Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Category: Human Trafficking

A matter of life and death

Downtown Savannah, Georgia, 1955
Note the historical marker on the far right of the photo

I’ve been thinking about the life and death of John Lewis. My generation paralleled his generation. Yet my life in the Deep South during the 1950s and 60s was light years from his life. It didn’t matter that I saw and heard about the Deep South every day. What mattered was the bubble in which I was raised.

In a nutshell: I didn’t have a clue how much I didn’t know, even though it was in plain view.

Back then, our family had room for many colored people. As a child, I assumed they were our friends. Still, our family was almost always in the mode of ‘helping’ them. Or joining them at special events at which my father sometimes preached. We daughters sat with our mother in reserved seats on the front row, always decked out in our Sunday best.

We also led regular, less formal Bible clubs for children in our rural setting and in Yamacraw Village. The Village was built on what had been a Yamacraw Indian settlement. Now it served colored people on the west side of Savannah.

The Bible clubs were also our family’s way of ‘helping.’ Plenty of fun, lots of singing (I often played the piano), a Bible lesson from my father, Bible verses to memorize, and snacks at the end. I always knew we ‘poor’ white people were more fortunate than they, and assumed they needed us.

Looking back, my family offered me only one role during my growing-up years in Savannah: a friendly helper. I didn’t have the means or courage to change what often felt unfair and even embarrassing.

Alongside family activities, I attended school. Beginning in grade school, we studied the glorified white history of Georgia. Especially the “Civil” War/War between the States. This continued through high school. Sometimes, especially in grade school, we celebrated heroes. A few were colored; most were white. Christopher Columbus was the greatest national hero. The slave trade remained shrouded in mystery, though Savannah was one of the largest East Coast importers of slaves, and exporters of cotton.

Praying you’re as well as you can be right now, and surrounded by activities that bring you joy, comfort, hope, and a challenge or two.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 20 July 2020
Photo of Downtown Savannah, Georgia (1955) found at reddit.com

For my own good?

Invisible fumes
Flavor my world
With chemical smog
Poisonous leftovers
Yesterday’s garbage
Thrown my way
By friendly fire

Gagging
I reach for tissues
Disintegrating
Into air thick
With hypocrisy
Greed and lust

This
Is for your own good
Swallow it
Or die

Walking to the edge
Of the set
I lean over the edge
And vomit what
I will not swallow

The poem resonates with my childhood and youth. And with increasingly horrific reports of widespread clergy sexual abuse. Part of a complex history hidden in full view. Aided and abetted by Predators United in Silence.

When I was 4-7 (1940s) we lived in the Los Angeles area. Smog alerts were common. Warm air got caught below the mountains, contaminated with industrial soot plus heavy moisture from the ocean. It hung over the LA basin like sick grayish fog. And it stank. Each day we blew and cleaned the toxic dark gunk out of our sore nostrils as often as possible.

Later, in the 1950s, we lived about 15 miles southeast of Savannah, Georgia. We always knew when humid, heavy air was blowing from the northwest, just outside Savannah. It didn’t matter that we’d shut all windows. Putrid, rotten-egg air from the Union Bag Company found every crack and invaded our lungs. Along with chemical fumes that were then considered ‘harmless.’

The other image comes from a documentary I watched several years ago when I was learning about human trafficking. The film shows ways women are trapped and then lured into ‘starring’ in porn films. This will make you famous, and you’ll earn a lot of money!

The documentary included outtakes from an actual porn filming. During a break in the porn filming, one of the women (‘stars’) walks to the edge of the set, leans through the curtains, and vomits violently. She’s promptly ordered to return, put a smile on her face, and get on with the show. No matter what is done to her in the name of ‘entertainment.’

Sometimes I read the news and feel like gagging. How did we get to this point? What is all this toxicity costing us? We have midterm elections coming up. I want politicians who get it and are committed to supporting US (the US in USA), not Themselves, Inc., or some other Big Boss.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 4 September 2018
Photo of Union Bag Company in Savannah, GA, found at georgiaencyclopedia.org

Contempt wears many faces | A Dream, Part 5 of 5

Dawn's Place circle of friends making paper flowers february 2014

~~Unchained Women! Unrecognized, under-rated power to change the subject

I’m on a public street. I’ve just witnessed brutality against two young women, not in real time but in my dream. Now, out of my dream, what to do next? I pull out my cell phone and call 911. Will anyone respond? This isn’t an upscale area.

I kneel beside the sobbing woman Read the rest of this entry »

Contempt wears many faces | A Dream, Part 4

Nora Ephron quote

I love dreams because I get to rewrite the ending of those that trouble me. This dream troubles me.

Most difficult is seeing myself in Read the rest of this entry »

Contempt wears many faces | A Dream, Part 2

Contempt, best teacher

My dream is calling out to me. If I take the dream as reality, it’s already too late! There I am with those young girls and women in a relatively safe place. What do I do? Nothing, really. Read the rest of this entry »

Scrub and Sing

just whistle while you work large

Here’s a happy follow-up to yesterday’s post. I’m guessing Amy Carmichael and I are not of similar temperaments when it comes to heavy daily burdens. Maybe you can identify with this poem better than I can! Read the rest of this entry »

green-gold waves of tea

Kenya Tea Hills

green-gold waves of tea

dwarf laborers in distance–

rain clouds brew overhead

* * *

Kenya tea farm images

In fall 1999 my husband and I enjoyed a day near Embu with friends.  After lunch they took us to see nearby tea farms.  The fields were beautiful.  The work was not. Read the rest of this entry »

Great Resources on Human Trafficking

Want to know more?

Three Videos – the quickest way to get the big picture.  Of all that are out there, here are three first-class possibilities.  I’ve used all three in formal and informal settings (seminary, church, small groups). Read the rest of this entry »

About You and Human Trafficking | Truth #3 of 3

Truth #3 – Ultimately, the battle against human trafficking is God’s battle, not ours.
This may sound easy, yet it’s precisely where I find myself struggling to stay on track.  Here are three things I sometimes forget.

First, I can’t expect God to launch a one-way God campaign against human trafficking.
True, it’s God’s battle, not ours.  But think about God, Moses and the Hebrew slaves.  Deliverance from slavery didn’t happen until Moses and the Hebrew slaves did their part.  The table was set, but the Hebrew slaves and Moses had to get moving. Read the rest of this entry »

About You and Human Trafficking | Truth #2

Truth #1 – When you or I touch the life of just one person who has been trafficked or who is at risk of being trafficked, that’s more than enough!

Truth #2 – We need trafficking victims as much as they need us to remind us of our deep need for healing of all kinds.

This includes sexual healing Read the rest of this entry »

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