The Center for Justice and Reconciliation with the club Beauty for Ashes is to launch the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund on Oct 30 at 7 p.m. in Brown Chapel at their fundraising spoken word event “Just Saying.” The club’s purpose is to bring awareness to the injustices of human trafficking, and this time they’re doing it through the arts.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity for the PLNU community to provide human trafficking survivors in San Diego and Tijuana with a hope and a future–with a college education from PLNU,” said Jamie Gates, Director of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation and professor of Sociology and Social Work via email. “Through spoken word poetry from nationally and regionally known professional poets, our own student poets, and a PLNU alumna MC who works with survivors, we’ll be educating on the issues and what we can do about human trafficking in and from our own backyard.”
One of the student poets that will be performing that evening is junior Gia Cabarse. She’s been doing spoken word poetry for about five years and says she’s excited, but equally as nervous about being on stage.
“I’m trying to give a voice to those who experience such a horrid crime that’s too heavy for people to discuss. I hope my words can do them justice,” said Cabarse. “The arts have a way of directing people’s attention to see things on a very real level. Whether it’s performing or visual, they have a way of spurring a human connection, which is the one thing that drives change. This night will move hearts toward a change for survivors of human trafficking.”
This night will also be honoring the top local social service agencies that work directly with sex and labor trafficking survivors and starting a 45-day crowd-funding campaign for the scholarship fund.
“We’re aiming to raise $40,000 right off the bat,” said Gates, who adds that is amount is equal to what it costs the university to educate one student for a year.
Gates says that their goal is already becoming a reality. Three survivors are in the early stages of applying to PLNU for the Fall 2015 school year.
“While their identities as survivors will not be widely known, we have more to prepare than just scholarship monies,” said Gates. “The survivor community and those caring for them believe that we, the PLNU community, will be the hands and feet of Christ to these students in as beautiful a way as we are to all of our students.”
There will be informational booths in the foyer of Brown to educate and provide resources to attendees, plus free coffee from Cura Coffee, a Fair Trade company.
See more about the creation of the fund here.