Co-Founder and Board Chairperson
Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking
It’s somewhere after midnight post-Launch party, and I should be exhausted. I can’t quite settle down yet, because of all of the amazing things I observed tonight. I’m in a reflective space, appreciative of the energies that went into the evening. I’m thinking about the community support that presented itself in our beautiful space. I’m thinking about Bradley Myles’ recent blog about our LCHT community that is “immersed in good vibes, laughter, engaging discussions, and great energy surrounded by genuinely authentic people.”
Tonight, guests perused our office space, interacted with our computerized learning stations, and contributed to our Action Mural. As importantly, guests talked to each other about the issue of human trafficking on various levels.
I was humbled by the number of people who came to share in our celebration. Anti-trafficking field colleagues. Law enforcement. TAXI neighbors. College and university colleagues and students. Friends. Family. There was this uber-diverse and supportive community celebrating our efforts.
And surrounding us was a collective undercurrent whispering, “Keep going; we’re behind you because this work is necessary.”
This is the essence of sustainability.
Our launch event captured the fine details of our sustainability as a five-year old organization, a product of our intentional collaborations, both in the preparations and the party atmosphere. These details include steadfast optimism, trust, and pulling up as we climb.
Steadfast optimism. In my part of our presentation tonight, I mentioned my entrée into the local anti-trafficking movement that began as a thought: “Let’s see what happens when I approach Amanda to join her in this work.” Through the years, we have persevered as ever-positive optimists, open to possibility, and open to the fact that stumbling blocks created alternate paths to explore. Borrowing words from Derek Siver (2010), much of what we’ve done over the years has included a series of optimistic “tests and trials: an ongoing experiment to see what happens.” Indeed, a lot has happened in our rich history and we were thrilled to share with our guests tonight.
Trust. In the anti-trafficking field, trust is such a core component of the crime, in both negative (criminal) and positive (supportive) ways. At our launch, I could feel the trust that we held in the community. What I felt during today’s events was the implicit trust between our staff members, the trust of our friends and family, and the trust between our anti-trafficking colleagues. And here’s the thing. Trust takes intentional time and patience. Inherently, trust is about conveying “you matter.” Trust is the outcome of follow through. Reliability. Common ground. Humility. And trust-building is also about coffee. Healthy doses of humor. Awesome places to meet for lunch. Debates about Glee.
Pulling up as we climb. I think that when most of us hear “leadership development,” the emphasis is on “leader.” I humbly disagree. I think it’s about “pulling up as we climb,” because what is the use of laying down leadership initiatives if there is nobody to sustain the foundational work? It was great to see younger activists eager to learn tonight. It was great to feature the work of our interns in our leadership development program. This is a shout out to colleagues in my age cohort (yes you, listen up). We need to do our best to take patient time with our mentees. And we must include self-care tools to sustain their work. But that’s worthy of a blog unto itself (stay tuned…promise).
So…it’s about time I closed out the night. As co-founder of LCHT, I appreciated the time everyone took to join us. Thank you for holding us in trust and encouraging us to keep going. I stand alongside Amanda in the invitation to think critically with us in the laboratory and become part of the solution.