It has been a busy summer! I had the opportunity to help plan a successful breakfast event that took place in early July for some of my fellow abolitionists. The purpose of the breakfast meeting was to gather key abolitionists from a variety of organizations (mostly from Ohio) to share ideas about working together, share best practices, and the possibility of promoting each other’s work. The organization that hosted the event was Operation Underground Railroad from Utah. Their representatives were in Cincinnati for the TEDxCincinnati MainStage event on July 9th. See photo below of attendees.*
How and why did this breakfast of solidarity come together? I have been on the planning team for TEDxCincinnati since 2012. One of our speakers for our July 9th event was Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart. Elizabeth had been abducted from her bed in Salt Lake City on June 5, 2002 and found in the company of her abductors nine months later- just 18 miles from her home. Since then, both Elizabeth and her father, Ed, have become activists regarding crimes against children. And Ed is currently on staff at Operation Underground Railroad (OUR).
Since Ed Smart (plus his wife, Lois) and Erin Kemp from OUR were flying in from Utah, they requested a meeting with other abolitionists. So, Jami Edelheit (Director of TEDxCincinnati), put them in contact with me, knowing I would be able to help invite the key abolitionists from this region. So glad we connected and that several local abolitionist were able to join us for breakfast. It was a lively and constructive conversation where we all got to share the unique ways we are all fighting human trafficking. Great ideas and resources were shared by all. It was a lovely breakfast meeting. We all look forward to collaborating in the future!
*Pictured L to R: Tony & Katie Talbott (Abolition Ohio), Bhumika Patel (End Slavery Cincinnati), me (in black), Erin Kemp (OUR), Mariah Long & Brooke Hathaway (National Underground Railroad Freedom Center), Lois & Ed Smart (OUR)