Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

What does Freedom Day mean in 2014?

Thomas Nast's celebration of the emancipation of Southern slaves with the end of the Civil War. On February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signed a joint resolution by the House and Senate which outlawed slavery; the resolution was later ratified as the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. Since 1942, February 1 has been observed as National Freedom Day, a day celebrating the freedoms of America.

But what does National Freedom Day mean in 2014? While institutionalized slavery has been abolished since 1865, there are more people enslaved today than at any other point in human history. Human trafficking, debt slavery, and labor exploitation - among other forms of slavery - enslave an estimated 29.8 million people worldwide, according to the Global Slavery Index 2013.

It is rather timely that this year's National Freedom Day fell on the day before the Super Bowl, an event often associated with sexual exploitation. In the recent Washington Post article "N.J. works to curb sex trafficking before Super Bowl," reporters Katie Zezima and Samantha Henry investigated the ongoing problem of trafficking at Super Bowls, citing Cindy McCain (wife of Senator John McCain) as calling the event "the largest human-trafficking venue on the planet." The suspicions of such exploitation have already been confirmed, one mother admitting on Friday that she brought her 15-year-old daughter from Florida to New York to "pimp her out to Super Bowl fans," as reported by the Daily Beast. Such stories speak to both the tragedy of modern day slavery as well as child trafficking and exploitation.

What is being done and what can be done to combat trafficking? The New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking has been active in the past weeks to raise awareness on trafficking during the Super Bowl and has assembled a Super Bowl 2014 information page. The US Fund for UNICEF runs the End Child Trafficking Campaign which shares the signs of child trafficking and toolkits to take action. Many other organizations like The Polaris Project, Walk Free Foundation, and Love146 are also active in preventing and ending trafficking, and you can find their resources and others featured in our January 2014 blog posts recognizing National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

So in reflecting on the realities of modern day slavery, especially during the Super Bowl, what does Freedom Day mean in 2014? How will you take action to ensure freedom for all people? We encourage you to share your reactions and comments below. 

1 comment:

Josh said...

Newsweek reported that 16 child prostitutes (ages 13-17) were found in New Jersey for the Super Bowl - proof at how tragic human trafficking is!!