Today we’d like to introduce you to LaTasha Jackson-McDougle.
LaTasha, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
During my childhood, my household was without a mother and father. I was orphaned at the age of 18 months; my father killed my mother and himself. I witnessed this lose at a young age, this was my introduction to domestic violence. I was left under guardianship care of my maternal grandparents; I remember having questions about my mom and with a brave face and a smile, my granny told me that my mother was in heaven. As a young child, I was filled with questions. Why did she leave me? Why is she in Heaven? My granny would say was that I would understand when I got older. She reassured me that I was loved and Christ would protect me. The encouraging words soothed me as a child, but as the years passed on my heart was still empty.
In the sixth grade, I found a newspaper article hidden in a dresser drawer. The article was about the death of my parents. That same year, a teacher told me that statistics said that because I was an orphan, raised by my grandparents in a low-income community that I would be unsuccessful. Those words hurt me to my core, however, it motivated me to beat statistics and prove to others that no matter what statistics say about them, they can be the person who changes that stat. During my high school years, I was determined to be a successful, rich lawyer. However, upon graduating, I convinced myself that what happened to my parents was an accident. My father did not intentionally hurt my mother and himself. I still wasn’t 100% sure if I knew what domestic violence was. I struggled with anxiety and anger. I suffered from random numbness and tingling in my face, but I kept it hidden. By college, I begin taking social work courses with my criminal justice classes. The classes taught me more about trauma. Most children left with grandparents or placed in foster care due to domestic violence struggle with a health issue, end up victims or abusers in relationships.
I wanted a positive change for myself and for other children in my situation. Firstly, I had to “know” my situation. I performed a full investigation of the death of my parents. I received several case reports from the Fort Worth Police Department. The information was overwhelming. At the end of the investigation, I learned, my mother Cheryl, was not my father’s only victim. I was also a victim. I learned of the surgeries I had at birth due to the abusive stress my mother endured while pregnant with me. The abuse increased and the reports had shown the elevation of the violence. My mom did all she could to protect me and herself; however, she lost her life in the process. Thirty-four years later, I gave up my dreams of being a “rich” lawyer and decided to take my anger and anxiety to get the ultimate revenge on what tried to destroy me; by dedicating my life to be an advocate for children who suffered from the same tragedy.
Devoting my life and education to learn more about domestic violence, played an active role in my efforts to bring awareness to domestic violence. My motivation for sharing my story is to encourage other children that were also left behind as I was. My heart aches for the ones who are not as fortunate as I was to have two loving grandparents to take care of them. My mission is to be a voice for children who have suffered the loss of their parent(s) due to domestic violence or suicide. Therefore, I started Cheryl’s Voice to bring honor and memory to my mom.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I experience struggles daily with trying to get support in bringing awareness, Our last free awareness summit had 100 people register and about 30 people attend, shortly after we experienced more children witnessing the murder of their mother’s or witnessing abuse in the home. I refuse to wake up in the mornings focusing on these kinds of struggles roadblocks; I am determined to overcome them daily. Domestic violence is a topic people are not comfortable with talking about, my dream is in October, I will have an abundance of request to share my story and educate others on the topic. If I had one wish; I would wish that one day I will be able to walk into a store in October and see a section of products of Pink for breast cancer awareness and the purple area for domestic violence awareness.
With my non-profit, Cheryl’s Voice, I have learned when offering to provide education on domestic violence for every rejection there is a lesson behind it. I begin to partner with other local non-profits who have the same mission, in Tarrant County, we are a small group of non-profits, therefore, it is important to choose community over competition. In doing this it has expanded our impact and made overcoming the obstacles easier.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
My core passions are speaking to youth; women and men to increase their knowledge of dating violence, intimate partner violence, and overcoming childhood trauma.
Whether in a school, juvenile detention, civic or conference venue, we tailor our message for each audience and setting. I ensure I am engaging and relatable, endeavoring to leave audiences both educated and inspired. Cheryl’s Voice provides presentations on an array of titles in a variety of venues including but not limited to the following:
Turning Your Trauma into Your Victory
Life after Death: Overcoming Childhood Trauma
How the Criminal Justice System can be of service to Victims & Abusers
Effects of Domestic Violence to Children
Domestic Violence 101
The correlation of Teen Dating Violence and Sex Trafficking
Speaking from the perspective of the child left behind due to domestic violence homicide and suicide sets Cheryl’s Voice apart from other organizations. In addition, we connect people to resources in the community and provide them with assistance in the process. Lastly, we host a yearly bear drive and donate them to local non-profit that provides direct services to children who have been victimized.
- Phone: 682-325-9307
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: cherylsvoice
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamcherylvoice/
- Twitter: @IAmCherylsVoice