Interview News

Shana Washington Speaks Life into the Nation’s Youth

by Shriya Raja

“Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you, doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to do it alone.”

– Lisa Olivera

Mental health is an extremely broad topic and can affect people in many ways. Talking to Shana Washington, the CEO of Shana Speaks Life, gave me an entirely different perspective on how our nation’s youth are affected by these mental health issues, especially in racial minorities.

Shana Washington was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is married and has a 16-year-old son. She has two degrees in business management and is very passionate about helping young women discover themselves.

As a teenager, Shana had trouble processing her mental health. She felt as though no one could understand what she was going through. Being a part of a minority, it was looked down on to get help or go to therapy. Those who sought help were considered weak or fragile like they couldn’t handle life. In reality, however, it was the complete opposite. Those who are brave enough to share their experiences and their mental health are strong. Going to therapy should not be looked down on.

People that are a part of minorities tend to think that they have no one to turn to. However, there are always people around them that are probably going through the exact same things they are. By talking with Shana, I discovered the importance of sharing your experiences. Mental health issues can seem enormous and impossible to recover from when you’re alone, but when you have the ability to talk to someone that understands, it may seem a little less daunting.

Shana Washington is a role model for women around the world. She has experienced the struggles of dealing with mental health issues and has risen above them to help others who feel as though they have no one to talk to. She is a role model, a mentor, and a friend to anyone who needs one.

(Article also available in July Newsletter)


Protesters Rally Against Violence in Community

Protesters march against gun deaths and other forms of violence.

Marchers start out in the rain in the “Stop the Violence” walk in Onancock on Sunday, Dec. 29. The march was organized in response to recent incidents of gun violence and other violence on the Eastern Shore. Photo by Carol Vaughn.

By Carol Vaughn —

More than three dozen people marched against violence on a rainy Sunday in Onancock.

More than three dozen people marched against violence on a rainy Sunday in Onancock.

Organized by minister Quintavion Washington, the march from near the edge of town to the gazebo downtown caught the attention of passersby, one of whom rolled down his truck window and shouted thanks to the marchers.

Washington said he is coordinating with law enforcement and school officials to find ways “to stop the violence in our young people.”

“Gun violence doesn’t start with a gun; it starts at home; it starts in their early years,” Washington said, calling the problem “a chain reaction of mental, verbal, physical, and emotional abuse.”

Deaths as a result of gun violence are “so prevalent in our community that we have gotten numb to the situation,” he said, adding, “…We have to get to the point that we stand up against this violence and say that we are not going to take this any longer — not in our streets, not in our communities, not in our households — but we are going to be united together and we are going to fight this fight together.”

Sheila Savage West speaks during the “Stop the Violence” walk in Onancock on Sunday, Dec. 29. Photo by Carol Vaughn. West’s son was murdered when he was 26 years old.

Several speakers followed Washington’s remarks, including mothers who have experienced the loss of a child as the result of violence.

Sheila Savage West spoke about her son, who was murdered at age 26.

“You expect to see certain things in their lives. You expect to see them graduate from college, which he was about to do; you expect him to one day come to you and say, ‘Mom, this is my fiancee,’ and you expect to attend their wedding, which I won’t get to do,” she said.

“There is a problem, and we have to find the answer to the problem,” West said.

Pamela Johnson spoke about her son, who was fatally shot at age 20.

“It devastated my whole family, the community, and everybody that knew him. He was a father; he left a 7-month-old daughter; he was a brother; he was an uncle; and he was loved by many,” she said, noting her son had come home from college for the summer when he got into an altercation and was shot and killed.

Protesters march along Market Street in the “Stop the Violence” walk in Onancock Sunday, Dec. 29. The march was organized in response to recent incidents of gun violence and other violence on the Eastern Shore. Photo by Carol Vaughn.

She urged listeners to speak up if they know of trouble brewing in the community.

“Talk to your kids; don’t let your kids walk around mad,” she said.

Shana Turner of Virginia Beach lost her son two years ago at age 25.

Turner founded the group Hampton Roads M. A. S. K., which stands for Mothers Against Senseless Killings, after the tragedy.

“It’s not always about gang violence. Guns are killing everyone — domestic violence, mental health, suicide, bullying. My son was leaving work, doing his normal routine” when a coworker shot him nine times, Turner said.

She urged anyone affected by violence who needs help to contact the organization, which is on facebook at hr.mask@facebook and on Instagram at The website is

“We need to stop killing one another,” she said.

Another speaker, Christina Schmitt, advisor for National Youth Week USA, is a former assistant principal at Arcadia High School.

“The Eastern Shore has a special place for me…It matters. I drove four hours to make sure I was here today,” she said.

The organization is designating June 13-19, 2020, as National Youth Week, Schmitt said. The website is

The organization also promotes, an app developed to help young people identify issues they are struggling with, including resources to help them cope.

The organization also has a telephone support line — OMI CASE Support Line 844-4NYWUSA(469-9872).

“When I left the Shore, my heart was still here, and I know there is a need in this community for youth programming,” she said, adding, “There are resources here, and you have to come together.”

Original post at Eastern Shore Post