Child Protection Right Under Abuser’s Noses

My erstwhile assistant, Christine Marino found this about an ad that displays two images, one for adults and another for children. Amazing.

Let’s pray today for all victims of abuse, so we might better offer protection for them and for forgiveness and healing so that all may live in peace. Amen.

Fast, Pray, Give: Day #2

So I can cook, I just am often one who chooses not to. It’s more about the effort to make the food, the time it takes and often the large clean up afterwards that I don’t relish.

HA! And I don’t even like relish.

Take out always trumps making a healthier meal and that’s something that BustedHalo’s Fast, Pray, Give Calendar asked me to avoid today. So I’m eating oatmeal and fruit for breakfast and a small salad for lunch before I make a simple bread and soup meal for the students (Butternut squash).

I really enjoy cooking when I do it and Mary DeTurris Poust’s book Cravings reminded me about the mindfulness aspect of cooking a meal. I’m looking at doing more with actually fasting this lent–perhaps doing the one full meal per day on both Wednesdays and Fridays of lent will be what I end up doing. I’m still deciding.

Speaking of take out, do you eat out often? If you do there’s a good chance that you’ve been served by someone who is a victim of human trafficking.

This is from the Polaris Project:

Cases of human trafficking in restaurants have been investigated in multiple states, including FL, TX, MA, NY, WI and MN and the prevalence of labor trafficking in restaurants has been commonly cited by human trafficking investigators and service providers as an area of concern.

In a study of the restaurant industry in several major metropolitan areas by The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, researchers found that nearly 80% of workers did not receive paid vacation days, nearly 90% of workers did not receive paid sick leave. This report also documents wide racial disparities in the quality of work and wages earned by workers. For victims of human trafficking forced to work in restaurants, the conditions are frequently more severe.

I ask waiters and waitresses lots of questions, especially at good restaurants. My favorite question to ask is: “What would you be disappointed that I didn’t have?” They often love that question and give me narrow down some good choices or flat out convince me on what I should order. After all, they know what’s good. I worked for a food show with my dear friend Arthur Schwartz when I was back in radio and he made me become a lot more of a foodie than I already was. And I discovered an underground food movement and learned how badly people who work in this business are often treated. They get cut by knives, burns from the stove, waiters have to deal with the public and they have to do it all while continuing the serve people (Waiters even do this with a smile!)
So let us pray for these people who are often invisible but provide us with much hospitality.

Our local Wegman’s is also raising money for the Buffalo Food Bank, a place I love volunteering. I think I’ll set up the next service event there as well as tossing some money via Wegmans to these people who give some much to the hungry in the city.

So blessings on day #2.

Day 10: 50 Day Giveaway: Justice

Evelyn Brady is the head of our parish’s human trafficking committee. She also confuses my name all the time and I poke fun at that. I’m really not offended, no really I’m not. She’s one of the sweetest people I’ve met at St Joe’s and boy, does she have a heart for justice. Tonight we had a walking prayer for human trafficking victims much like the stations of the cross–and Evelyn was at the heart of leading the evening. It was quite moving to see pictures of little children being asked if having intercourse or oral sex with an adult was ok and them readily agreeing. Shameful. But Evelyn is working for positive change and so…she gets a book on justice.

The organization Invisible Children will be at St Joe’s on Sunday night and they are leaders in the area of anti-human trafficking–or as I call it, slavery. Stop on by and watch a short film on trafficking in Uganda and learn what you can do about it.

Here’s a preview:

And if you don’t think you’re part of the problem—check out this little site that tells you how many slaves work for YOU. I have 34 shamefully.

A Slave Writes His Former Owner

A letter from a former slave to his former slaveowner in Tennessee is causing quite a stir.

It’s an amazing story and it comes to us from the blog Letters of Note. The owner, Colonel P.H. Anderson, of Big Spring, Tennessee, actually had the audacity to write requesting that he return to his farm after he had been freed. Jourdon Anderson, the former slave, now freed wrote one of the most eloquent letters I have ever read, highlights include much that we can learn from.

For instance: Forgiveness–or at least not letting hatred get in the way.

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living.

Justice: The slave realizes his worth as more than chattel. He never intends to go back.

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams’s Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

Love it! I’m sure the Col. was appalled at even his suggestion of reparations.

And gratitude: Amazingly, Col. Anderson had tried to shoot him in the past–however, there were some good people in the world.

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

One further note, Jourdon still uses his slave surname, Anderson, the name of his former owner. Even not having a name of his own would not rob this man of his human dignity.

May we pray today that nobody is ever robbed of it again. Let us pray for those who are still enslaved–those who are trafficked to work in the farms and the sex trade. We pray for those enslaved by addictions and used by drug dealers for their benefit as they keep addiction alive. And we pray for an end to the hatred of racism—where one day we can all be judged by the content of our character, but not the color of our skin.

May that joyful day of God’s kingdom come to earth soon. Amen.

To read the whole letter–click here