Today is June 1st and it’s also National Pride month. And, it’s the perfect day and time to shine the spotlight on one of favorite people, Phillis Lewis. Phillis is the Founder and CEO of Love Doesn’t Hurt (her bio is listed at the end of this feature). She’s a multi talented advocate, activist, mother, and friend to so many of us. We invite you to learn more about the why and work of Phillis and Love Doesn’t Hurt, and how you can support her efforts to provide additional education to the community and best ways to support to the LGBT community specifically.
How long have you been doing what you do? “I began doing advocacy work in 2009 when I was an intern at the District Attorney’s Office. I later was hired to work directly with victims and witnesses as their cases went through the Criminal Justice System. I started my nonprofit journey in 2010 working with Mid-South Pride, then Memphis Shelby County Domestic & Sexual Violence Council, and in 2012, Love Doesn’t Hurt was created.”
What types of services does your organization/agency/business provide? “We provide emergency assistance to address housing, food insecurity, basic need items, Cultural Humility Training, and referrals to community resources.“
What made you decide to pursue this journey? “I made the decision when I discovered that there were social service providers who were not welcoming to all. They focused on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity instead of helping them to heal from the trauma they experienced. Also, I saw that there were service providers that wanted to help but didn’t have the proper training to assist the community to become better allies. We cannot do it alone. Working together helps to provide the best outcome for the community.“
What are some of the most gratifying parts of what you do? “I enjoy seeing others thrive and accomplish their goals, may it be big or small. That empowerment can go a long way when you have overcome a traumatic experience. I also enjoy working with my community partners working as one to create that safety net that the client needs to recover from their incidents. I enjoy educating. Knowledge is power and people fear what they don’t understand. The more people know, the more we all can thrive.“
What are some of the most disheartening things about what you do? “Realizing that everyone is not treated equally. Some make decisions about people they’ve never met and discrimination harms more than just LGBTQ+.“
Do you have any events coming up? “Meet Your Liaisons 6/4; Unpacking Trauma and Begin Healing 6/29.“
Do you have any needs that would better assist you to do what you do? “The obvious is money. But, we also need hygienic products, volunteers, and support, etc. It takes a village and we are always looking for allies.“
What main point(s) do you want the readers to take away from this article? “Abuse, violence, and trauma do not discriminate. It can happen to anyone…anywhere. Don’t be closed minded and miss out on meeting someone amazing.“
How can people get in touch with you?
Phone: (901) 213-7661
About Phillis Lewis: Phillis Lewis was born in Chicago but now resides in Memphis, TN with her family. She has worked as an advocate for victims of Domestic Violence and other Violent Crimes in the LGBTQ Community for over 10 years and is the Founder of Love Doesn’t Hurt. She is graduate of the University of Memphis, receiving her Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice & Criminology. In 2019, she was voted to be President of the Memphis Shelby County Domestic & Sexual Violence Council. Phillis works with many non profit organizations such as Mid-South Pride, Friends For Life, Memphis Pegasus Krewe, Planned Parenthood, Men of Hoist, Out Memphis, and donates her time as well to many others.