Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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It was 5:00 p.m. Nate was behind the wheel inching through traffic, I was putting on makeup in the passenger seat, and Gabe was squalling in the back. After six months of planning, five weeks of being new parents, and a very long week of polishing our presentation for The Slave Next Door, we were exhausted.

Earlier in the week, only about 100 tickets had been purchased (for a venue that fit 700). Several event partners had backed out at the last minute. With a Project Peace ace planning team that hadn’t stopped working since November, we believed that the event would still be a great one–Kevin Bales alone would have made it that way. But in the minutes leading up to the event, the possibility of anticlimax was looming.

Friday afternoon we asked many of you to pray with us that God would make the event a success–and he did–in bigger ways than we could’ve imagined! By the time the first speaker took the stage, nearly 400 people were there. In a reception beforehand, 35 leading anti-trafficking agencies were able to hear directly from Kevin Bales. Nate and I were able to shake his hand and tell him that his book Disposable People played a large role in our year in the Philippines.

Local trafficking survivor Minh Dang kicked off the evening, sharing her story of being sold by her own parents. She urged us to resist putting survivors in the “victim” box, and instead focus on the hope and new life that is possible for women like her. She is currently getting her PhD in trauma care, and speaking to groups all around the Bay Area.

Kevin Bales started his talk by saying “I didn’t know it was Minh I was waiting for, but I’ve been waiting fifteen years to meet Minh,” he said, comparing Minh to Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. He affirmed the work she was doing, saying that the world needed more people like her–not more white male professor-types like him.

That same combination of expertise, humility, and grace characterized the keynote address Dr. Bales gave, the most inspiring talk on modern-day slavery that we’ve ever heard. His research illustrates both the magnitude of slavery and how to address it. His work has informed the national governments in both Britain and the U.S. He showed us multiple pictures of slaveholders with slaves, and noted “these people are free now,” thanks to his organization, Free the Slaves.

The speaker portion of the evening ended with a call to action–first through us sharing a bit of our story (which you can watch on the 5-minute video below), and then with a passionate panel of anti-trafficking experts including Bales, Oakland Police officer Holly Joshi, Trade as One founder Nathan George, and Tashina Manyak from MISSSEY. Officer Joshi and Tashina talked about Oakland, which is a major hub for sex trafficking girls, and encouraged the audience to vote for politicians who support anti-trafficking measures, volunteer locally, and help shift our culture away from sexualizing girls and women, and toward holding men accountable for their use of prostitution and pornography. Officer Joshi emphasized that the perpetrators are often “regular” guys–coworkers, friends, neighbors, and husbands. (We were encouraged to learn that at the end of the evening, MISSSEY’s volunteer sheet was completely full!) Nathan George and Kevin Bales encouraged people to buy fair trade, to make a daily investment in freeing people from poverty and modern-day slavery around the world.

The night ended with a fair trade bazaar, where people could sample fair trade chocolate and buy everything from greeting cards to purses to coffee. They could also talk with people from 35 anti-trafficking organizations and learn about volunteer and donation opportunities. There was so much enthusiasm that we had to kick people out at the end of the night when the janitors needed to lock up.

We left asking ourselves how we could work for Kevin Bales, our new hero. We commented on the energy, on the  standing ovations, and the dozens of people who wanted to get involved. After a night of hearing about modern-day slavery, we didn’t feel depressed; we felt exhilarated, excited, hopeful. We couldn’t stop thanking God for blessing the night so far beyond our hopes. Most of all, we felt humbled and honored to be a part of something so special, so big. When we were called up to the stage with the other speakers, we felt unworthy to be standing with people like Minh Dang, Kevin Bales, Holly Joshi, Nathan George, and Tashina Manyak. We’re just regular people, after all.

And that’s the point, I realized: this isn’t just an issue for heroes; we’ll put an end to modern-day slavery when we realize this is an issue for all of us.

–Laura

p.s. If you couldn’t make it or are reading this from across the country or world, we’ve included links to a few videos below to give you a snapshot of what you missed:

Kevin Bales’s TED Talk: How to combat modern-day slavery (18 minutes)
Trade As One: Just One (Narrated by Nathan George) (2:27)
NBC Interview with Minh Dang (3:50)

Nearly a decade ago, Nate handed me a copy of National Geographic and told me I should read the story there about modern-day slavery. It was the first time we’d heard the number 27 million (in reference to the number of modern-day slaves) or the name Kevin Bales (cited as the world’s leading expert).

Tonight Nate and I will get to meet Dr. Bales and hear him speak to the hundreds of people attending The Slave Next Door in Berkeley. For people who haven’t read much about human trafficking, the name Kevin Bales might not mean anything, but for me, it’s like meeting the Michael Jordan of the modern abolitionist movement. Not only is it thanks to Dr. Bales that we learned about the topic in the first place, but his book Disposable People played a large role in convincing us to spend a year of our lives in the Philippines working with victims of trafficking.

Along with Dr. Bales, the keynote speaker, we have an all-star supporting cast. Bay Area trafficking survivor Minh Dang will tell her story, followed by a panel of local experts including Nathan George from Trade As One, Officer Holly Joshi from the Oakland Police Department, and Tashina Manyak from M.I.S.S.S.E.Y. Nate and I are also humbled and grateful to be speaking as well. The evening will end with a fair trade bazaar including artisan chocolate tasting, crafts and gifts, and a chance to meet local heroes fighting trafficking.

Sounds great, right? But we need your help.

If you’re local, please attend! Invite your friends. Tell everyone you know about it. I’ve had the chance to attend and help plan many events on this topic over the past five years, and this is the most exciting one I’ve been a part of. While the topic is grim, there’s a lot of hope to be found in this evening. The message tonight is not that life is depressing, but that there is so much we can do to make a difference. Come to be inspired. Come to make a difference. Every ticket purchase goes toward Samaritana, New Day for Children, and M.I.S.S.S.E.Y.

If you’re not local, I’m asking you to pray today and this evening (the event will take place from 7:00-9:30 p.m.). While it’s not an explicitly Christian event, I believe it is an event that God would love to bless. The Bible is filled with the message that God cares about the oppressed, and this event will benefit the women and children here and around the world who need it most. We have seen firsthand how powerful prayer can be, and know that this event will be a shadow of what it could be without it. Pray that the event will be well-attended. Pray that things will go smoothly for everyone involved. Pray that people will leave the event changed, that they will find it in their hearts to care. Pray that this would be the beginning of something big!

Thank you to everyone who is partnering with us both here in the Bay Area, and around the world.

-Laura

Because Justice Matters is a San Francisco-based NGO (whom some of you might’ve met at Taste for Freedom last May), and they work to combat modern-day slavery, domestic violence, discrimination against immigrants and economic inequality. They are having a fun Valentine’s Day outreach event, and could use a few volunteers. We hope you might be able to spare a few hours, dollars, or words to help!

— Nate

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Valentine’s Women’s Outreach!

February 12th, BJM is hosting our next women’s outreach event to coincide with trafficking awareness month here in San Francisco. (This is one of many events happening to address the issue of trafficking; for a full list of events click here.)

Saturday February 12th, 10am-noon we will be opening our doors to women and offering free manicures, an individually written Valentines card and a safe place to sit with other women and enjoy coffee and candy!! What better way to gear up for Valentine’s?! The purpose of our outreach day is to create a safe place for women to connect with us for friendship and resources; many who attend these events end up returning for our free weekly nail painting and pursuing referrals and support.  But we need your help to make this day a success! To sign up please e-mail jen@becausejusticematters.org

Volunteer Nail Painters: don’t worry, no experience needed. We do a simple massage, file and paint. You will receive a 101 training from our cosmetologist on staff,

Prayer Team, Coffee Servers, and Friends (people to sit with the women after their manicure and simply talk). All volunteers must arrive at 8:45am for orientation. The doors will close at noon and we ask that volunteers stay for a short 30 min clean-up and debrief.

Personalized Valentine’s Cards: We would like each woman to receive a card for valentines. We’re looking for people to purchase a card (or make one), write an encouraging word, prayer, scripture etc inside and give to us. These cards will be handed to the ladies as they leave. Please DO NO SEAL your cards or give personal contact info. This is an easy way to touch a life. Perhaps your place of worship or small group could get on board. We need 80 cards. (Please refrain from ‘preaching’ or offering ‘challenging’ words in your cards. Notes should be uplifting and hopeful) Cards should be sent or delivered to BJM before Feb 7th. 357 Ellis Street, SF CA 94102.

Candy: If you would like to make a donation of Valentine’s themed candy, it would be appreciated. Women will be invited to stay in a coffee house lounge atmosphere. Candy will be in bowls on tables and women will be allowed to help themselves. Please drop or send donations by Feb 7th to address above.
If you cannot be with us on the day, please consider donating or joining us in prayer. We look forward to partnering and blessing many women this February! With thanks,

Ruthie Kim
Director, Because Justice Matters
http://www.becausejusticematters.org
415-885-6543

Fundraiser and Silent Auction for Because Justice Matters

Human Trafficking Rally in Sacramento by California Against Slavery

Attend the events, or if you can’t, tweet/post on Facebook about them to spread the word!

We were honored to be interviewed by Rosy Chu, host of the Bay Area People segment on KTVU channel 2. We discussed human trafficking and modern-day slavery generally, as well as Taste for Freedom, our fund-raising event.  We’ve got the link to the video here, or you can find it on Comcast On Demand.

Donors for Taste for Freedom!

Posted: April 29, 2010 in Events

The fine restaurants, stores, entrepreneurs, and wineries are still rolling in, but so far, here are our supporters:

Auction Items/Services:

Food & Wine for the Tasting: