re.write magazine, November 5, 2014
re.write magazine, November 5, 2014
How Jimmy Lee went from childhood bully to director of Restore NYC.
According to the New York Times, twelve Long Island 7-Elevens were raided this morning by the Department of Homeland Security, on the heels of nine proprietors and managers being accused of human trafficking, identity theft and money laundering…
Three months ago, Ruth came into my life. Sixteen years and two weeks old, Ruth is spunky and smart.
She loves Hello Kitty and iced coffee, listens to Alicia Keys and spends days planning her Sweet 16 outfit. Ruth wants to build schools in Africa. Her contagious smile lights up a room. But, for years, the smile I have come to love was hidden…
Restore NYC has started 2012 with great optimism, hope and success.
Our safehouse celebrated its first graduation of the year. When Maria* first arrived at our safehouse in February 2011, she had multiple medical issues and lacked immigration status and income. After six years of being raped by an average of 20 men each day, she was extremely traumatized and hopeless. Restore partnered with Sanctuary for Families to help Maria obtain a T visa for trafficking survivors. She also received medical care, started ESL, joined Restore’s yoga classes and participated in our 12-week job-training program. With the assistance of volunteers, she also discovered her talent as a seamstress. Today, her medical needs are stabilized, her English is improving and she attends church on Sundays. Last week, after celebrating her birthday with the safehouse family, Maria moved into her own apartment. She will keep in touch.
We reached our year-end giving goal. Thanks to your incredible generosity, we were able to secure the $50,000 match and raised a total of over $140,000 in December. With these much needed funds, we will be able to provide new beginnings in 2012 for so many women in need of healing.
We launched a pilot art therapy program. Under the direction of committed students from the Columbia University School of Social Work, we are piloting a new art therapy program with a particular focus on healing from trauma. The pilot is culturally and linguistically tailored and will be offered in three modules: ceramics, cooking and basket weaving. We hope that sufficient funds can be generated to ensure self-sustainability. Our safehouse residents started their first session last week. To learn more about the program, please visit the pilot directors’ MyRestore page.
We hope your new year has gotten off to a great start. We look forward to partnering with you in 2012.
*To protect the identities of the survivors with whom we work, a pseudonym has been used.
Save the date for our Restore Freedom Gala! 4.10.2012
Please note that we will be sending Restore newsletters quarterly moving forward.
This year’s Freedom Gala celebrated Restore NYC’s accomplishments in the fight against modern-day slavery in New York City and raised crucial funds for our holistic, long-term care for international survivors of sex trafficking. The sold-out Freedom Gala at City Winery included an exclusive silent auction and raffle, a video featuring client testimonies and updates from new Restore Executive Director Jimmy Lee. Musical guests were Paula Cole, Ashley Arrison and Amy Lee of Evanescence, who sang the song “My Heart is Broken,” which is inspired in part by the female survivors at Restore.
By Evangel Fung
Recently, New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey garnered attention by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness for human trafficking. We were blessed to have one of our own supporters do the same. One year ago, an unknown Mets fan and native New Yorker dedicated his Mount Kilimanjaro climb to raise money and awareness for Restore NYC. We are thankful for the passion of both of these modern-day abolitionists.
Jae Kim was first introduced to Restore when he attended our annual New Year’s Eve benefit in 2010. He continued hearing more about the nonprofit from friends who were involved and was struck by their passion. Then he got his hands on a copy of this year’s annual report. “The one thing I remembered was the fact that there’s more slavery today than there was during the slave trade. That’s ridiculous to me.”
Last year, Jae found his opportunity to join Restore’s mission when he began pursuing his longtime dream of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, which lies on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. At 19,000 feet, it is the highest mountain in Africa. Climbing it requires months of rigorous training. A couple months before he was scheduled to take on the arduous climb, it became clear that Jae wasn’t physically ready. “I was talking about it with my co-workers, and one guy said flat out, ‘I bet you can’t do it.’” In that moment, Jae rose to the challenge. “Sure, let’s bet,” he replied.
Other people expressed interest in the bet and a wager was born. Soon, Jae’s co-workers decided to raise the money for charity, and Jae was touched by their enthusiasm. “I thought it was a great idea. Once we got the charity idea going, it just kind of snow-balled, and everybody wanted to chip in a few bucks here and there. Part of it was just to see me fail, but at the same time, it was really great that people wanted to donate.”
On January 8th, 2011, Jae began the six-day hike with three friends. The hike grew more difficult on the third day and the altitude began to affect their climb. On the fourth day, they reached the base camp below the summit around 4:00pm and went to sleep right away. Hours later, at midnight, they began the climb to the top, hoping to reach the peak by sunrise. “There were times along that route when I just was ready to give up,” Jae said. “We saw people coming down the mountain, people who couldn’t make it up all the way. It was really disheartening to see that. They made it all this way, and if they couldn’t make it, maybe I can’t make it either. Thoughts start coming into your head.”
On the morning of January 12th, the group made it to Stella Point, where the steep slope ends and the hike becomes gentler and rockier. There, they stopped to rest and made their decision: “We came all this way; let’s just go to the top, no matter how hard it is.” They took off again. Everyone else was really beat, so Jae went up ahead, running to reach the top. “I don’t even remember the last 50 yards. All I remember is feeling an overwhelming sense of relief and joy when I saw the end up ahead. It was awesome. It was absolutely gorgeous.” Jae took his first picture, and then let himself fall to the ground. He lay on the ground and rested while waiting for his companions.
When Jae returned home, he emailed his co-workers and attached his picture at the top with the caption, “I did it!” Some teased him and claimed the picture was photoshopped, but everyone put up the money. Jae and his co-workers raised $3,000 total to share evenly between Restore and another charity, City Harvest. When a $1,500 check landed in the hands of Executive Director Faith Huckel, she knew she had to find Jae and hear his story.
“I was struck by his creativity,” said Faith. “He used something he was already doing in his life and found a way to loop in a social good. And for the average person who thinks, ‘I don’t have a lot to give, and I’m not really all that involved,’ his story was a way to show that there are so many ways that people can do good. There are so many ways people can get involved, and they may not even know it.”
Jas has participated in many company walks and runs and frequently gives to charities. But this is the first time he has ever organized something himself. “It just seemed very straightforward and obvious.” Jae was able to share about Restore with his co-workers, many of whom hadn’t heard of the organization. According to Faith, “That is infectious philanthropy, when we’re drawing in our communities into something we do. It’s about how you look at your life, and whether you’re doing ordinary things or extraordinary things, like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, there are ways to do good in our daily lives.” Restore’s donor base comes from a strong grassroots network of friends and family, many of whom are doing more and more to tie service into their daily lives just like Jae.
Jae hasn’t planned any hikes for the near future, but he’s excited about finding more opportunities to combine his love for adventure and his desire to support worthy causes. “The key is that it was a nice, creative way to raise money and have some fun as well. For myself, it was an amazing experience just to climb Kilimanjaro period, and to be able to do something charitable on top of that was icing on the cake.”
If you are interested in dedicating an upcoming personal challenge to Restore, be sure to check out MyRestore at http://my.restorenyc.org/.
Join The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) in partnership with Prostitution Research and Education (PRE) and co-sponsoring organizations that include Equality Now, Soroptimist International of the Americas, Apne Aap, Aboriginal Women’s Action Network, Breaking Free, Ambassador Mark Lagon, Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, Temple Committee Against Human Trafficking, A Call to Men, Restore NYC, NY State Anti Trafficking Coalition, along with many others, as they protest in front of the Village Voice building at the offices of Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC, owner of Backpage.com. to bring attention to their corporation’s facilitation of and profiting from sex trafficking:
When: Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 4:00 – 7: 00PM
Where: The Village Voice, 36 Cooper Square, Manhattan
“Backpage is now the leading online facilitator of sex trafficking,” says Norma Ramos, Executive Director of CATW. Since August, 51 Attorneys General have called upon Backpage to cease its facilitation of sex trafficking. In doing so, they have cited more than 50 cases across 22 U.S. states in the past three years that involve Backpage’s facilitation of sex trafficking.
It is estimated that Backpage generates upwards of $2 million per month largely attributable to its functioning as a virtual red light district for pimps/traffickers and johns. Currently, Backpage is facilitating sex trafficking in at least 10 other countries. Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC, owner of Backpage, is displaying a reckless disregard for human rights. Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC could act to create a sex trafficking free Internet by no longer hosting prostitution ads through Backpage.
We invite you to join CATW, PRE and our co-sponsors to hold Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC accountable for its facilitation of and profiting from the rank exploitation of others. We call upon Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC to engage in corporate responsibility by ceasing to host ads that facilitate sex trafficking on Backpage.
* Please help spread the word: forward this notice to your contact list.
Have you noticed our new look? Thanks to the dedication of our volunteer branding and design expert Dorothy Lin and web developer Daniel Hunninghake, we were proud to debut our new logo, color and website last month. Additional thanks to Danielle Lurie for providing photography for our “Give” page on the website and Becky Han and Chelsea Sutrisno for helping update our stationery and business cards. We are incredibly grateful for your support and talent!
As part of the next phase of our re-branding project, photographers Albert Cheung and Minnow Park will be shooting new photos for our website and promotional materials. We are looking for several volunteer models that fit the following criteria:
• Ages 20-35
• All body types
• All ethnicities
• Ability to sensitively and subtly portray strength, hope and resilience
• Daytime or nighttime availability on November 12 or November 13
Identities will be obscured in the final products. Models may need to sign releases.
Please email Fay Sardjono at email@example.com if interested and include your name and a photo of yourself.
Feel free to distribute this announcement widely. As always, thank you for your support!