Saturday, October 31, 2009

a call to action!

In August 2008, I was introduced to human trafficking after attending the Willow Creek Summit Leadership Conference. Prior to the conference, I was naive to the subject but was extremely inspired by listening to Gary Haugen's story, President and CEO of International Justice Mission (, an international human rights agency that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression worldwide. I felt personally challenged to do something instead of allowing my stirred up emotions to dissipate. I honestly didn't know where to begin because human trafficking is such an overwhelming global social justice issue.

I have always believed that one person can make a difference so I instinctively began praying to God to receive some direction where to jump in. I needed to get more informed and educated so I read "Just Courage" by Gary Haugen to gain more insight about how he got involved. I was encouraged to see the film, Call and Response, directed by musician Justin Dillon, where musicians used their passion and talent to create a benefit concert to spread awareness on human trafficking. This film has inspired me to use my gift as a filmmaker and visual artist to do something like Justin. The real catalyst has been seeing girls the same age as my 5-year old daughter being forced to have oral copulation with perverted men. The visual images I saw are forever embedded in my memory and disgust and repulse me. I am outraged by the vicious cycle and the loop holes in our legal system to catch the pimps and corrupt individuals involved.

Next, I researched and contacted agencies that were focused on compassion, which became the theme for an annual local event that I produce called Hallowed: an underground awakening. The purpose of Hallowed is to bring art, faith and justice together through a multi sensory journey through art, film and live music. IJM, along with other agencies, provided awareness for the event. After Hallowed, I was led to meet David Batstone, President & Co-founder of Not For Sale. Batstone leads Not For Sale to connect business leaders and celebrities to raise awareness on this issue. In January 2009, I produced the Not for Sale “Backyard Abolitionist Tour” in downtown San Jose at the Club Oasis. This event raised awareness and donations for the cause incorporating music and spoken word.

In March 2009, I was invited to be a participant for Wonderland and chose to create a human trafficking installation. I collaborated with a talented and socially conscious team of artists comprised of Monika Jones, Mark Lee, Erik Otto, and Brandon Robinson. We are very blessed and fortunate to have partnered with the following agencies whose life work is to provide hope by changing the lives of girls and boys who have been forced down the rabbit hole: Because Justice Matters, City Impact, Not for Sale, Sage, and Safe House. As guests exit our installation they are given black blindfolds with the websites of our partners as a call to action!

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