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Today is California Against Slavery’s official 2-year birthday! On 9-9-09, Karen and I registered CAS with the IRS and State of California. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves and all of you into! 🙂
It’s been quite a journey that we’re still on. Yes, we could’ve aimed for less. We could’ve treaded lightly. But why? THANK YOU to all our volunteers who believe. Thank you for believing that a group of regular folks can take make a difference on an ugly issue with tremendous unawareness, in the biggest state in the most powerful country in the world.
Conception to inception:
The idea of the initiative was birthed after spending a sleepless night in Tahoe in February 2009. That evening, MSNBC aired its documentary “Sex Slaves in America.” What hit me most was *not* that this horrific crime happened here, it was the continued injustice that victims face in our legal system which should be protecting them. It became clear to me that our weak law was simply reflecting our nation’s general attitude – “slavery doesn’t exist anymore.” You can read the full story here.
Trafficked victims need stronger laws, and the general public needs an awakening. How? The initiative process – the most direct form of democracy which engages voters in the laws that govern them.
I spent the next six months trying to get law groups and anti-trafficking organizations to take the initaitive on as a project. I was rejected for six months! By the summer, time was running short. Few saw the value of the initiative process.
But thankfully, a few individuals did and believed that normal citizens could make a difference. I want to give a shout out for these individuals: Lita Sample for her enthusiastic urging, leadership, and getting our supplies to make CAS look official. She’s a warrior. Fran Stevenson for her prayers, words of encouragement and faith in the possible. Minnie Roque for being my cheerleader and making connections for me. Deb Davis for lending her support. Tracey Tuyen for reading penal codes with me.
I am forever grateful to Karen Yee and Barry Kofor their dedication to CAS’s mission and unwavering friendship to me from its conception – they were there when this idea got its name “California Against Slavery” and have been tirelessly working since. I remember the three of us working to 1 or 2 in the morning to get the website up and reading about all the paperwork needed to register a non-profit.
Update on me:
I finally did it. I left my job two weeks ago, and am now working on CAS fulltime. The next couple of months are critical. If we don’t raise the $1M, it’s another two years. If I’m serious about the importance of this initiative, then I have to give it my best during this time. It’s God’s calling on my heart.
What are we doing now?
We are continuing to fundraise for our $1M. CAS is moving forward and planning for success. As such, we are gearing up for the launch of our signature gathering campaign this mid-November.
We will be hosting volunteer training at the end of October in Sacramento, Bay Area, LA, Orange County and San Diego. We are still planning them. Please pencil in October 22 and 29 weekend. Sign up here to get updates.
Will you be part of this historic movement?
This initiative will become part of our law book – it will be engraved in our state’s history of human rights and justice. This will only be possible with your help.
1)Donate monthly an amount that is significant to you
2) Host a house party to raise funds, recruit volunteers, and raise awareness
3) Sign up for our volunteer signature gatherer training end of October. Sign up here to get more information.