CommUNITY Champion unites Iowans through difficult discussions


STACEY: VANESSA MCNEAL IS AN
IOWA NATIVE WHO HAS RECEIVED
NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR HER
DOCUMENTARY ON SEX TRAFFICKING. SHE TRAVELS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY
GIVING SPEECHES AND MAKING FILMS
REFLECTIVE OF ISSUES PEOPLE
DON’T WANT TO DEAL WITH, SOME
STEMMING FROM HER PERSONAL
STORY. SHE’S THIS WEEK’S COMMUNITY
CHAMPION. ♪
>>IT’S ONE OF THE MOST
PERVASIVE AND DISTURBING CRIMES
OF ALL TIME, SEX TRAFFICKING. THE MOST DISTRESSING AND OFTEN
OVERLOOKED FACT SURROUNDING SEX
TRAFFICKING IS THAT THERE ARE
PEOPLE WILLING TO BUY OTHER
PEOPLE FOR THEIR OWN SEXUAL
SATISFACTION. I JUST FEEL LIKE I’M SUPER
GUIDED IN THIS LIFE, AND MY
INTUITION CALLS ME TO STORIES. SO I JUST, WHETHER IT BE I MEET
SOMEONE OR I FEEL A KNOWING, IT
LEADS ME TO MY NEXT PROJECT OR
STORY. REPORTER: CULTIVATING THAT
INTUITION INTO AN IMPACTFUL
STORY HAS BECOME HER CALLING. STORIES REFLECTIVE OF HER OWN
PERSONAL JOURNEY OF SURVIVING
ABUSE AND VIOLENCE.>>I AM THE TEARS CRIED EVERY
NIGHT BEFORE BED. I AM HAPPENING IN SO MANY
PLACES. I WANT TO EXTEND MYSELF TO YOU,
FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY SOUL. REPORTER: THIS DAVENPORT NATIVE
USES HER STRENGTH TO BRING DARK
TRUTHS TO LIGHT.>>IT’S AN ACTUAL THING. A CROWD IDENTITY THAT IOWANS
WEAR LIKE A BADGE. IT TRICKS US INTO BELIEVING
NOTHING BAD COULD EVER HAPPEN
HERE. FOR NINE AGONIZING YEARS, THIS
LITTLE GIRL WAS SOLD OVER AND
OVER AND OVER AGAIN.>>I DECIDED THAT MY STORY, MY
LEGACY WAS TO TELL MY STORY, MY
PERSONAL STORY, SURVIVING ABUSE
AND VIOLENCE. SO, THAT’S WHERE MY WORK AND
DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING STARTED. REPORTER: SHE SITS IN THIS
CORNER FOR HOURS, WRITING A
SPEECH FOR A CONFERENCE OR
RESEARCHING A STORY, LETTING HER
INTUITION GUIDE HER FOR WHAT’S
NEXT. THE CREATIONS ARE CONSTANT, AND
EVERY SINGLE WORD IS
INTENTIONAL.>>I’M HERE TO TALK ABOUT THINGS
THAT PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO TALK
ABOUT. THAT’S MY WORK, MY PURPOSE.>>SHE DOES THE HEAVY LIFTING TO
SAY THE WORDS THAT ANY W– MANY
WON’T, SO THAT OTHERS CAN HAVE
THE COURAGE TO.>>THIS LITTLE GIRL CAME UP TO
ME, MAYBE 10 OR 12, AND SHE SAID
MY BEST FRIEND WENT THROUGH
SOMETHING THAT YOU DID, AND I
HOPE THAT SHE TURNS OUT THE WAY
THAT YOU DID. REPORTER: THIS IS JUST THE
BEGINNING.>>I’M ACTUALLY IN THE PROCESS
OF SETTING UP MY NONPROFIT,
WHICH WILL BE A STELLAR — A
STORYTELLING ORGANIZATION THAT
FOCUSES ON SOCIAL CHANGE THROUGH
STORYTELLING. M█Y VISION THROUGHTHIS IS THAT
WE CAN TALK ABOUT THINGS THAT WE
KNOW ARE HAPPENING AND AFFECTING
ALL OF US AND THAT WE DO SO IN A
WAY WHERE WE ARE HONORING THE
PERSON GOING THROUGH IT AND COME UP WITH A COLLECTIVE SOLUTION
FOR EVERYONE, INSTEAD OF PUTTING
IT UNDER THE RUG. STACEY: BY THE WAY, VANESSA’S
NEXT DOCUMENTA




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