April 2011 Clinton Global Initiative
Sonja Davidson, International Studies
Acceptance to the CGIU is based on a commitment to action that each participant has made. There will be opportunity to share my commitment in collaboration with peer conference presenters include many of the leaders in the field.My commitment is to develop Beautiful Response, Inc. as a 501c3 that partners with local organizations and projects in developing countries. Beautiful Response tells the stories of remarkable people across the globe and raises funds to support these efforts. It is a commitment to the people and local organizations in developing countries who are meeting the needs of their communities in incredible ways but who often do not have the resources required and whose stories are not being told.
Beautiful Response will be a nonprofit that is based in the United States and connects the stories of people abroad to a growing network of people who want to make a difference. The partnership that Beautiful Response will first focus on is with an orphanage in Uganda. The orphanage has very little financial support but is a refuge for street children and those who have been abused. Through Beautiful Response the children are being matched with sponsors who have heard their stories and want to be part of seeing the children educated and empowered.
The Commitment to Action provides an opportunity to the networks surrounding me to respond to the amazing these going on around the world. The idea is not to create projects or orphanages abroad but to partner with people who already have a vision and who understand their community far better than any foreigner could. The key is to share people's stories, as people begin to hear responding becomes unavoidable.Being able to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference would allow me to share what I have been able to share in with the children in Uganda. However, just as important will be the ability to learn about what other students have taken part in and to hear from leaders and experts who see global action from a macro perspective. I expect the information learned at the conference will give me a greater ability to make an impact in our global community. I also hope to lead and encourage other students at Baylor to be empowered to take action.
November 2010: Student presents Human Trafficking research at Yale University
Grant recipient: Saralyn Salisbury
"In November 2010, I had the opportunity to present research at the Collective Shout Conference held by Love146. This anti-trafficking conference hosted many dedicated abolitionists who had given their time and money to attend the conference in order to learn more about the fight against human trafficking. Several impactful speakers present included Ron Soodalter, the co-author of "The Slave Next Door," Lisa Thompson, the liaison for anti-trafficking efforts in the Salvation Army, Krishna Patel, an Assistant US Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Brenda Myers-Powell, a survivor of prostitution and the founder of the Dream Catcher Foundation.
I felt honored to present my research among these distinguished and passionate people. My research specifically focused on the need for training among medical personnel to help identify trafficking victims. Presenting research that I had been working on for more than a year made me feel as though I was making a significant impact in the abolitionist movement. As a student, I often feel as though I must wait until I have a degree to influence change in the anti-trafficking movement. However, attending this conference and presenting my research affirmed my passion for this movement, and allowed me to feel like a part of the fight for justice. I was able to network with some of the most influential abolitionists of today, including Ron Soodalter.
Through the contacts I made at the Collective Shout Conference, I have been able to bring the abolitionist movement to Baylor in a unique way. Ron Soodalter has agreed to come and speak at Baylor's third annual Justice Week this March, to educate and inspire Baylor students about the anti- trafficking movement. This experience has allowed me to gain confidence in my capabilities as one who can influence the anti-trafficking field. I now feel more empowered than ever, and look forward to continuing my research during law school so that I can provide other abolitionists with as many tools as possible to end modern-day slavery." - Saralyn Salisbury