So, the Global Forum happened. And the world still exists. Weird, huh?
There is no way I could possibly sum up in a blog-sized entry what the Global Forum was and what it meant. So instead, I’m just going to list some highlights.
1. When Dave, Mark, and Tini presented Maria Radoi, from Not For Sale Romania, with a check for $50,000 for their organic farm and catering business, which provides work and stability for survivors of human trafficking. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit sentimental, so it’s no surprise to say that I cried. It was so beautiful to see the results of all the planning and the coordinating and the strategizing the Not For Sale team has done over the last few months, and to know that all that time spent staring at computer screens and making frantic phone calls really will help women and men and children who’ve been exploited create new lives for themselves.
2. Mira Sorvino’s keynote address. I loved her speech because she recognized right away that speeches like hers, and events like the Global Forum, can all too easily become just a form of “emotional voyeurism,” where everyone feels all empathetic and unified, and then they all leave and everything is lost. She made it clear that that kind of empathetic high is insufficient. If that is all we achieve, we fail. And then she listed off several very important, very concrete things (specific legislation, types of programs, funding, professional expertise) needed to fight this crime.
3. Hearing from Not For Sale’s international project coordinators. Saskia, Christina, Maria, and Toos (unfortunately I missed Eddie and Boreth’s presentations) was so inspiring and so hopeful. They are four amazing women, doing amazing work, fueled by a true compassion for the oppressed and a dogged persistence and endurance to reach their goal. If what I am doing in the Not For Sale office is facilitating the work they do around the world, then I know I am doing something good.
4. Talking to students who attended the Global Forum, both some I had met in my travels around the Bay Area, some I have corresponded with via e-mail, and some I had never met or spoken to. Seeing the passion and the desire to actually do something in them reminded me of when I was in their place, just a few months ago. I love when students ask me how they can really do something, that really makes a difference. They want to go beyond just raising awareness, and actually effect change. Seeing the abolitionist movement spread into schools, and seeing the intelligent way that students take it on, never ceases to give me hope that we can win this fight.
5. The Montara Circle recap, and the launch of Rebbl Tea. I think I mentioned Headwaters Natural Products last week—Rebbl Tea is the product they will be launching, that will be available for purchase next year. All the ingredients for this product are sourced from the regions in the Amazon where Not For Sale is working, so not only does the sale of the tea provide jobs in the area, the proceeds are returned to the community, where they will help fund education, vocational training, and so on. I think Not For Sale’s mission and the idea of the Montara Circle really started to click for some people in the audience when Rebbl Tea was revealed, and they were able to taste it.
There are so many more moments I could list, and I know as soon as I turn this blog in, I’ll think of something else I wish I had said. But I’m going to go ahead and wrap it up now. In sum, it was so great to see this event, which we’d all been working so hard on for so long, finally come together, and to see the way we all came together as a team to problem solve, execute, and carry out all the plans we’d been building for months.
Oh yeah, and I also went to Hollywood on Monday for the U.S. launch of the AllSaints partnership … as if the Global Forum weren’t enough, right? But I’ll save those stories for next week, so be sure to come back!
Over and out,