The Rev. Lea Walker-Clark began Austin nonprofit No More No Mas to help survivors of domestic violence find their strength.
By McKenzie Henningsen, Photos courtesy of No More No Mas
It takes more than telling a woman in an abusive relationship to “just leave” in order to protect them. The guilt, financial strain and physical danger that can come from completely changing one’s lifestyle after a traumatic experience can feel impossible to navigate. That’s where No More No Mas comes in. For the past 12 years, the Austin-based nonprofit organization founded by the Rev. Lea Walker-Clark has supported women and other individuals whose lives have been impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault or substance abuse. Now, Walker-Clark has teamed up with her daughter and No More No Mas Vice President, Tyra Clark, to expand their organization’s reach in the community.
Why did you start No More No Mas?
My family went through a similar situation. This birthed the passion that I have to help people navigate the terrain of resurfacing after they’ve been injured. We’ve been in the trenches. We’ve experienced it personally and professionally, and being women of color, we understand that the nuances can come from all sides, all people. We know what it is to come out of darkness and stand in the light. I started this from an individual point of view, and then it morphed into a nonprofit.
What does No More No Mas do?
We help repair people who are injured by an issue that can be dealt with from an emotional perspective, from a physical perspective, from a financial perspective [or]spiritually. We try to help them find the proper path that helps them do it themselves without leaning on us or being codependent. We’ve been strong enough and educated and trained to understand that people have to do this on their own. They have to take personal responsibility to face their demons and deal with the repair from their perspective. But we give them channels to try to work through and navigate their lives.
Tyra, why did you decide to join your mother’s nonprofit organization?
I used to work in the corporate world. I was on the grid like most of us, and I wanted to do something more impactful, more meaningful with a slower productivity that yielded larger results. So working in a family business, I was just drawn to what my mom did and decided to jump both feet into the nonprofit. I knew that the work she was doing absolutely aligned with where I saw my future personally.
What are some specific ways your organization seeks to heal women?
Rev. Walker-Clark: If they’re willing to be honest and bare it all, their authenticity helps us [to]be able to channel them to navigate their new journey now that they want to get help in a better way through counseling and education. Through volunteering with our organization to get stronger, working with other people and support groups, [we]help them understand that they’re not the only one that has been through the trauma they may be experiencing. Our victims become leaders and teachers…who work on their own issues through other programs that they feel driven to, because they’ve [found]a passion to help others not be stuck in their victimization.
Do you have any advice for women who need to begin their healing process?
Tyra Clark: Just ask for help when you’re ready. We don’t want to force you just because you think you might need help or people are pressuring you. Roll into it when you’re ready, but keep it in the back of your mind. It’s a judgement-free zone, so ask for help in your own way on your own time.
Rev. Walker-Clark: People will tell you when they think you’re trash. You’re not. You are lovely. You’re beautiful. You’re perfect for every situation. Those scars are only reminders that you came through something, but that doesn’t tell you who you are. Just breathe and know that you are loved. And we will help you navigate the path you choose to go on. I want people who are in the state of Texas, or whoever comes to get our services, to understand that we love them. There is a better way if they’re willing to take the time to do the work themselves.