing and being restored, I sat down and started to write, and before I knew it, an entire book had poured out of me. Since then, I have created a trilogy by writing two additional volumes in the Navi series, and I’m currently working on a new book. While my books reveal the reality of difficult situations like child abuse, rape, trafficking, and grief, I intentionally take care to guard the heart of the reader so as not to inflict harm. It takes a great deal of grace to prevent the audience from experiencing residual trauma when reading about these topics, but I seek to inspire and empower the community, so I allow my work to be real enough to educate, but I sprinkle hope on every page and keep the underlying theme in line with the end of the story when redemption comes.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex means never having an excuse to be bored. There is something happening every day of the week, and because there are so many cultures converging in one space, each day’s experiences can be from one extreme to another. Entertaining my BFF in my own backyard would require a trip to Deep Elum for some local beers from a microbrewery and a photoshoot with street art and murals as the colorful backgrounds. Instead of the touristy trip up Reunion Tower, I would book a night in the hospitality suite at the Omni downtown (little known secret – the wraparound room has floor-to-ceiling windows that give an astonishing view of the twinkling downtown skyline). Ordering room service and experiencing a little pampering at the spa, along with a dip in the terrace infinity pool would be checked off the list. Texas dirt produces some deliciously earthy wines and the best place to experience many of those offerings is along the historic strip of Main Street in Grapevine. Sipping some grown-up grape juice from family-owned Bingham’s would be a great place to start because their story is as sweet as the Fine & Dandy red wine they dedicated to their grandpa. Lunch at Weinberger’s and stopping through the Farmer’s Market of Grapevine would continue the locally-owned theme, and then we would check in at Debi Meek’s Bermuda Gold & Silver, a jewelry store housed in a former bank that was once robbed by the Bonnie & Clyde gang (ask Debi for the whole story, she loves talking about Grapevine history!) Zig-zagging through some sidewalk sales and local merchants we could then enjoy a lovely glass of Texas Sparkling Almond Wine on the balcony or side patio of Messina Hof, grab some great Mexican Food and award-winning margaritas at Esparza’s and end the night with a glass of wine at the unique and funky Umbra topped off with some great live music at Tolbert’s and Willhoite’s. Our tour of the best parts of North Texas would not be complete without a trip to Fort Worth to experience the fun of the Stockyards where visits to cowboy museums, unique shops, and a cattle drive of Longhorn Steer through the brick streets of the city are everyday events. Sundance Square would be the next stop for some great grub and Mambo Taxis at Taco Diner, dessert and drinks at the Cheesecake Factory and slipping into the Scat Jazz Lounge for some soulful songs, all under the watch of a pair of 48-foot tall trumpeting angels carved out of the limestone walls of Bass Hall. As a nature lover, I would be sure to get some kayaking in, either at Meadowmere Park on Lake Grapevine, down south at Joe Pool Lake or along the Trinity River. After a day of fun in the sun, a stroll along Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth with a stop by Spiral Diner (vegan favorite!) and dessert at Melt would be the perfect ending to our adventure.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a shoutout to Dallas-based nonprofit DeliverFund. Currently serving as General Advisor to this organization has been like being able to see the inner workings of a fine-tuned, well-oiled machine – and that machine’s sole purpose is to crush evil! DeliverFund is a private, nonprofit intelligence firm that trains, equips, and advises law enforcement agents from all over the nation to hunt, arrest and prosecute human traffickers, thereby rescuing victims and making communities safer. This work is done by using technology data systems that mimic the programs CIA agents and other special operatives employ to hunt terrorists. This essentially turns the technology tools criminals use to recruit, groom, and traffic vulnerable members of our communities against the traffickers, bringing an end to their illicit enterprise. I want to put DeliverFund in the spotlight because the work our analysts are doing every day is game-changing within the anti-trafficking space. These creative new solutions are scalable and have had a 100% success rate, resulting in prosecution of the offender in every case the organization has directly assisted law enforcement with.
Other: https://www.goodreads.com/authorsandystorm amazon.com/author/sandystorm deliverfund.org
Nominate someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.