Voices

Freedom Center Voices

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 12:39

Kerner Commission Established on this Day, 1967

On July 27, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson established the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (AKA the Kerner Commission), tasked with assessing the causes of widespread urban rioting at the time. President Johnson asked the 11-member commission, “What happened? Why did it happen? What can be done to prevent it from happening again?”

This came about soon after the infamous 12th Street Riots in Detroit, Michigan, which left more than 40 people dead and 1000 injured.

The report, issued on February 29 of the next year, blamed the more than 150 riots between 1965 and 1968 on “white racism” instead of African-American political groups like some believed. Specifically, it identified confrontations between predominately white police forces and the predominately African-American communities they served. It also cautioned against radical responses by the black community, such as the policy of separatism advocated by some.

It concluded that “our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal” and called for “programs on a scale equal to the dimension of the problems” in response. The authors recommended nation-wide changes to policies that could increase aid to African American communities in order to halt further racial violence and polarization, especially in employment, education, welfare and housing.

A confluence of events and political opinions in the following years, including the assassination of civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led to the recommendations of the Kerner Commission Report being largely ignored; President Johnson accepted the report but not the conclusions. This milestone document did pave the way for progress in future decades on issues of racial inequality, but its findings unfortunately still ring true today.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Photo: President Johnson poses with the newly appointed Kerner Commission, 1967.

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868Former Auschwitz guard sentencedHonor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 12:25

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

In 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations came together to dedicate a day to raising awareness about human trafficking and the situations of the victims involved and to promote and protect their rights. Today, July 30, is the day the General Assembly chose to make World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The meeting also resulted in the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, which gives grants to non-governmental organizations that provide direct assistance to victims from human trafficking.  

Human Trafficking is an unfortunate on-going issue that is happening all over the world.  It is estimated that 2.5 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery. Men, women and children are being treated as slaves within their own country and abroad. Traffickers use violence, deception, threats, and other manipulative tactics to trap victims into horrific situations against their will. The brutality and injustice these victims face shatter their lives and dreams.

There are five different types of human trafficking that this day raises awareness for:

1. Forced Labor- when human beings are forced to work for no pay or under the threat of violence.
2. Bonded Labor/Debt Labor- slavery in which an individual is compelled to work in order to repay a debt and cannot leave until the debt has been paid off.
3. Sex Slavery- when women, men or children are exploited in the commercial sex industry, which may include: prostitution, pornography, erotic entertainment, strip clubs, online escort services, hostess clubs, residential brothels or fake massage parlors.
4. Child Slavery- when children under the age of 18 are forced into child labor, which could be debt bondage, armies, prostitution, domestic work or other forms of hazardous work.
5. Domestic Servitude- when slaves are forced to work in extremely hidden workplaces and have no option of leaving.

Human trafficking tends to be an issue most people do not know about or completely understand. You can help be a part of the fight against human trafficking by learning how you can raise awareness in your community and globally. You can also learn more about human trafficking at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center by visiting the exhibit Invisible: Slavery Today.

Image Credit: UN website

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Katie: Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 16:09

The Youth Pages Toledo App

Human trafficking is a big issue in our country and that is the reason why The Youth Pages Toledo app was created. The app is geared towards children and teenagers because they are most vulnerable to human trafficking. It provides information about the warning signs of human trafficking, including drug abuse, homelessness or runaway status and control by a boyfriend or other individual. The app also provides information like phone numbers and websites on where the youth can go to get help for drugs, health, school, money and work.

The app was developed jointly by the University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, the United Way of Greater Toledo, and the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition. It cost about $19,000 to develop and was heavily funded by grants from the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund and the Zonta Club of Toledo. The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority plans to create signs to promote the app on all of their buses by Fall. They have also trained their drivers to recognize situations among their passengers and along routes that may suggest trafficking or related issues.

The app can be downloaded for free on both Android and iPhone devices with English and Spanish versions.

-Katie Johnstone
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content: End Slavery Now

More authored by Katie: #FlameFriday: Toni Stone, Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 15:26

Freedom Center’s Hathaway debunks myths about human trafficking

Brooke Hathaway, manager of anti-trafficking programs for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, recently wrote a post published on the International Human Trafficking Institute’s website addressing myths about modern-day human trafficking.

Hathaway is also the executive director of End Slavery Now, which advocates for awareness of human trafficking and seeks to inspire everyone to take the courageous steps against slavery today.

In the post, she calls out sensationalist social media posts for perpetuating the myths that trafficking is a crime of kidnapping, that trafficking is an impulsive crime, and that middle-class women and girls are the most vulnerable.

On the contrary, Hathaway explains, human trafficking is much more commonly based on trusting relationships between the trafficker and victim, which develop purposefully over time, and it disproportionately affects minorities and disadvantaged groups.

“While interest in human trafficking demonstrates growing awareness about the issue, it does not translate to any increased understanding of the human pain and tragedy,” she cautions, encouraging readers to gain deeper knowledge about the realities of trafficking. “Consequently, it does not result in any change in individuals’ behaviors or attitudes.”

Click here to read Hathaway’s piece and to watch an interview with her about these myths.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Photo: Freedom Center Manager of Anti-Trafficking Programs Brooke Hathaway. Provided.

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868,Former Auschwitz guard sentencedHonor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 14:50

Local woman to compete in Special Olympics World Games

The Cincinnati area can cheer on for a local in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, which begins this Saturday in Los Angeles.

Danielle Blakeney, 24, of Erlanger in Northern Kentucky will compete with 7,000 athletes from 177 countries in this global celebration of skill, courage, teamwork and joy.

Blakeney, who has been a Special Olympics athlete for 17 years, is the only participant from Northern Kentucky and one of three from the state. She will compete in rhythmic gymnastics this year, and the preliminary competition will begin at 5:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, July 26. In the past, she has also competed in artistic gymnastics, track and field and cheerleading.

“Special Olympics is important to me ... because it lets me learn to be the best I can be, has given me great friends and coaches and the chance to travel that I would otherwise not have ever had,” Blakeney said in a statement. “I have become a more confident person and stronger against people being mean.”

This will be Blakeney’s second Special Olympics World Games. In 2011, she won three Gold, one Silver and one Bronze medal in Athens, Greece, and she also competed in the USA Games in 2010 and 2014. She is an advocate for the Special Olympics in her home state, having traveled to the Kentucky capitol earlier this year to support a tax return donation bill.

According to the Special Olympics website, “Through the power of sport, Special Olympics strives to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people.” It has been an annual event since its beginning in 1968.

The games will run through August 2 and are expected to attract 80,000 spectators in-house and millions more watching the ESPN broadcast. The opening ceremonies will be broadcast live on ESPN Saturday at 8 p.m. EST.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content: Diversity in Baseball

Photo: Blakeney competed in the Special Olympics Kentucky State Summer Games last month. (Credit: provided to The Cincinnati Enquirer)

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868Former Auschwitz guard sentencedHonor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 10:13

Cincinnati Sit-in a "protest of normalcy"

When Robin Martin moved to Cincinnati in 2007, she noticed that most of the people in the placed she frequented didn’t look like her, she said in an opinion piece to The Cincinnati Enquirer on Monday, July 20.

“Cincinnati is the most segregated city I’ve lived in.” she wrote, citing her time in New Orleans, California and Houston. “It doesn’t have to be, though.”

After several years, Martin decided to do something about the lack of integration she saw in restaurants and other social outing locations. In summer 2013, she launched the Cincinnati Sit-in (CSI), modeled after the Woolworth sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement, in which she and 24 friends simply spent time in places where they might be the only black faces.

Martin explained that CSI is a “protest of normalcy” and is designed to spark conversations about why Cincinnati seems to be racially segregated in certain places. What started out as a small group in 2013 has since grown into a community of 65 black professionals who are, as Martin wrote, “determined to change the face of local businesses and communities.”

“Next time you take your family out to dinner, quietly take inventory around the room and see who’s missing,” she said. “Consider how we as a community include or exclude differences… If you notice an absence, I challenge everyone to seek answers purposefully, until we see change.”

To learn more about CSI and Martin’s observations about racial and ethnic integration in Cincinnati, read her opinion piece here.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Photo: Robin Martin is associate provote for special initiatives at the University of Cincinnati. (Photo provided to The Cincinnati Enquirer)

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868Former Auschwitz guard sentencedHonor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 12:26

OH Human Trafficking Task Force makes recommendations

Ohio plans to further improve services for victims of trafficking, the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force announced in a report on Monday, July 20.

At the top of the priority list: faster access for victims to recovery services like shelters or drug treatments.

The report also outlines plans to increase public awareness and police access to information about tracking human trafficking, as well as a legal path for victims to have their records expunged of charges that came about as a result of being forced into the sex trade.

“Ohio’s progress in combating trafficking is both exciting and sobering,” wrote Ohio’s Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Elizabeth Ranade Janis in the introduction to the report. “More victims have access to justice and more offenders are being punished... However these efforts confirm what advocates already know—more victims will come out of the shadows of exploitation, more intensive law enforcement investigations will be necessary to lock up traffickers, and more trauma-informed care will need to be made available for survivors.”

The recommendations will be implemented by state-level and county-level departments and officials, like the Department of Medicaid, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Department of Job and Family Services.

Three years ago, the task force made 26 other recommendations, almost all of which have been put into place by now. For example, in 2012 the state penalty for human trafficking was upgraded to a first-degree felony, which can come with up to 15 years in prison.

The report estimates roughly one thousand children – mostly young girls between 13 and 18 years of age – are forced into sex trafficking in Ohio each year. Other victims might be forced into sweatshop-like jobs.

Join the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center this Thursday at 3 p.m. for a gallery talk on modern-day human trafficking with representatives from End Slavery Now.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868, Former Auschwitz guard sentenced, Honor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 14:06

#FlameFriday: Toni Stone

On this day, July 17, 1921, batter Toni “tomboy” Stone, was born in Saint Paul Minnesota.  Stone was the first of three women to play professionally in the Negro Baseball Leagues.  As a child, Stone loved to play ball, but her parents did not approve of her behavior. They tried to solve the problem by having the local priest talk her out of liking baseball. However, by the end of their conversation, Father Keith had asked Stone to play on his team in the Catholic Midget League.

By age 15, Stone was working her way to earning a reputation as a very talented female baseball player. She started playing with the Twin City Colored Giants, a traveling men’s baseball club, and played for clubs competing in the men’s meat packing league. During the 1940s, Stone moved to San Francisco and shortly after started playing with an American Legion club. In 1949, she joined the San Francisco Sea Lions, a Minor League Negro Team and then played for the New Orleans Creole’s for a couple years as well. Playing for these teams gave her exposure to high profile managers and team owners.

In 1953, Stone’s talent finally paid off and she signed with the Indianapolis Clowns. She was brought onto the team to bring more fans to the games, but she worked hard to show she was there for more than that. Stone appeared in 50 games that year and got a hit off the legendary pitcher, Satchel Paige. She also had the chance to play with some excellent young players, including Willie Mays and Ernie Banks.

Stone’s time with the Clowns was brief, and playing as a woman was not always easy. She was insulted by fans and sometimes even teammates, who refused to accept that a female was competing in a “men’s” game. Her opponents showed her little respect as well, often coming hard at her on a slide with their spikes pointed up. After the Clowns, Stone was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs, but due to her age she was unable to play much longer. At the end of the year she retired from baseball, leaving behind an unforgettable history.

You can learn more about Toni Stone and many more game changers in baseball at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Diversity in Baseball, open now.

 

-Katie Johnstone
Marketing and Communications Intern

Images: 
1. Toni Stone becomes the first female on an all-male baseball team. Credit: Big Head Books
2. Toni Stone shaking hands with legendary boxer Joe Lewis. Credit: Minnesota Historical Society
3. A record of the Indianapolis Clowns roster. Credit: Library of Congress
4. Toni Stone playing ball for the Creoles. Credit: Public Domain

More authored by Katie: Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

 

 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 11:28

Honor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

This Saturday, July 18, the United Nations and the Nelson Mandela Foundation honor the equal rights activist Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) during Nelson Mandela International Day.

In 1991, Mandela became the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa after working for decades toward an end to the injustices and inequalities perpetuated by apartheid (1948-1991), a set of laws that segregated the majority nonwhite South Africans from their white counterparts.

He is also known for being a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience and an international peacemaker. He helped found the Youth League of the African National Congress in 1944 and in 1994 jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize with former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”

Mandela’s tireless work and many sacrifices in the pursuit of freedom and equality for all in South Africa have been inspirational to generations of activists. Take the time this Saturday to honor the call of Nelson Mandela International Day to dedicate 67 minutes of time to helping others in the same way Mandela served humanity for 67 years.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Photo: Nelson Mandela smiles in front of the South African flag. (Source: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/viewers-guide-to-mandelas-funeral-an...)

Related Content:  Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 10:50

Former Auschwitz guard sentenced

This Wednesday, July 15, former Auschwitz guard Oskar Gröning was sentenced to four years in prison for being an accessory to the deaths of 300,000 people in “what could be one of the last big Holocaust trials.” The 94-year-old German has been on trial in the northern German city of Lüneburg since April.

The death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Nazi-occupied Poland claimed the lives of 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, during its operation from 1942 to 1945. Gröning’s trial focused mostly on the period from May to July 1944, during which 137 trains brought 425,000 people to Auschwitz and at least 300,000 were killed in the gas chambers.

During the trial proceedings, Gröning testified that he sorted through the belongings of arriving Jews after they went through the selection process that ended with many being sent to their deaths in the gas chambers. His task was to find valuables, particularly banknotes, to help fund the Nazi regime.

The trial speaks to a question that courts have grappled with since the end of the Second World War: how much guilt the legal system can place on people who acted as small cogs within massive human rights violations like the Holocaust. In 2011, German courts set a precedent that death camp guards can be charged as an accessory to murders committed there, even if that guard is not linked to any specific death. Gröning said he accepts moral guilt but said early on in the trial that he would leave it up to the court to decide his legal guilt.

Earlier this year, the Freedom Center hosted Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later, which featured the stories of two survivors of the death camp: Werner Coppel and Bella Ouziel. Auschwitz’s history of systemic and organized genocide provides a start warning and call to action for those today to stand up against injustice, inhumanity and genocide.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content:  Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player, 14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868

 

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