In the second week of September, Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ) hosted two events inspired by the same heart and created for the same purpose: to bring awareness that will lead to justice for women and children affected by human trafficking.
On September 11, the GCWJ hosted a free documentary screening of Jody Hassett Sanchez’s SOLD: Fighting the Global Slave Trade followed by a Q&A session with director/producer Sanchez. On September 13, the GCWJ hosted the annual More Priceless Than Diamonds gala luncheon to raise support for the center’s continued work in fighting human trafficking.
Playing at the Lido Theater in Newport Beach, SOLD tells the stories of three individuals, a Christian, a Hindu and a Muslim, who have committed their lives to battling human trafficking. They survive death threats, plot daring rescue raids and challenge powerful interests in their battle to end slavery in the 21st century.
One student, a women’s studies minor and sociology major, Araceli Bravo, found the documentary to be very different than any she had seen before on the topic. It didn’t just give statistics and data, “it gave you stories,” she said. She also noted that most human-trafficking documentaries she had seen were either Christian or secular, whereas SOLD dealt with three different religions.
Talking about the documentary’s featured individuals, Bravo said: “All they want is to rescue those girls.” She said she enjoyed seeing a documentary that highlighted the unity of cause among different religions. “Even though we’re so different in our worldviews, we can come together in one cause: stopping human trafficking,” Bravo said.
Two days after the screening, the GCWJ hosted the More Priceless Than Diamonds luncheon in the Balboa Bay Club’s Grand Ballroom. The annual luncheon provides support for the center to continue in its mission to create a just world where women and children are safe, respected and valued. This year’s luncheon featured SOLD producer Sanchez as the keynote speaker, KOCE’s Ed Arnold as the emcee, and Maria Hall Brown of PBS SoCal along with survivor advocate and author Shyima Hall for an exclusive live interview.
When describing the event, president of the Live2Free club Brittany Miller said the community’s involvement through funding and support inspired her. For the event, Miller spoke to attendants about Live2Free’s high school student training and its work in raising awareness among the students. Reflecting on the luncheon, Miller said: “It continued to stoke my own personal passion for this issue.”
To learn more about the GCWJ and their upcoming events, click here.