More Priceless Than Diamonds Luncheon – PRESS RELEASE

Below is GCWJ’s press release for the More Priceless Than Diamonds Luncheon on Saturday, September 13, 2014.

More Priceless Than Diamonds Luncheon to Draw Hundreds in Promoting Justice for Women and Children in Orange County

Costa Mesa, CA, August 11, 2014 – Vanguard University’s esteemed Global Center for Women and Justice will host the annual More Priceless Than Diamonds luncheon at the Balboa Bay Club on September 13, 2014, where 300-400 are expected in attendance.

For eleven years, the Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ) at Vanguard University has provided training and resources to enable leaders to promote justice for women and girls. The Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University, a faith based organization, seeks to create a just world where women and children are safe, respected and valued. The GCWJ carries out this mission through education, research, advocacy and collaboration, working with students, educators, law enforcement, healthcare, and community leaders, to end human trafficking and the cyber-exploitation of women and children in Orange County and worldwide.

The annual luncheon, doubling in size from last year’s event, will raise awareness on one of the growing crimes in southern California, human trafficking. Jody Hassett Sanchez, formerly of ABC News and CNN, now acclaimed news and documentary producer, will be the keynote speaker at the event. Ed Arnold, news anchor, KOCE-TV/PBS SoCal, will emcee the afternoon and hold an exclusive interview with Maria Hall Brown from PBS, alongside survivor advocate and author, Shyima Hall.

Co-chair for the luncheon, Mary Beth Molnar, explains, “California is one of the nation’s top four destinations for human trafficking. As a parent and grandmother I want my community to have their eyes opened to the fact that these children are within our own population. These victims are our responsibility because they are our own sons and daughters. By financially supporting the GCWJ we are doing something tangible to stop this terrible crime.”

The Global Center for Women and Justice will also announce the first-ever Diamond Award winner for individuals or organizations whose activities and commitment promote justice and dignity for women and children in Orange County. The selection process for the inaugural Diamond Award has been an extensive search and nomination process throughout June and July. A judges’ panel comprised of business and community leaders, philanthropists, and Vanguard University faculty has evaluated the top nominees, and will be honoring the award winner during the September 13 luncheon.

“Too many females around the world are treated like second class citizens and Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice is trying to change that. The center’s work to prevent child trafficking cyber-exploitation is a prime example,” said Arnold.

To attend the More Priceless Than Diamonds annual luncheon, visit vanguard.edu/gcwj/pricelessluncheon

To learn more about The Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University, visitgcwj.vanguard.edu

To request an interview, contact:

Erin Hales, Director of Marketing & Communications
55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
714.966.5452
erin.hales@vanguard.edu

 

ABOUT VANGUARD UNIVERSITY

Vanguard University (VU) is a regionally ranked, private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. Located ten minutes from Newport Beach and an hour from Los Angeles, Vanguard equips students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-focused leadership and service. Vanguard is committed to academic excellence, boasting small class sizes that are designed to cultivate lasting professor-mentor relationships that enhance the learning process. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanguard a top 10 regional college in the west for 2014 and The Princeton Review ranked Vanguard a 2014 “Best in the West” regional college. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Vanguard offers more than 30 degrees and certificates through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs. Please visit www.vanguard.edu

ABOUT THE GLOBAL CENTER FOR WOMEN AND JUSTICE

The Global Center for Women & Justice at Vanguard University is a faith-based organization that exists to advance the global status of women through research, education, advocacy, collaboration and hope. The Global Center for Women & Justice promotes gender reconciliation and the inherent dignity of all persons. For more, visit http://gcwj.vanguard.edu

###

GCWJ Finalist for COAST Community Award

sandie Coast Community AwardsThe Global Center for Women and Justice was a finalist in the Education category for COAST Magazine’s Coast Community Awards!

On Monday, February 3, Director Sandra Morgan attended the award ceremony at AnQi Bistro at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA. One of four finalists, GCWJ sat along side The Dodge School of Film & Media Arts at Chapman University, The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at UCI, and Soka University Performing Arts Center at Soka University of America. Other award categories included Business, City Projects, Environment, and Nonprofit. Vanguard University President Mike Beals, his wife Faith, and Vice President of University Advancement Kelly Kanniwischer joined Sandie at the awards ceremony.

 

For more details about the event, check out this article from the Orange County Register.

Thank you to The Rick Amato Show

I want to give a big shout out to The Rick Amato Show for inviting me to be a guest as they introduced the topic of human trafficking. The stories of children who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation are especially heart wrenching. It raises questions about who the victims are, who is selling them, and who is buying a child. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is the fact that there is demand to purchase a young person, girls and some boys. The growing number of State and Federal laws that have been passed in the past few years is evidence that this is a bi-partisan issue.

We are a community that wants to do something to end human trafficking, whether it is sex trafficking or labor trafficking. Understanding what it is, recognizing the signs and learning how to report it is important knowledge and The Rick Amato Show gave us a megaphone to reach out to millions and give out the hotline number (888-3737-888) to report suspected human trafficking, as well as to direct parents to reliable resources to learn how to protect their children from predators online.  If you want more information about the complex issues that surround this issue, please go to our website and click on resources or check out our podcast, Ending Human Trafficking.

– Sandie Morgan, Global Center for Women and Justice Director

 

Like GCWJ on Facebook

Follow GCWJ on Twitter

Check out our toolkits: Human Trafficking 101 and Internet Safety

Live2Free at YOUR School!!

live2free_logo_large

 

 

 

 

 

Request Vanguard students to teach your local middle, high school or youth group about human trafficking.  Our students will share an interactive, youthful presentation about local and global modern day slavery. They use real life examples to teach about labor and sex trafficking based on force, fraud, and coercion so that your students will know the signs. Students will also learn age appropriate options to become part of ending human trafficking.

To schedule a team in Orange County during Spring Semester (January – May), please contact the Live2free School Representative: Lauren.grant@vanguard.edu or call 714.966.6360. 

Like Live2free on Facebook

 

 

Alumni Stories: A New Lens

Alumni Story: Tina

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we will share monthly Alumni Stories – insight from Alumni Women’s Studies minors, Live2Free club members, and GCWJ interns over the last 10 years. 

I eventually interned in the Center during my senior year and can not count the ways that experience has influenced me and where I’ve been since graduation. Through my time with the Center in undergrad and working there after, I developed a new lens to see the world through. One with God’s eyes for His children, where He’s larger than the labels the world puts on us and He deeply loves everyone of His children; male and female, He loves us all! The spiritual aspects of the program in pair with a seeking of justice is truly what I think God is calling us to when He calls us to rebuild and restore our cities.What really set apart my time at Vanguard was the growing opportunities, mentorship, and spiritual transformation I experienced because of the Global Center for Women & Justice and the Women’s Studies minor. After my first sociology class, I just knew I had to be a Women’s Studies minor! The passion and excitement for the content we learned in and outside of the classroom was contagious, and it ignited a desire in me that I did not know I had – to seek justice.

From the first Women’s Studies conference I attended, God started working on my heart to humbly seek Him and discover it means to seek justice and love mercy. So nearly ten years since that conference, I thank God for the Center and the untold number of lives it’s changed. I can’t wait to see how God continues to grow and bless the Center.

 

Tina Kroona
B.A. 2008
Women’s Studies Minor
Former GCWJ Intern & staff

Frontline Summit: Where is the frontline against child exploitation?

Frontline Summit 2013

On November 7 – 8, 2013, the Global Center for Women and Justice hosted a two-day Frontline Summit focused on finding innovative prevention and early intervention strategies to fight commercial sexual exploitation of our children. The Summit was co-sponsored by Orange County Department of Education Safe Schools & Support Services and included 100 participants from 2 states and 5 counties comprised of judges, probation, educators, attorneys, child welfare, and  Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) volunteers. The Summit focused on identifying the gaps and barriers that contribute to exploitation of minors and developing strategies to fill those gaps. Major gaps identified include:

  • Information sharing between agencies
  • Funding
  • Victim identification strategies
  • Community awareness and engagement
  • Services and Education opportunities

After identifying major gaps, the Summit participants went on to design possible strategies to fill these gaps. One of the most common gaps, information sharing, confirmed that events like the Frontline Summit were critical in bringing together diverse groups and building multi-disciplinary teams across agencies in order to better serve high-risk children. A full report will be available once all of the recordings and notes from the proceeding have been transcribed and evaluated.  GCWJ’s student research team is analyzing each of the 24 breakout sessions in order to collect all the ideas discussed, and create a report for distribution.

Click here to see photos from the Summit! 

Women in Leadership: Lindsey Sin

GCWJ is hosting Deputy Secretary for Women Veterans Affairs Lindsey Sin on Monday November 18 at 7:00 pm for the annual Women in Leadership series. Lindsey will be speaking in the Great Commission Hall, Heath Academic Center at Vanguard University. RSVP to alexis.miller@vanguard.edu is appreciated, as seating is limited.

Lindsey Sin

Student Post: Fearless Ideas

Brianne Hittenberger joined the GCWJ team at this year’s Christians for Biblical Equality Conference in Pittsburgh, PA July 26-28. Brianne is a sophomore at Vanguard University and a Women’s Studies Minor. 

 

In the fall, I will enter my second year at Vanguard University, which will be my first year in an air-conditioned dorm! I decided to come to Vanguard, because I wanted to attend a Christian university where I could both take classes and become involved with Women’s Studies. As involved as I’d like to be, when Sandie Morgan asked if I would come to the Christians for Biblical Equality conference in Pittsburgh, I didn’t know what I was getting into. Now I know.

CBE is not purely academic. The theme for this conference was: “Ideas have consequences.” When Domnic Misolo believed women were less than human, he discovered CBE. He then started the Ekklesia Foundation for Gender Education (EFOGE) to raise high school students in egalitarianism, and by last year arranged for CBE to do their yearly conference in Kenya. CBE chapters all across Africa were born. SASA! (or, “now,” in Haitian Creole) educates Haitian men and women how to increase their balance of power in relationships and the church. The objectives of World Shine Ministries in Uganda are to reach, raise, and release leaders of both sexes, which includes building schools and orphanages. Founder Medad Birungi discussed the position of women in Sub-Saharan African culture: for example, that female genital mutilation is considered God’s will, or that “domestic abuse” is not a word or concept but labeled “discipline,” something you do only if you love your wife. Lily Lee provided us with statistics about sex-selective abortion and domestic abuse in Asia, then discussed her non-profit work in Cambodia, where her home for girls keeps them away from human trafficking. The actions through CBE right now are speaking as loudly as their theology papers, and have real effects on real people everywhere.

In one workshop, I met Bettina Tate Pederson, whose name I didn’t know till she caught me flipping through her book later. (I say this, because if you go to one of these conferences, remember that almost all of the people you meet do important work. Be nice!) I would later go to Pederson’s workshop, “Reading the Bible, Reading Literature: Becoming a Feminist Christian Reader of the Bible.” Her point was the Bible is often read like a book written for its reader; when it is 66 books for 66 audiences who understand the same God the same way we do, but misunderstand the same God and their different worlds in a million ways we’ve never once thought. There were several workshops and plenaries interpreting passages that, at first glance, may seem sexist without the story behind the Bible story. Inspired by Muslim women who choose to veil to protect themselves from men, Cynthia Long Westfall examined ancient Corinthian culture only to find that a “Corinthian girl” was slang for prostitute. She proposed that women, even slaves who were normally prohibited, wanted to veil in Corinthians 11 to protect themselves against their sexualized culture, especially while in church. A video was shown to the whole conference—I cannot find it or its creator on the schedule—interpreted 1 Timothy 2:8-15 as a warning against the theology of former Gnostics and Artemis worshippers. There is a lot more to the analysis behind complex passages, but the point is that God is not who you’re told He is. God is. And He will reveal himself to those whose faith is “blind” but whose eyes and minds are open.

I expected the attendees to be overwhelmingly female, but there was surprising diversity of every kind. Words like “patriarchy” and “feminism” were used fearlessly as regular parts of conversation. We ended the conference with communion. I’m told the gluten-free “body of Christ” was awful, but seeing people of both genders, every color, every age, and every denomination surrender their sins to Christ as one body? Beautiful. That was not simply true for communion, but the whole of the conference. I would encourage other students to attend this conference to deepen their theological understanding of equality, to find hope and ways to get involved, and to be part of a diverse body of Christ for only a few days or a lifetime.

News: Attorneys General request Congress to amend Communications Decency Act of 1996

Forty-seven Attorneys General across the country, including California’s Kamala Harris, signed and submitted a letter to Congress on July 24, 2013 pushing to amend the Communications Decency Act of 1996 in order to restore State and local authorities the power to investigate and prosecute anyone engaging in internet crimes against children, particularly commercial sexual exploitation. 

The letter’s amendment to 47 U.S.C. § 230(e)(1) urges that nothing “shall be construed to impair the enforcement” of obscenity or the sexual exploitation of children.

The Communications Decency Act of 1996 intended to keep children from accessing inappropriate content from the internet, yet also established that internet sites cannot be held as the publisher of and information posted by a third party, such as personal advertisements. This amendment will allow State and local agencies to pursue investigations and raise criminal charges as it relates to the commercial sexual exploitation of children and other internet crimes against children.

Internet sites such as Backpage.com offer traffickers easy, and often unregulated, access to sell children and women for sex. The amendment would establish more accountability and empower local authorities to take action against online child exploitation.  It is evident that internet ads exploiting children are growing in number – a recent example: high school senior in Minnesota is facing trafficking charges for selling her 16 year old teammate for sex with a Backpage.com ad.