Turning tragedy into triumph: Meet the 21-year-old who founded a program providing a “safe space” for young women affected by violence

GIVING BACK: A’Dorian Murray-Thomas

IN 2015, A’Dorian Murray-Thomas founded a program called SHE Wins, providing young women impacted by murder or violence with a “safe space”.

Since then, 50 girls have come through her “Leadership Institute,” some as young as 8, to share their stories and grow.

A’Dorian’s father was murdered when she was seven her family set about trying to make life as “normal for her”.

“What we did was make life as normal as possible for her,” said Dana Murray, A’Dorian’s mum. “It was a family project to keep A’Dorian moving forward.”

The 21-year-old wanted to ensure every girl who had experienced what she did had access to this support.

So while she started the group with the idea of focusing on girls who had been directly impacted by homicide, she quickly realised her lessons “of resilience building” were important to all girls who suffered trauma or live in frightening environment.

A’Dorian, from Newark, started SHE Wins with a grant from her college, Swathmore and hopes to roll it out across the

“My education became the ultimate safe haven,” she told Glamour. “Fast-forward to my junior year at Swarthmore, when I received a $10,000 grant to do something I was passionate about. My mom said, ‘You know, Newark doesn’t have a program helping girls affected by violence.’ That was it—all the emotion I had from when my dad died, I poured into She Wins!, a safe space for Newark girls who’ve been impacted by violence.”


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