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Celebrating Family Stories Month

When Marriage Service Technician, Andrea Riley, registered for a Generational Trauma Facilitator’s Training in 2020, little did she realize that she was about to embark on her own personal generational trauma healing journey.  In 2021, a DNA test led her to unknown relatives and untold stories about her ancestors and their rich family history. Newly-found family members on Ancestry.com shared documentaries about the 1920 Ocoee, FL Election Day Massacre.  Unbeknown to Andrea, her great, great-grandparents, Jackson and Annie Hamiter, were among the Black survivors who were forced to leave their homes, farms, and property - or face certain death.  

After a year of research, discoveries, and rich conversations, Andrea, husband, Cliff, and daughter, Eternity, made the voyage to Ocoee, the town where injustice, prejudice, and voter suppression resulted in a lynching, as well as arson of businesses, churches, and homes (many with residents burning inside of them).  An untold number of Blacks were shot as they fled the flames.  Their lifeless bodies were thrown into Lake Apopka.  

The City of Ocoee held its 3rd Annual Ocoee Remembers Weekend to honor the memory of the victims and survivors of the massacre, as well as their descendants.  The Rileys were honored to share in the reading of the names of every Black citizen listed on the 1920 census at both the weekend’s opening and closing events.  Andrea Riley spoke, recited original poetry, and depicted her Grandmother Annie at three of the events.

Generational Trauma Healing Facilitator, Andrea Riley, is interviewed by Quest Trauma Healing Center's Executive Director, Desiree Guyton. They discuss her Generational Trauma Healing journey and her family's recent visit to the town where her great-great-grandparents once lived, owned land, and prospered for 30 years. This same town was where the 1920 Ocoee Florida Election Day Massacre took place. Learn what happened over 100 years ago, how the secrets were buried for generations, and how Andrea's grandmother, Annie Hamiter's letter (which now resides in the Library of Congress) resurfaced 10 decades later.

LISTEN & READ

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