From Broken to Boldness.
"I don't belong here."
born a twin of an incarcerated parent
At the age of 4, Sana Latrease and her twin brother were removed from the care of their drug addicted mother and grandmother. It was discovered that Sana had been being molested, abused, contracted an STD, and was sold for drugs. She was placed into foster care where, while in respite care, the molestation continued. It was during this time that the storytelling seed was planted in Sana. It was Sana who disclosed in detail the abuse that she had endured.
As Sana entered her teenage years she found herself desiring to know who she was and look into the eyes of people who looked like her. This desire set her on a journey to searching for her birth family. Unbeknownst to her, she wouldn’t have to search for long. Her adopted aunt had met someone while she was incarcerated. That someone was Sana’s birth mother, who was also incarcerated.
Unfortunately, her birth mother was unstable and couldn’t fill the space that Sana deeply needed filled. So she ran into the arms of a man who wasn’t created to love her and eventually became a teen mother. The relationship turned toxic and led to Sana losing herself in the process. One day while in the midst of an altercation with her son’s father, she snapped. She tried to strangle him while her son was watching. As usual, the only man who had always been faithful to her—Jesus Christ--stepped in right on time. The day that could have landed Sana in prison for the rest of her life became the day that God would alter her life as she knew it.
That evening Sana laid on her face and came into the presence of God. She begged Him to send her a man who would accept all of her broken pieces and love her into wholeness. The next morning, Sana was invited to visit a church. Her first instinct was to decline the offer. Church is for people who have it all together, not those who were broken and ashamed, she thought. With the encouragement of her cousin, she pushed through those thoughts and God showed faithful. It was that day that Sana met her husband, the man who was literally created for her, Joshua E. Cotten.
After dating for four short months, Josh took her to meet his grandmother, the woman who had helped to raise him since his mother passed of breast cancer when he was just sixteen years old. When she opened the front door that Christmas evening she took one look at Sana and her face lit up. She already knew the young woman who stood before her. She had met her almost twenty years before and had a photo of young Sana on her dresser mirror.
Sana’s story is filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, but one thing that never changed was the “man” who wrote the story. It was when Sana came to the end of herself that God revealed His face to her. He had been there all along but was waiting for her to acknowledge His presence. It was 2014 when she finally did.
After an intense healing journey, Sana Latrease stands in her truth. Though the circumstances she was dealt tried to render her unworthy of living a successful life, she has been able to emerge as a healed and whole woman, unashamed of where she’s been, and boldly sharing her story. Sana has been called the Harriet Tubman of her generation because she has accepted the call to lead women of all generations out of bondage and into freedom in Christ Jesus.
Today, Sana is the Founder of Unashamed, Inc. a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that fosters emotional health in disadvantaged families that have experienced incarceration, foster care, and teen pregnancy. Through various initiatives, Unashamed, Inc. is equipping families with the tools to dismantle unhealthy generational patterns and transition from surviving to thriving.
Sana has a passion for advocacy work and youth within the foster care system. She has worked
alongside the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in the state of Connecticut in various
roles including as a QPI Champion (Quality Parenting Initiative) and as a speaker and advocate
In 2020, Sana published her debut book entitled, “Everyone Will Know It Was God,” a memoir which chronicles her life story of early childhood molestation and sexual abuse, and growing up in the foster care system, to who she is today—a powerful, anointed, healed and whole woman of God.
Sana has been featured in numerous media outlets including Sheen Magazine, Voyage Dallas, the Moments of Joy podcast, Willie Moore Jr.’s, Lunch Time Link Up, AOL.com, and CBNs the 700 Club. In 2019, Sana was named a 100 Women of Color by June Archer and Eleven28 Entertainment which recognizes the contributions of people of color in business, education, entrepreneurship, entertainment, government service and the impact they have made on the lives of people throughout the State of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts communities.
Sana Latrease is the wife to Rev. Joshua E. Cotten and the mother of her two greatest gifts, Jamir and Janai.