What is Paladin Advocacy?



The Paladin is a champion of justice.




A person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.

I'm not a player of Dungeons and Dragons but I've gleaned enough from watching my kids play to know that I would be a Paladin—I haven't decided yet if I would be an elf or some other magical creature to boot.

Paladin Advocacy is a dream I've had for several years. Because of my own experience with sexual violence and a legal system that re-traumatizes victims of sexual harm, I understand in a very personal way the need for trauma informed care and shifting away from rape culture towards a culture of consent. I stand for these things in my life and in my work. Though I continue to work in theater, I'm committed to finding ways to bring people together in their understanding of the importance of trauma awareness, and advocating for the rights of abused and underrepresented people. 

Bringing my skill set of entertaining and speaking truth together, I am in the process of developing a curriculum to share the things I've learned with audiences interested in lifting up these conversations. My memoir and companion book will be available in 2022, and when they are I'll be "taking my show on the road" as they say, helping bring this important information to light in an interesting and engaging way. 


Laura Stearns Bio:

Laura is a theater maker, writer, Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Advocate, community activist, founding member of Minnesota Theater Accountability Coalition, and Executive Board member of CTA Wellness. Laura’s experience as a civil litigant against the Children’s Theater Company and School (CTC) in Minneapolis for institutional neglect brought national attention to the need for more stringent and robust policies and procedures for child protection in Theater Arts production and education. Her experience as a litigant has helped inform training for the field of Civil Litigant Advocacy. Laura testified in front of the Minnesota State Legislature in 2019 supporting the removal of the Statute of Limitations for victims of sexual violence and continues to advocate for changing these laws nationwide. In addition to her advocacy work, Laura is an accomplished actor in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and has worked extensively in theater production backstage, which included the position of Wig Master at the world-renowned Guthrie Theater. An engaging writer and speaker, Laura has dedicated herself to transforming Rape Culture and making safe spaces for artists of all ages to do their best work.

Learn more: A total of seventeen lawsuits were filed because of abuse endured by students at CTC, and dozens of sexual predators were identified through the investigation that ensued. To learn more about what happened at CTC from the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s, you can listen to the multi-part series Innocence Lost done by Marianne Combs for MPR News. Laura initiated the establishment of the Minnesota Theater Accountability Coalition (MNTAC.org); the collective of theater makers who created The Minnesota Theater Foundational Standards for Safety and Accountability, and The Minnesota Theater Standards for Education and Learning Spaces. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the CTA Wellness Fund, established to support the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of those like her who were impacted as children at CTC in the sixties, seventies, and eighties. (CTAWellness.org)