Alright so I think the last post I wrote was more for me – things I wanted to make sure to remember – but not necessarily the stories I tell when my sister asks me “So, how was the conference?” So this post is for my sister, my sister-in-law, and for my few friends who asked me along the way – SO… how was it? They don’t necessarily want to know the information my favorite speakers shared – they want the fun stuff – the more personal stuff – the bonus kinds of stuff that happens when one is out of the day-to-day routine of life and put into rooms with other people with similar interest. So these are some little personal highlights from my time at Not For Sales Global Forum on Human Trafficking.
1) I shared a room with a soul sister of mine from Wheaton, Ill, Shayne Moore. Over the years as I have learned more about the horrific realities of modern day slavery, Shayne’s example, of what one mom could do as an advocate for women in some of the most poverty stricken parts of the world, became great hope for me as I stepped out and began to talk about this issue with friends and began to engage my community. She flew from Chicago to meet up with me in Northern California and the night before the conference we indulged in an fabulous meal of rockfish and pumpkin soup.
2) As I walked through the lobby of the main conference center I saw Shayne talking with one of my heros – David Batstone. I was going to introduce myself, but as he looked up he recognized me and said, “Ah, it’s Kim!” and give me a big hug. I give a huge Thank You to Facebook for this greeting as many months ago, I introduced myself to David Batstone via Facebook as I am not only a big fan of his, but a fellow Westmont College alumn. It was an absolute delight to meet him in person! If I haven’t mentioned it before, I will now – READ David Batstone’s book – Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It. It is the first book I recommend for someone just learning about this issue.
3) While waiting in a very long lunch line I had the great privilege of meeting Kristin, a very talented successful business owner and mother of two boys from Seattle. She shared that she was done with learning about the issue of human trafficking, that she had to do something about it. So she told the people at her company that they could handle the details on their own, made herself an active board member, and signed up for the conference. In between she has met different organizations around the Seattle area that are active in eradicating human trafficking and volunteered her services. As she told her story – although different than mine in the specifics – the theme of just having to do something but not sure what that something was going to be, was the same. She was tickled to hear that I had read the book “Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery” by, Siddhartha Kara as I was only person she knew that had. Conferences are good that way – they remind you that there are other crazy birds out there doing a similar dance and they give you energy and courage to keep going.
4) Friday night after a full day of speakers, my friend Betty Ann, Shayne, and me quickly changed from jeans to formal attire and headed to Not For Sale’s gala. The six course meal paired with just the right wines were amazing at this rather intimate dinner of under 100 Very Important People (or those like myself who paid the steep ticket price). And although seeing David Batstone strut his stuff down the catwalk in an effort to raise more money for the new black leather Levi jacket he was auctioning off was a close second, the most memorable part of the evening was meeting the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. Yes, I shook hands with Fergie! Both she and Mira Sorvino were in attendance at the gala, but our seats were at the other side of the very long table and throughout dinner I couldn’t figure out if there would be anyway to actually meet either one of them. Mira bowed out shortly after dinner, but the Duchess stayed throughout the auction. As she was leaving, Shayne and I just so happen to be entering the room and our paths crossed in the wide hallway. We introduced ourselves, shook her hand, and thanked her for caring for all she has done in this issue. She was gracious, sincere, and looked us straight in the eye. Just after our exchange, I looked at Shayne and asked, “Should we have curtsied or something?”We laughed and celebrated throughout dessert enjoying being in a room of like-minded people who are each, in their own unique way, working toward re-abolishing slavery.
5) “How could there be a highlight after meeting royalty?” one might ask. Ha! Well, for me Sunday morning was a highlight. I decided when I first booked my flight ticket and made my hotel reservations that if I were to be in Northern California I had to visit Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and to spend time with Betty Ann. It was a crystal clear day and everyone it seemed that everyone in the town was out that morning, grabbing coffee, standing in line at the local pancake joint, or going to church. After a great sermon by head pastor John Ortberg, we stopped by Betty Ann’s office and picked up two other women who drove all the way from Bend, Oregon to attend this conference. One of these women is an old friend of mine from college, Carrie, whose mother works with Betty Ann – yes, another small world story. The four of us went to breakfast and shared a bit of what we were each working on in our towns. Carrie has started an anti-human trafficking group called, Someone’s Child, in Bend. This group is made up of mothers for other moms to engage in issues. http://www.antiochchurch.org/_blog/Antioch_Missions_Blog/post/Human_Trafficking_Someone’s_Child/ You can check them out on Facebook or read this blog. It was such a gift to hear about what other mom’s are doing in their communities to fight this evil. Another kindred spirit!
Five highlights, but I think in a week or two you will remember only one and that is okay. I met a Royal. 🙂