November 27, 2020
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Story tips, concerns, questions?

Written By: Melanie Gerner

Feb. 25,  Elizabeth Hanna is bringing her story to CSUDH. She will be reading chapter two, Sapphire the Stripper, from her unpublished self-authored autobiography, “Beyond the Broken Gates”.

Hanna didn’t know she was going to write a book when she started telling her stories to Trio students at CSUDH ten years ago. After years of students asking her to share her stories, Hanna wrote her autobiography. 

Hanna will be reading a chapter from her unpublished autobiography each month in the Loker Student Union.

She wants to offer strength and empowerment while encouraging attendees to reflect on their own personal narratives. 

Hanna is the director of Trio Student Support Services, a federally funded program that supports low income, first-generation and disabled students. Hanna created this storytelling project to help her Trio SSS students.  

“I truly believe that when we share our stories in safe spaces, we produce strength and motivation”, Hanna said. After eight years at community college, Hanna came to CSUDH in 2010 to earn her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She went on to receive her master’s degree in public policy from CSULB.  

Hanna’s autobiography is about her transformation through education, faith, and self-rediscovery, beyond the broken gates of her hometown, Wilmington California.  Her story is a journey of pain, love, growth and Vicks Vapor Rub.

“It takes you down a road, a real raw road,” Hanna said. “It takes you down this road of this whole transformation that occurred from when I was a dropout, a stripper, a drug addict, to falling in love with this Egyptian man and then to navigating the educational system, to developing leadership skills.”

The first reading was on Jan 28, in the LSU, where around 80 people came to hear chapter one of “Beyond the Broken Gates” Wilmington, California; The Barrio I Call Home.

Johanna Moreno, CSUDH and Trio SSS alum drove up from San Diego for the reading of chapter one in January. Listening to Hanna’s stories helped Moreno while she was a Trio SSS student at CSUDH.

“Honestly, she gave me the confidence in myself to pursue higher education and believe in my dreams,” Moreno said 

CSUDH Sociology Professor Dr. Joanna Perez and Encounter to Excellence Counselor Gloria Gandara will provide opening comments for the second reading. The second installment of the storytelling series is open to all, on Tues., Feb 25, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the LSU Ballroom C.

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