Stop Sex Trafficking in Chicago

Stop Sex Trafficking in Chicago

Sex trafficking sounds like something that happens in other countries. But sex trafficking is happening right now in Chicago. Since 2012, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department has picked up more than 300 children forced into prostitution.

Mary BonnettCreative Activist Mary Bonnett (Producing Artistic Director) created and cofounded Her Story Theater.  Mary holds a BFA in Theater Arts, BFA in English Literature, MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, England. She has won numerous awards for excellence and outstanding contributions in professional theater, writing, directing and theater education.

 

 

Why did you start Her Story Theater? I went into a kind of a third phase of my life. I’ve done theater and I have taught theater. When I stepped into this third, I don’t think final phase, I thought what can I do and what do I bring to the table?  I can direct and I can write and I can organize. And the next question being, “what is my passion?” Social Justice for women and children. So I created Her Story Theater, and decided to put it in Chicago’s backyard. And the mission is to shine bright lights on women and children in need of social justice and community support. It is three pronged: It’s raising awareness, getting an audience charged up to be proactive and then to raise funds for a partner, a Chicago partner, that’s doing great work on that specific cause.

 

The first one we did was a piece on homeless women and we partnered with Deborah’s Place which does residential care for homeless women.We interviewed about 30 women. And then I took the information and looked at  lots of research to see what the issues are and who is homeless. I selected characters to represent who is out there:  mentally ill, the runaways, domestic violence victims, migrant worker, the economically challenged, ex-con. We set it in a spa, a beauty spa, and salon, and we got real technicians in real time doing work, so the prisoner was getting her hair done, and the mentally ill was getting the facial, and the economically challenged was getting make-up, and so on. And so the audience would go from room to room. There would be a music cue to move people from cubicle to cubicle so they could hear the before and after stories. I had a wonderful photographer who took pictures of homeless on the streets and homeless who had been to Deborah’s Place. We sold art work to raise funds.

Since then we have tackled human trafficking called Shadow Town which was addressed to young girls. It was based on interviews with people involved with sex trafficking in Chicagoland, from undercover detectives, vice squad, social workers, therapists, johns, pimps, and the women and girls trafficked.

Uniquely woven with dance and music, this memory piece follows the lives of 4 young girls’, Marisol from Humbolt Park, Tatiana from the West side of Chicago, Samantha from Naperville and Ling Ling from China, and their journey into ‘The Life’ and modern day slavery. Did you know there are 18000 – 25000 children trafficked every day? The average age is 11.

The next one is Shadow town 11: The Johns, which is about the men who buy girls and what is costs. This second part shows the demand side, how it impacts the purchasers, their families and those trafficked. Human trafficking is big business. Globally, it’s a $32 billion economy that survives by feeding the desires of men who buy sex.                                                                                                                                          mad-sex-trafficking-play-shadow-town

Bonnett researched the play by interviewing Chicagoland trafficked victims and Johns. The Johns were diverse, financially and otherwise. Some were old, some young. Some had families, others didn’t.The one thing they had in common? Denial. Most of these Johns perceive these girls as wanting to be there,” Bonnett said. Few would admit that the girls they bought were underage despite perhaps knowing otherwise. As Bonnett said, “you know the difference between an 11-year-old and a 23- year-old.” “Never once in all those conversations with the Johns did they acknowledge their actions as potentially harmful,” she said.

Bonnett says that generally men buying sex don’t brag about their activities, but “one man told me he’d been married for 37 years and never got caught. He’d been buying sex for decades.”

“We particularly want men’s groups attending this play to start understanding the issue and how they can be part of the solution to this new modern-day slavery, to see how our current culture impacts our young men and women,” she added. Once awareness is raised, re- form will follow.. This nontraditional powerful drama has music and humor. Art and theater have long had the ability to facilitate social change, and the  “The Johns” will be that vehicle.

Shadow Town II: The Johns” opens at the Mayer Kaplan Theater, 5050 Church St., Skokie, on October 16 and runs through November 23. Check website for dates and showtimes. Order tickets online here. .” The cost is $50 and the proceeds benefit the Dreamcatcher Foundation.

I have long held the belief that theater is a powerful tool for social change. Stop Sex Trafficking in Chicago. Tell your friends and buy a ticket.

You Make A Difference

 

in big world you make a differnce

You Make A Difference

The Problem:

1 out of 3 Americans have low self esteem

1 out of 3 teens are bullied each year

30% of kids in America drop out of high school

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year old.

Teen suicide has risen 400% in the last 30 years.

How can we make a difference?

Mary Robinson Reynolds. M.S. is the author numerous books and the producer of the internet videos MakeADifferenceMovie.com and the Acknowledgement Movie.com which have been viewed over ten million time. Mary is a creative activist and she makes a difference. 

What is the creative activist?                                mary robinson reynolds
The creative activist opens doors, raises public awareness as a call to action for social change. They use creativity as a tool to teach, bridge gaps, to foster understanding and social justice.  They support the development of capacities, skills and talents that activate both individuals and groups. They encourage inventiveness, originality and creativity to raise self-esteem and solve community problems.

 

 

 

Mary spent her early professional years as a k-8 teacher and then as a k-12 counselor. She had tremendous and measurable academic success with kids that had been written off by the system. She developed “attitudinal” energy techniques to empower students and their parents to effectively bridge communications and leadership within the educational system.

Over the years she parlayed her phenomenal success with at risk kids into Continuing Education Courses for Portland State University on how to be energetically effective educators. She was also an active network marketing business builder in The People’s Network (TPN) – a Positive Television company. Known as “The Success Channel,” it was one of the most revolutionary concepts ever introduced to the television industry. “In 2006 I discovered online movies as a medium for inspirational storytelling that touches the heart and inspires the spirit,” she says.  “Today is the perfect time for telling everyone you know about the power of meaningful gestures.” In 2007, Mary Robinson Reynolds, Make A Difference flash movie maker, was introduced to Helice “Sparky”  Bridges by one of her own subscribers, and the two women joined their intentions to make the world a better place. Mary and Heart Productions & Publishing then created the acknowledgementmovie.com. version of this powerful and heart grabbing story, which makes me cry every time I watch it. the acknowledgment

Mary says it is critical to the world, our communities and families that we acknowledge three people everyday. She has put forth a challenge that for 30 days you touch someone; it can be a pat on the back, a verbal acknowledgement or a virtual hug.  When she was in grad school she was going through a very rough time, looking for love in all the wrong places, struggling with school and her counselor gave her this assignment. She said it was challenging and painful in the beginning  but then  it changed her life.  She says when we do this, it  transforms your own life and  your circle of influence. When we grow and celebrate each others dreams, goals and accomplishments  people will step into their greatness and their authentic self.  It ignites new conversations. It changes work cultures.

Who you are does make a difference.What you do can change the world. Personally I have created blessing or appreciation cards. I once went to a conference and we all rushed to the food court for lunch. People were hungry and testy. The poor cashier was overwhelmed.  I gave her a card that said you are magnificent. She smiled, held it up for everyone and said I am magnificent at the top of her lungs. She changed and she changed the people in the room. Everyone just relaxed and smiled. Who are you going to acknowledge today? act as if

If you go to website http://thewinningadventure.com/freeresources.php you will also find appreciation cards you can create yourself.