Victoria Brewster, MSW

Victoria Brewster, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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A Continuation of Ashley Judd’s, “All That is Bitter and Sweet”

by Victoria Brewster, MSW – SJS Staff Writer in Canada

My initial write-up focused on the first half of the book. ( This write-up focuses on the second half of the book which is part of Ashley Judd’s treatment, healing and acceptance of self along with her continued humanitarian work with Population Services International (PSI) (

Treatment occured after she participated in family week for her sister’s inpatient treatment for an eating disorder. Ashley Judd participates in an inpatient treatment of intensive soul searching, acceptance of self and to face the youth she grew up in. To no fault of her own she became a co-dependent and the ‘Lost Child’ in her family and often fell into periods of depression and contemplated suicide as a teenager.

No youth should ever have to feel this way, as no adult should either. There is so much to live for if only one can see past their internal pain, their grief, their disappointments with others and themself.

With meditation, prayer, participation in a ’12 Step’ program, journaling and recognition of the internal world, Ashley Judd is able to move on in her life and continue her humanitarian work which is extremely inspiring and motivating to me.

She goes to India, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo…..but it is her work in Rwanda that has the most impact on me because of the countries stance on rebuilding a community after the 1994 genocide where so many people were murdered, approximately 800,000 dead because of being a different affiliation that one was born into. It was the Hutu vs. the Tutsi. The rape, killing of women, children and men just because of their ethnicity. Very hard for me to understand living in the western world. (

Has the world not learned, not integrated all the genocides that have occured whether it be China, Tibet, Serbia, Turkey, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Darfur and let’s not forget the Holocaust where Jews, Gypsies, lesbians and gay men along with those that had physical and mental disabilities were murdered….. It is time for all the genocides and wars to stop!

I learned that the last Saturday of each month, every citizen of Rwanda gives 3 hours to community building or helping one another-what a great idea-community service that is mandatory, but in Rwanda comes across as part of the culture- Umuganda ( which means community service.

The world is suffering on so many levels-poverty, lack or resources, global warming caused by mankind, unacceptance of those that are of different ethnicities, from different cultures and religions, from different socioeconomic statuses…..It is time to step in the direction of acceptance, respect, each one of us becoming a humanitarian of sorts…to learn to be happy with the basics and a little extra. To focus on family, friendships, be at peace with ourselves and each other. I hope to see this happen within my lifetime, but seeing as the world has not learned yet, I am not so sure.

A quote from Ashley Judd that resonates with me, “Accepting something doesn’t mean I have to like it. It simply allows me to accept reality as it is actually is that minute, and then move into the solutiuon, rather than obsessing on the problem. Today, I believe we all need solutions.” (pg. 354)

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