Shawneshia Hoover

Being part of IMPACT and taking the Women of Color Basics class has had a lasting and profound influence on my sense of confidence and safety as I navigate the world as a larger bodied, black, queer, masculine of center woman. I navigate the world with many privileges and complex identities, but never once thought that a self defense class was for me. I always envisioned being ‘othered’ and feeling excluded so I never considered joining. 

Over the years, I have found that due to my gender expression, I am often expected to play the role of ‘protector’. I was once shoved by an ex partner in front of a man who had touched her inappropriately, and was told to protect her. I immediately felt my knees go weak as I recalled a number of similar situations where I felt threatened by men. I quickly resorted to my three cardinal sins of survival;  humor, charisma and flattery. I found myself showering this man with a number of compliments to ease the tension in the situation to allow for me to redirect my partner to safety. Later that night I felt disgusted with myself. I knew he would continue that behavior because he had the privilege and power to do so.  

Fortunately, I was connected to IMPACT by a good friend who has taken the class and also volunteered the following year as an assistant. However, I had just been laid off and had no extra finances. To my surprise, I was able to take the WOC Basics class on scholarship. I was thrilled! 

My experience with the three day intensive class was a restorative one. I was greeted by an array of women from all ethnicities and life experiences. This made me feel safe to fully engage in the class and I knew it was the right class for me! I was able to share my story and exercise full force on the mock assailants which was a liberating experience. I was not only able to tap into my physical power but most importantly the power of my voice. Additionally I was taught how to be a helpful bystander in the event that someone else was in danger. Lastly, I was afforded the opportunity to customize  an unconventional fight with my inner critic. I left the class feeling confident and with the ability to set boundaries as I navigate the world and current relationship. I have been able to reinvent who I am. 

As of August 2020 I was officially voted onto the board of directors after raising 1k. This millstone was short lived. Covid-19 caused a major financial strain on our organization. I have committed my efforts to ensuring that Impact is around for the long haul. My goal is to make our classes accessible to the black and POC LGBTTQQIAAP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual) communities. 

Therefore I am pledging to raise $6,000 but I can’t do it alone. Please help me empower individuals like myself through the IMPACT Bay Area class. donate to this page  to support my campaign!!! https://www.impactbayarea.org/shawneshia 

Does your company match donations? Find out here! https://doublethedonation.com/giving-tuesday/

All you need is the IMPACT Bay Area EIN #: 94-3123451 and address: PO Box 23831, Oakland, CA 94623


  • Make a Donation Today!

    IMPACT Bay Area believes that personal safety is a right, not a privilege. Our mission is to reduce violence and promote healing by teaching effective boundary setting, personal safety, and physical self-defense skills.

    $650 could sponsor a full scholarship for a full 24-hour Basics course

    $300 could sponsor a full scholarship for a Teen course

    $100 provides a partial scholarship for a student in a Teen, Young Adult or Basics Course

    Every donation helps bring personal safety, self-defense and empowerment training to people who need it. IMPACT Bay Area is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so your contribution is fully tax-deductible.

    You can also mail a check with "donation" in the memo line to:

    IMPACT Bay Area
    PO Box 23831
    Oakland, CA 94623

    If you would prefer to become a regular supporter, consider giving a monthly donation instead.


    Employer Matching

    Bay Area Corporations and Companies Offering Employer Matching Gifts

    If your employer offers employer matching, your donation can MAKE AN EVEN BIGGER IMPACT. Contact your human resources department for information on your employer's matching gift program. IMPACT Bay Area's EIN number is 94-3123451.

    Our address is:
    PO Box 23831
    Oakland,CA 94623.

    Learn about more ways you can support IMPACT Bay Area!

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Shawneshia Hoover is a Licensed Marriage Family therapist & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant who has earned their MA in Community Mental Health Counseling Psychology at CIIS. They has over 8 years of experience in the clinical non-profit sector.
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