Current events · Global Affairs · Global Education

Not My Life

by Lauren Burgess




On Tuesday, September 15th, WACCT and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center hosted a screening of the film “Not My Life” in the Mark Twain House & Museum, followed by a workshop for teachers, students, and activists. The film focused on sending the message that human trafficking and modern slavery persist around the world, despite international laws and regulations. From fishing slaves in Ghana to human traffickers in the American Midwest, “Not My Life” displayed examples of the many types of slavery today.


Not My Life Documentary

After viewing the film, many of the attendees wondered how to become activists in the community or teach students about global trafficking. First at the workshop, Elaine Kim from Love146 spoke about her organization. She shared that Love146 is an organization that helps with prevention potentially targeted children and recovery for trafficking victims. Her talk included a short film by Love146 about the origins of the group and the possibilities for hope that Love146 can provide.


To visit Love146’s website, click here.

The workshop continued with a presentation by Wendy Nelson-Kauffman, a history teacher at the Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies, and four students from the school. The group discussed their anti-slavery activism and provided tools to teachers and students during the workshop. Nelson-Kauffman and students founded the Student Abolitionists Stopping Slavery (SASS) group at MLC ten years ago. They shared their lesson plans and fundraising ideas with the workshop. Students and teachers were asked to reflect on their consumption habits and erase misconceptions about slavery as a problem of the past. The SASS students brought a selection of projects from the annual Abolitionist Fair at MLC, including a chart that traced everyday items like cellphones and coffee to slavery in certain countries. The workshop attendees left with both a more complete view of how human trafficking touches everyone’s lives,  and ways to consume more responsibly with fair-trade products.


To visit the Not My Life official website, click here.

Overall, the evening provided both education and realistic tools for change in the classroom and the community as a whole. With the lessons from the film and workshop, everyone left the event with the skills and motivation to combat modern slavery.

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