GEMS’ Spring 2013 Newsletter
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March was a very busy month for us, with trainings and dedicated advocacy work. Our girls were up in Albany advocating for the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Safe Harbor funds to be properly allocated this year. They’re continuing a decade long tradition of GEMS members advocating in our state capitol, and it was their collective voice that pushed the nation’s first Safe Harbour Act for Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth law to pass!
In GEMS’ offices, we all watched in anticipation as President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in March and acknowledged our staff member, Tye, who was on stage at the signing. It was such a great moment to watch her and see the work she’s done be publicly recognized! She’s an amazing young woman and I’m really grateful to have her on our team!
Last month we held our Victim, Survivor, Leader (VSL) training in New York City. I had a great time facilitating alongside Sheila, our Survivor Leadership Coordinator. I’ve known Sheila since she first came to GEMS as a member at 16 years old. Today, she’s my peer and colleague, and she brings a level of creativity and insight to her work that always teaches me something!
We’re really looking forward to our next New York City CSEC 101 training in June and would love to see you there!
The surprise party the GEMS staff held for me was such a fun day! Once again, they reminded me that I work with some amazing women. Also, I am incredibly thankful to everyone who supported my birthday fundraiser!
Thank you for all you do to make our work possible!
Founder & Executive Director
Save the Date
Join us for our inaugural Male Allies Awards Breakfast
on June 6, 2013! As part of our 15th anniversary year, we’ll be acknowledging men who are making significant strides in the fight to end commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.
We’re thrilled to be honoring Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking In Persons, U.S. Department of State; Michael Grohman, partner, Duane Morris law firm; and Detective James Wong, New York Police Department with the Detective Adam Frasse Public Service Award. Journalist Soledad O’Brien joins us to host the event!
Space is limited, so click here to buy your tickets today!
GEMS’ Legislative Highlight
“Today is about young women like Tye. [She] was rescued by an organization led by trafficking survivors. Today she’s enrolled in college, she’s working full time to help at-risk girls stay out of the sex trade…I couldn’t be prouder.” — President Obama
We are incredibly excited about the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)! GEMS staff member, Tye, was on stage as President Obama signed the bill!The president also signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act (TVPRA) as an amendment to the re-authorization of VAWA. Both laws will now work together to combat human trafficking and gender-based violence.VAWA will not only significantly help protect women, but also includes important provisions such as recognizing the authority of Native American tribes to prosecute domestic violence crimes against “Indian and non-Indian perpetrators”; and protecting LGBTQ victims from discrimination, and giving service providers new tools to make their services more accessible to all victims.It was a landmark moment for GEMS and the movement to end gender-based violence! Click here
to watch the whole speech.
Educational Initiative Award Ceremony
We’re happy to announce that 20 new members joined GEMS’ Educational Initiative program!
At our February 2013 Educational Award Ceremony, we honored 19 members for successfully completing the fall semester with all passing grades, 3 members who enrolled in college, 1 member who attained her GED, 10 members for enrolling and/or continuing participation in a GED program, 5 for successfully completing a high school semester, and 1 member who completed security training.
Jackie was mandated to GEMS through the criminal court system at the age of 16. Today, she is a full-time college student and actively participates in GEMS’ Educational Initiative program while working towards her Associate of Art degree.
Most recently, Jackie moved in to her own apartment with her daughter, whom she now has full custody of. She has been working extremely hard and committing long hours to her daughter’s growth and advancing her work, education, and recovery.
The most inspiring part for Jackie? Her four-year-old daughter has said that she’s going to college, just like her Mom.
Moments like this are a huge part of what GEMS works towards – creating a world where girls grow up with a sense of possibility surrounded by a community of strong women. Through educated and empowered young women, we are helping to break cycles of poverty, creating more just communities for future generations!
Tags: Educational Initiative, Facebook, GEMS Newsletter, GEMS shop, Girls Are Not For Sale, Girls Like Us, Leader, Male Allies Award Breakfast, New York Times, Safe Harbor for Exploited Children Act, Survivor, Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, Twitter, Victim, Violence Against Women Act, Youth Advocacy
Thursday, April 25th, 2013, 2:54 pm
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