Monday, June 18, 2012

Our Sisters Only Gathering

a.t. streets disciples oakland ca allen temple baptist church
A.T. Streets Disciples getting the Word out!  Hood Internet in action
The Gathering was held in our J. Alfred Smith Fellowship Hall, and there was a full house of beautiful Sisters attending.  God smiled beautiful sunshine down on us, and the ladies' spirits were high and smiling sunshine back up at God.  The minute I stepped through the doors I could feel the warmth and beauty of the Sisters.

I went right to work at the clothing table setting it up, and our sister organization and co-laborers, Love Never Fails lived up to their name and came in with bag after bag of clothing and shoes for the ladies.  I dug into the huge pile of goodies trying to sort and fold and organize.  The Sisters came and started buzzing busily around me, looking through and choosing from the large assortment of shoes, baby clothes, T-Shirts, jeans, skirts and other clothing.  It was beautiful for me to listen to the ladies as they sorting through the things and asked each other if so-and so would like this one or that one.

Then our ministers Anne and Barbara started the gathering off in prayer and with the Biblical story of Tamar.  Even though Tamar had a tough life, and was negatively used by men, God used her for a higher purpose.  And we all, no matter what our circumstances, are valuable to God and are made according to His plan and purpose.  Sister Barbara reminded us that even the so-called prostitute is of value to God.  After all, Tamar became a part of the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The story of Tamar teaches us that no matter what we have done in the past, we are redeemable by God.  We simply put our life in God's hands and watch Him bring forth beauty out of ashes.

We served the food, and the sisters ate as they listened to the sermon.  Then sister Barbara blessed the ladies. She told them about the situation the Streets Disciples endured, where the toiletries we gathered for them were stolen right from the church itself.  A fews gasps went up from the ladies when they heard this, but they were reminded of how much the community loved them.  Within a short notice, calls were made and more toiletries gifts poured in.  Praise God!  It's a shame that someone was moved to steal the gifts dedicated to those in dire need, but it happens. 

As we were talking about these things, I watched as a few women remained focused like hawks on the clothing.  One or two of them remained at the table sorting through on the fly, even as Minister Barbara asked them to take their seats because, "the clothing would be there".  I didn't try to stop those sisters.  I understand that kind of focus, and could only smile inside my heart.  If those sisters' circumstances were different, they'd be the CEO's of top earning businesses!  Laser focus on the bottom line! 
A.T. Streets Disciples and Love Never Fails

God creates beauty out of ashes.  Our Sisters are an example of it.  They come to get a free meal, free clothing and shoes and toiletries.  But they also get love and upliftment, caring, comeraderie and fellowship.  As Sister Barbara J made the alter call, and the call for prayer, the sisters came forth.  They got up and acknowledged their need for Jesus' love in their lives.  The Sisters came and formed a circle and held hands.  We Streets Disciples formed a second circle of prayer and love behind and around them.  We had their backs in love.  Sister B. J. prayed love and protection and peace and help from on high, blessing and touching each sister's head.   And then tears of healing started flowing.  The living waters of God's healing flowed in the tears of the women, and it was a beautiful sight in my eyes. 

As women, we often are beaten down emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually.  The hardships of life are right out there, and often people will heap their hatred, fear or disdain upon us.  The black woman is the mule of the world as "Janie" of Zora Neale Hurston's great novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God has said.  And it's true.  Often, the pain, burden, disdain, neglect and hatred of the world is heaped upon our shoulders.  We try to stand up under the weight and pretend that it's not there and we are OK.   But we are not OK.   In despair, we try to deal with it.  We might get a little help from alcohol, or cigarettes.  We may overeat or do drugs or jump from bed to bed.   Sometimes what we use as a crutch ends up being a trap in our lives.  We all make mistakes.  But God is there for us.  He is able to break down the pain and refashion it into a beautiful testimony that is filled with His healing Balm.  God does this, but only if we allow him to do it.  If we take the first step towards God and His healing, He meets us the rest of the way. 
The tears flowed.  They flowed, tracing healing paths down beautiful cheeks.  They flowed down long fluffy lash extensions, gently sliding to the tips and falling.  The tears flowed and puddled on the sunlit floor, reflecting love into my own heart for our Sisters.  We laid on hands of healing. We called on the name of Jesus, We stood in the presence of the Lord's blessed Spirit of healing.  Then we sang!  We sang songs of freedom, redemption and love.

The Spirit was high!  Sister Anne called on the ladies to bring forth their testimonies, and they did.  They spoke of how God's grace saved them from drug addiction, from the streets, from the track, that's still out there, not even 3 blocks away.  God did it!  And the Sisters praised Him for it.  They praised and sang the house down and lifted up beautiful praises to our most high God.  Jesus!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Recognizing Human Trafficking Victim Experiences

Understanding Victims' Mindsets

The NHTRC has created several resources to assist those working in the anti-trafficking field in understanding the experience of human trafficking victims.
In Their Shoes: Understanding Victims' Mindsets and Common Barriers to Victim Identification, outlines a variety of physical and psychological reasons why sex and labor trafficking victims have difficulty leaving their situations.

Additionally, the NHTRC website features several interactive online trainings and pre-recorded webinars available to assist those looking to gain a greater understanding of human trafficking victim experiences and identification. These trainings include Recognizing Human Trafficking Victim Experiences, Human Trafficking Victim Identification, Effects of Trauma on Trafficking Victims and Challenges to Recovery, and many more.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oakland's WALK FOR JUSTICE 2012

Dear Anna,

We are enormously happy to announce the Walk For Justice 2012 campaign, made up of exciting walkathons we'll be holding across the state this summer. This will be a great way to raise awareness of human trafficking and support the CASE Act -- not to mention that you get to enjoy the California sun!
The walkathon will be a great chance show the passion of committed supporters like you and introduce new supporters to the CASE Act. Each mile you walk will be raising money for this crucial initiative, while showing your determination to put an end to human trafficking in California.
Click here to visit the Walk for Justice 2012 page at learn more about the walks, find a location near you, and sign up to start walking!
There are going to be walkathon locations across the state, with events in Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, and Long Beach. Taking part in these events will help us show our strength to as many Californians as possible. All you need to do is find the location nearest you, enter your information, and you'll be on your way!
This is a fantastic opportunity to show the great, positive face of the CASE Act, California Against Slavery, and all of our wonderful supporters. And, it's a great way to get your friends and family involved with our cause. Who knows -- maybe you can get them to walk with you!
Click here to visit the Walk for Justice 2012 page at and find out how you can get involved.
I'm looking forward to hitting the streets with you!
Daphne Phung
California Against Slavery

Paid for by Californians Against Sexual Exploitation,

Oakland, California 
Walk The Track

Saturday, August 4, 2012
8:00pm-9:00am: Registration
9:00am-1:00pm: Event
Carter-Gilmore Field
1390 66th Avenue, Oakland, CA

Join co-hosts Love Never Fails and the CASE Act in a 5K rally and march along "the track" in Oakland to raise awareness of the commercial exploitation of minors in our community, and to demonstrate our community's solidarity in support of our youth at-risk. After the walk, enjoy live music and entertainment, speakers, food, exhibits, and local anti-trafficking informational booths! Parental discretion is advised for those with young children.
* Additional speakers, entertainment, and organizations to come!

Featured Speakers

Daphne Phung

Chris Kelly

Mark Klass

Rev. Harry Willams

Step 1: Register!

Register Now! (Individuals and Team Members)

Register yourself and friends! T-shirt sizes are guaranteed to those that register by July 4, 2012.

Register for FREE as a Team Captain

Form a team of 7 or more walkers as a Team Captain and your registration fee will be waived! Round up family, friends, co-workers, club members, and faith community and come up with a creative team name! T-shirt sizes are guaranteed to those that register by July 4, 2012!

Step 2: Fundraise!

This annual walk is one of the best ways to support our grassroots effort, and to involve friends and family to support your dedication to ending human trafficking. We encourage a goal amount of raising $100 per walker - that's just 10 friends giving $10 each! To be eligible for top fundraising prizes, please submit all fundraising one week prior to event date to: CASE Act, PO Box 7057, Fremont, CA 94537.

Create My Online Fundraising Page
Download the Pledge Form
Search for a Friend's Fundraising Page

Step 3: Walk!

Have fun for a great cause!
  • Hear from guest speakers and from survivors of human trafficking
  • Enjoy music and entertainment
  • Visit the safety fair and other exhibitors