And then from there, a precocious, very intelligent, very creative child grew up to be frail, angry, a drug addict by the time she was 20. Six children, all of which have been taken by social services. A prostitute. An IV drug user. You know, memories demand attention, because memories have teeth. And in my vision, and in my dreams, when I pray for my sister . . . you pray in general terms. You pray that she finds peace and love and happiness, she gets off drugs. And then of course you open your eyes, and you’re like, she’s still on the streets.
I wish she had had the Stuart House to throw her a rope, because her whole life could have been different. There are a lot of beautiful stories that are going to come out of the Stuart House . . . there’s going to be so many testimonies of winning and heroic young people literally opening their mouths and speaking about their abuse — daring to call out their abusers. And I guess if there was anything I was going to speak about today, I’m going to speak about my sisters of the world. The people who fell through the cracks. The people who didn’t have a Stuart House.
Viola ended the speech telling the crowd,
This is a day the lord has made, and I’m going to rejoice and be glad in it, because I wish I could tell my sister that she’s not dirty, and that she should not feel any shame for something that she literally was not responsible for. I wish I could save her life.
See her speech below.