"I'm the vice-president of NAASCA, the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse. We work with adult survivors, but we fight for children's rights because children don't have a voice; we all know this. So what we do as survivors is we go around and work with different organizations. We do our best to get help for everyone. Many times, kids are in a situation where it's family members who abuse them and they don't dare tell. They've been threatened, they've been told that they're going to get killed if they tell, or they're going to kill other family members, so the kids keep their mouths shut. When children don't get the help they need, like I didn't, they end up, many times, out on the streets, they turn to alcohol and drugs, they get into detention centers, and also in foster care. If the foster care is not a good foster home, those kids run from those homes, and then we have to worry about those kids being pimped out. They get into human trafficking. So when you go into Walmart and you see those missing kids on the wall, they may be dead, they may be alive. Many of them are a part of the 'Underground Railroad' trafficking. I was kidnapped and raped when I was 12 years old in Staten Island, and I was lucky because I was brought back. I was one of 14 he abused and that guy only got three years in prison. He ruined 14 little girls' lives. For years I suffered from panic attacks--I even wrote a book called 'Panic Child.' And statutes of limitation have to be addressed because when a child has been abused and they can't speak, they push it back in their minds and a lot of times they don't even tell their friends. Also, first time offenders--it doesn't mean they've had only one victim. It just means that it's the first time they got caught. So that's something that's near to my heart, that they get heavy sentencing just like all the rest. On one of our streets, we have 72 pedophiles. Seventy two. And there's children all over the place. Law enforcement has to work harder; we have to come together. If we have everyone's backs we can cut down on these crimes in our own neighborhoods."
You can find her website at www.naasca.org.
"I was a firefighter for 12 years. It was fun. I loved seeing the kids. The kids for some reason love the firemen and they're not so warm to the police officers. The kids love the idea of going over to the fire trucks; maybe it's because they're big and red versus a police car since they see it go down the street all the time. But also, everyone knows about the inherent dangers of being a firefighter. But being trained, a firefighter knows what's gonna happen and anticipates. I had a good 12 years."
"I was psyched the first time I was getting my license, and being able to do stuff on my own. Growing up was hard because my parents don't have a lot of money and they're separated. But once I was able to get things settled by myself, stuff got a lot easier for me."
"To have a good family makes me happy, and seeing my mom after 14 years. I didn't see her because I didn't have papers yet, so my mom finally had a visa to come visit me. Like I said, 14 years."
Josh and Brittany talk about their experience helping out during Hurricane Katrina:
Brittany: "We met in New Orleans doing relief work for Hurricane Katrina. He was down there for a year; I was down there for about six months, and just met down there. He said, 'Do you want to move to Pennsylvania?' and I said, 'Sure! Let's do it!' I was originally from Arizona."
Josh: "We're actually Jehovah's Witnesses. We were down there and we just happened to bump into each other and meet."
Brittany: "We wanted to help other people. Their lives are in shambles, and we wanted to give back and help people out, rebuild their homes. We worked in the Lower Ninth Ward, where there were mostly slums."
Josh: "That's the area that got affected with the levees. That area wasn't supposed to get flooded, but once the levees broke, that's the area that got hit the hardest."
Brittany: "People were always very kind to us. We had to tear walls out and wear Tyvek suits, and we had other crews that would rebuild from the ground up."
J and B also feel very strongly about recycling. In fact, they own Rag and Bone Recycling in Easton. Check out their website at ragandbonerecycling.com.
I caught Andy Tirado playing guitar at the Public Market:
"My dad was a musician. I come from a Puerto Rican household; he played an instrument called the cuatro--it's got four sets of double strings, so it's got eight strings total, but they're in groups of two. And so I grew up around it, you know, and it always intrigued me. I started playing technically like around age thirteen, fourteen, but I didn't really start taking it seriously until my early twenties--I'm 27 now--so, like, the past six years I've been gigging and playing shows and stuff. Lately I've been playing out weekly, sometimes twice a week, sometimes three times a week. I've been trying to play some more of my original stuff as well as covers; I'm also a composer. I'm coming out with an EP by the end of the summer for my project called 'Jamazon.' It's like rock, but like fusion; it's got elements of everything--I like all types of music, so it's got some jazz, it's definitely got a lot of Latin from my roots, some funk. It's fun stuff and I think it'll appeal to a lot of different people because it's got a lot of different things in there. "
"What inspires you to write?"
"Personal experiences. Not just my own, but other people's experiences, too. Whatever moves me. For example, one of my songs is inspired by a friend of mine who was suffering from depression, so I wrote a song about that, but a more uplifting kind of story, 'cause he ended up being okay. So, stuff that just makes me feel good and that I think will make other people feel good, 'cause that's what everybody wants, right? To feel good."
Check out his Insta @andrewtirado19
"We're all unique. Everyone is different. None of us are the same. Just like the leaves we're all different. Everyone goes through their own experiences. I have a beautiful experience with God, and I think there's a lot of people that do that. It's our own individual experiences between Him and the rest of us as individuals."
These are the stories of the people of Easton, PA