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Courageous Fire CHW LEE

Social Entrepreneur 

What Was My  Problem? 

I'm a Black woman who discovered that my marriage relationship was not a relationship at all; it was domestic violence (DV). Not the kind of DV we're accustomed to seeing, the sneaky types - economic, sexual, spiritual, verbal, and emotional - channeled strategically through coercive control. Nearly every mainstream resource that was supposed to help me and my girls failed us - I didn't act like the "typical" victim. The 15 years it took from me were all a waste unless I could change that narrative for someone else. I found my problem is shared by nearly half of my Black sisters in this country: over 40%.


Solving the National  Problem: 

Beloved, the Black woman has an experience like no other woman in America. She is called upon by all to show up and protected by none.  When trying to escape DV, Black women face 2 categorical barriers:

  1. Mainstream society's misperception of the Black woman during any crisis (Centers of Must)*

  2. Black community's misunderstanding of the needs of Black women during this crisis (Centers of Trust)*

My Mission:

"To create or increase safe spaces for Black women dealing with DV (domestic violence) and other crises." 

Centers of Trust - Learn More
Empowerment Shoot 2021-c_cropped_edited.jpg

About Courageous



Solutions That Work

  • Crucial Conversations®. Skilled in leading hard conversations that yield productive outcomes

  • Motivational Interviewing. Gets people past liking where they are yet wanting the rewards that come from change (overcoming ambivalence)

  • Clifton Strengths®-Based approaches to life. Creates solutions leveraging the strengths of the person or organization

  • Applying Successful Solutions to similar problems


The Black Woman Experience

  • Lived experience of generational poverty 

  • Lived experience as Black woman DV (domestic violence) victim-survivor for13+years in a city, state repetitively ranked as one of the worst places for Black people to live

  • Lived experience as Black single mother of 2 co-surviving children

  • Lived experience of rebuilding post DV

Developing and Delivering Effective Curriculum

  • Adults. Taps into the autonomy that we need while sparking a desire for the best version of who we can be

  • Youths. Brings information they need while openly learning from their brand of expertise 

  • 12+ years of experience for corporations, NGOs, and nonprofits; published DV curriculum

Emotional Intelligence

  • Listening with Trying-It-On Ability. Listens her way into understanding feelings and perspective without having had an experience

  • Painting the Perspective. Leverages her storytelling gifts to help people try on another’s experience

  • Uncanny Skill in Connection. Guides from feeling another’s pain to actions to relieve that pain

  • Nonjudgmentally yet boldly uncovers privilege and its often common bunkmates, misogynoir and classism, fostering reciprocity-based equity



  • Funded through Iowa Department of Health and Human Services with active service contracts consecutively for last 3 years because they understand the importance for the entire State of this training. Training has trained most of the nearly 20 Centers of Trust in Iowa and Missouri, as well as funding training to justice system and child protective system professionals nationally and internationally.

  • Led Statewide mental health initiative in collaboration with Iowa Healthiest State Initiative and 15 Black Iowans and created an  online resource to increase access to exploration to cultural mental health support that works for us. This resource is called #BackTheBlack and has already provided intergenerational mental health support in Iowa within its first year

  • Educated over 20K+ readers of mostly Black readership in Iowa, throughout the country, and even international readership on how to identify DV, culturally-responsive resources, and the specific needs of Black women regarding this epidemic through Urban Experience Magazine and the Black Iowa Newspaper

  • Developed and facilitated curriculum that equipped nearly 100% of Black women DV survivor group to stay out of DV and sustain healthy boundaries for 3+ years

  • Developed and added curriculum to the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence ceritification curriculum! They train member groups' domestic violence advocates throughout the state. My training helps them understand how to serve the unique needs of Black women



History Matters.

The Black woman being characterized as happy to serve, the angry Black woman, the strong Black woman, or hypersexual in nature above other women is not from nowhere. These biases were born from the historical elements of Mammy, Sapphire, and Jezebel as well as the history of the strong Black woman myth. These stereotypes and myths encourage bias and create barriers for the Black woman that she faces daily.

Expectation Matters.

The historical elements previous mentioned encourage biased expectations: 

These biased expectations create barriers for the DV victim-survivor and co-surviving children in the Black community or the community-at-large that: ​

Centers of Trust and Must is vital to understand how history and expectation impact her behavior in crisis and how to respond productively and supportively during the Black woman's DV crisis and recovery.​

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