I interviewed Khary Penebaker in the basement of his home in Wisconsin on a weeknight, where at times, you can hear his family going about their nightly routine. Khary’s mother died by suicide when he was twenty months old. It took 36 years after her death until he started openly talking about his story. In this interview, he talks about the fellow survivors that made him feel supported and safe enough to do so.
This is a longer interview with only some cosmetic editing, but breaks have been added (see below) to let you know what’s coming in the next segment. I encourage you to listen to the whole thing, even if it isn’t in one sitting, because as you’ll learn, Khary has a compelling and inspiring story. He is taking his advocacy to a level most wouldn’t consider.
Khary talks about what life was like growing up without his biological mom. His strength is evident as he discusses how sought help to deal with emotions he’d kept to himself all his life, how he deals with special days that can bring on enormous pain, and how he listens to and supports other survivors.
We discuss the work and strength of various survivors he’s met, motivated by helping other survivors through listening, connection and trying to save every day Americans from experiencing the violence they have been exposed to.
Khary is taking things a step further by running for Congress as a few people in the violence prevention movement have. In fact, Tom Sullivan of CO, The Sodina Project’s first interview, has since announced that he’s running for CO state senate. Khary is campaigning for Wisconsin’s 5th congressional district against a 38 year incumbent, Jim Sensenbrenner.
Brief breaks and a preview of what’s in the next segment have been inserted in the interview at the following points: 19:40, 41:16 and 1:02:30
Accompanying music: Star Seed by Jennifer Zulli
Calls to action:
- The Sodina Project shares stories to foster connection and save lives. This grass-roots movement needs your help in connecting with others. Please share the stories and blog posts with your friends and social networks if they have moved you or made you reflective. You will find sharing options at the end of each post.
- Support Khary’s campaign for Congress
- Join Khary and others in one of the gun violence prevention organizations
- Get involved in brain health and/or suicide and injury prevention
If you have a story to share about the death of a loved one as a result of violence, please submit your story or contact us here.
Sodina | Voices to Stop Violence
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