Most people label her as a survivor. I, call her a hero. I was not there to face what she faced, or see what she saw, but, I was there, by her side, to witness her bravery when she took the stand to testify for the United States Senate.
After a long night of prep, going over her testimony, and then, a very early and long car ride, we finally arrived in Atlanta where we were greeted by a nice young gentleman from Senator Ossoff's staff. He had been outside waiting for us as we pulled in the parking lot. He escorted us inside where we were then introduced to more of the senators staff. Everyone was so kind. We were given a tour of the judicial hearing room, the witness room, (where we would wait to be called from), and a side hall to where we could discreetly exit after testifying to try and avoid the media.
A few minutes prior to entering into the judicial hearing room, Senator Ossoff and a staff member entered into the witness room where Tiffani and I sat. The senator wanted to take a few minutes to speak directly to Tiffani and thank her for her bravery. The senator looked her directly in the eye and spoke with a soft, compassionate tone, letting her know she was in a safe place. He spoke to her as if no one else was in the room. Shortly after the senator left the room, we were then asked to take our seats in the front of the hearing room. As we sat there, with cameras all around us, Tiffani took a few minutes to focus on her testimony. I asked her one last time, are you sure you want to do this? She very confidently answered, "yes, I want to tell my story. If they did this to me, they have done this to others".
After being sworn in, Tiffani began to tell the world her side of her story. She told how she entered the foster care system at a very young age, she experienced abuse, neglect, and eventually trafficking. There was a time during the questioning where Tiffani was brought right back to that moment, causing her revisit that trauma. At the end of Tiffani's testimony, she said "I now have an attorney and a CASA who will fight for me, for the first time, I have hope".
It is an honor to be her CASA. Despite the difficulties, she is hopeful about the future.
Her life story is truly inspiring, showing that resilience can overcome any obstacle. She is a reminder that even in the face of unimaginable adversity, we can find the strength to rise above and become a voice for change.