Iona Rudisill Speaks About Defending Self-Justice
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
As a Black, Indigenous, Women of Color, I have learned to embrace the fullness of who I am and who God has created me to be. I am an African American and Native American woman of the Shinnecock Indian Tribe, who draws strength from my relationship with God and my family. My life was enriched by stories of hope and faith about the lives my maternal great grandmother and paternal grandparents had to lead because of their heritage and the times of which they lived.
The creator of this universe, chooses to give gifts so the gift of my voice cannot be haphazardly used. I learned that when people describe my voice as “melodious”, “comforting”, “loving”, “authentic”, and “empowering”, it is a compliment that belongs to God, instrumental family members, and myself.
Although, growing up, I didn’t love or even like my voice, through the years and with encouragement from my husband I realized that it was not just what I say but how I say what needs to be said.
My journey to this understanding, allowed me the opportunity to launch the podcast, “Iona Speaks about Defending Self-Justice.”
This podcast is a platform for women and mothers to be strengthened in our awareness of knowing all of our traumatic experiences give us power in our voice. The effects of a life threatening car accident I experienced decades ago, resulting in severe head trauma and brain injury, motivate me to use God’s gift as His mouthpiece, for His purpose.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
There are challenges for everyone. I am successful because I have accepted that I am fearful and wonderfully made. I do not believe that challenges are detrimental but rather necessary for enlightenment and inspiration. Prior to the 4th season of “Iona Speaks about Defending Self-Justice,” increasing my listening base around the world, amid my first book being published I needed to make key lifestyle adjustments.
A sinus infection became debilitating for me due to the severe head trauma and brain injury I have, exposing my progressive movement to several vulnerabilities. However, with the theme of this podcast and knowing my voice is a beautiful gift from God, this challenge afforded me the opportunity to be more vulnerable to bring growth in myself, increasing my relatability.
Unplanned and unexpected situations that result in being intentional about how we live are keys to growing success for each individual. Challenges can highlight a person’s vulnerability, where necessary shifts are made. Aiko Bethea wrote, “We may not be able to control the fact that we are by default, vulnerable in this society, in this world but we can share our narrative on our terms and use it for connection and empowerment instead of hustling for our worth.”
I believe that my success is not my value or my worth but rather my life demonstrates my value and worth because even when I considered pausing, I became encouraged when God said, “Now is the time to be intentional.”
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
Not only have I overcome traumatic experiences, my professional career has been devoted to being an advocate and abolitionist against sexual crimes against youth and emerging adults for over 29 years. As a licensed social worker, I have conducted training on various dynamics of sexual exploitation and consulted with nationally accredited children advocacy centers on program development related to child trafficking.
Through researching a variety of relevant life situations, such as but not limited to the impact of brain development, the necessity of faith, reproductive justice, and social justice I have interviewed bestselling authors and nationally acclaimed medical professionals as guests for the podcast. God’s purpose through me is to provide healing and restoration to women and mothers in pain for them to walk in their dominion through the strength of awareness and the power of voice.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success?
Having success is your right. A Defender of Self-Justice is not about the legal system but rather guarding and protecting who God says you are, what gifts you have, and what purpose you have been created to fulfill regardless of the trauma and painful experiences you endure.
There are five ways to become a Defender of Self-Justice. One way is that “You Must Know that Justice is not Defined by the World, but Defined by Who Created this World.” You are seen and heard by God, so no human being can define you or restrict your movements in an opaque box that others tried to lock you inside. Don’t allow anyone to define your narrative as they don’t have the power or authority to do so. Therefore success has no boundaries or limitations.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success to me is being empowered to be impactful.
What’s next for you?
I want to continue to be God’s voice in the earth about teaching and demonstrating on how to be Defenders of Self-Justice as women and mothers who have experienced trauma during their lifetime. Therefore, I am looking to expand my listening audience for global impact through acquiring key sponsorships. Also, I am in the process of working on sharing the essential oil blend I developed through trial and error that has been beneficial in my processes of pain management. Furthermore, I will continue to promote my first book, “Phenomenal Women Who Boss Up.”
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more? You can go to my website at IonaRrudisill.com.