Personality: Shirley H. Scarborough

Spotlight on Cry Loud, Spare Not, Speak Up founder

3/30/2023, 6 p.m.
For the past two years Shirley H. Scarborough has worked, in her own words, to create “Beauty for Ashe,” through …

For the past two years Shirley H. Scarborough has worked, in her own words, to create “Beauty for Ashe,” through her organization Cry Loud, Spare Not, Speak Up.

The organization was founded after Ms. Scarborough lost her daughter, Francesca Harris-Scarborough and her daughter’s unborn child to domestic violence and murder in 2020.

“I want to help other women in unhealthy relationships to know that abuse is not love,” Ms. Scarborough says. I want women “to recognize the red flags of abuse in the early stages of the relationship, to know your worth and purpose, to help build self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-love.”

Since establishing Cry Loud, Spare Not, Speak Up in 2021, Ms. Scarborough has brought the organization’s message and mission to teenage girls and young women by presenting programs at the Word Church International Ministries and other Richmond-area locations.

On Saturday, April 8, Ms. Scarborough will host the “I Am Enough, I Know My Worth Conference,” at the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center. The program will focus on mentorship, education and setting boundaries in relationships.

“I want the older woman and the young woman and the little girls to know that you are enough,” Ms. Scarborough says.

Ms. Scarborough adds that her main goal is to ensure no one else has to suffer the same tragedy she has lived through. To achieve this goal, Cry Loud works with area support groups in presenting workshops and resources for women in abusive relationships. Cry Loud also offers clothing, hygiene and health products, with profits supporting its operations.

As a young organization that has not become certified as a nonprofit, Cry Loud sometimes face challenges in meeting its goals and developing ways to build courage and self-worth among the women seeking its support. However, Ms. Scarborough says the organization currently is seeing a promising response from the public that has helped Cry Loud continue its work.

From the partners that work with its five-member team, to community donations to help further its efforts, to the 110 women and girls currently slated to attend the April 8 conference, Cry Loud’s work is being met by a receptive community, she says. For Ms. Scarborough, this reception is a promising sign of Cry Loud’s potential for good.

“It really just blew my mind, to see the response I’ve been getting,” Ms. Scarborough says. “I’m just really excited about this vision that God has given me in channeling (my) grief to some greater purpose through pain.”

Meet a mother who is helping others recognize, avoid and escape abusive relationships and this week’s Personality, Shirley H. Scarborough:

Volunteer position: Founder, Cry Loud, Spare Not, Speak Up.

Occupation: Owner and director of daycare/learning center for 25 years.

Date of birth: Oct. 12.

Where I live now: Henrico County.

Education: Hanover County Schools System and J. Sargeant Reynolds.

Family: Husband (43 years of marriage), one son, two daughters (one deceased), and three grandchildren.

Cry Loud is: An organization and ministry that creates a safe space that empowers young women to speak up, not suffer in silence, and spare not their abusers.

When and why it was founded: Cry Loud was founded in 2021. Cry Loud was founded in memory of my late daughter, Francesca Harris-Scarborough and her unborn child, who were found tragically murdered in April 2020. She was shot in the heart two times. At the time of Francesca’s murder, she was involved in an abusive relationship.

Domestic violence is: A violent or abusive learned behavior used to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girlfriend/boyfriend, or another intimate family member. It can present as physical, emotional, psychological, economical, sexual, or a form of harassment. Domestic violence does not discriminate and can affect anyone regardless of status, race, religion, age, gender or education.

Why I want to help others: The loss of my daughter and her child is unexplainable; it is a generation lost, but Francesca’s death will not be in vain. There would be Beauty for Ashes. I want to help other women in unhealthy relationships to know that abuse is not love. To recognize the RED flags of abuse in the early stages of the relationship. To break generational cycles that need to be broken. To know your worth and purpose. To help build self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-love. To not suffer in silence. I want the old woman and the young woman and the little girls to know that you are enough. To know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. To know that you are God’s masterpiece. To Cry Loud, Spare Not, Speak Up!

Advice for turning tragedy into something positive: To grieve, but not as though there is no hope. Although there were days that I wanted to stay in bed, I had to get up and I was grateful that I did it. I never stopped my routine. I stayed in continual prayer. It was hard but pain produces purpose.

Strategy for achieving goals: We will educate and provide domestic abuse and relationship violence awareness to women and girls of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures. We will supply resources for finding shelter for women/families in emergency situations. We will reach the community through support groups, workshops, conferences, working with girl/women organizations, and partnering with other local community resources, counselors, and mentors.

Ways to become involved with Cry Loud: We always welcome donations and gifts of love to help progress the vision and mission of Cry Loud. Additionally, you can follow us on our Facebook page, Cry Loud Spare Not, Speak Up, keep up with our upcoming events on our Eventbrite page under Cry Loud, or direct any inquiries to t.dabney0709@gmail.com.

Resources for someone in need of help: Cry Loud currently works with an excellent counselor, Dr. Gregory Marcelle, with L.E.V.E.L.S LLC. Additionally, someone in need can always contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Please feel free to reach out to CryLoud for additional area resources.

Upcoming events: “I Am Enough, I Know My Worth Conference” April 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center, 1830 Creighton Road. The event is free and open to all girls and women age 13 and up. Registration is required and will close on Friday, March 31, 2023.

A perfect day for me is: A day on the water spending time with my grandchildren and crocheting.

What I am continuing to learn about myself during the pandemic: To have more compassion, grace, and mercy with people. You never know what someone else may be going through.

Something about me that people may not know: Sometimes my boldness and conviction come off as stern, but I am actually full of compassion and kindness.

A quote that inspires me: “God will take your disability and make it your ability,” and “I Can Do All Things Through Christ.”

My friends describe me as: An awesome and praying mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, spiritual mother, and faithful overseer who loves the Lord.

At the top of my “to-do” list: Designing a signature program for teen girls to know their worth and value.

Best late-night snack: Grapes.

The best thing my parents ever taught me: Coming from a large family, my parents always taught us to share and the value of family.

The person who influenced me the most: God has blessed me to have the influence of my parents, my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, and my spiritual parents.

Next goal: To continue to grow Cry Loud as a staple in the community and reach as many women and girls as God allows.