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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Monday, September 1, 2014

Are you thinking about #humantrafficking on this #LaborDay?

As Americans celebrate Labor Day and recognize "the social and economic achievements of American workers,"  there are millions across the world who are victims of labor trafficking.  As McKenzie Cantrell, attorney with Kentucky Equal Justice Center, expressed in The Courier-Journal's "Labor of trafficked workers,"
This Labor Day, I'm thinking about workers. Not the workers who are enjoying the holiday at home with their families but the ones who are forced to work 12 hours or more a day and up to seven days a week. These workers are victims of human trafficking, specifically labor trafficking.

In her editorial, Cantrell talks about the realities of human trafficking but also identifies ways for readers to take action. She recommends:
• Learn more:Can you leave your job if you want to? Are you in debt to your employer? Is your employer paying you? The answers to these questions could reveal that a worker is subject to forced labor. Learn more "red flags" from a national group like Polaris Project. If you believe someone has been forced or coerced to work, call or text the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
• Take action: Your church or community group can host a forum, fundraiser, or community service project to raise awareness about forced labor. For example, advocates distribute chapsticks with the national hotline number at human trafficking hotspots across the state, which your group can help assemble. Victims' services groups like Catholic Charities in Louisville need basic items (furniture, gift cards, baby products) to help victims with short term housing.
• Spend conscientiously: Voting with your dollar is the most powerful thing you can do. Some everyday products like chocolate and coffee are tainted with child labor or forced labor. Research fair trade products and incorporate a couple of them into your regular shopping list.

On this Labor Day, what will you do to raise awareness of human and labor trafficking? How will you take action to end slavery, an injustice which Harriet Beecher Stowe herself fought to end through her anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin and subsequent activism?

Images courtesy of The Polaris Project.

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