Voices - News


Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - 4:57pm

Jeff Ruby hosts fundraiser for Sonny Kim's family

On Monday, August 24, Jeff Ruby will be hosting a fundraiser for Sonny Kim's family at The Precinct. The cost is $125.00 per person and 100% of the cost will be donated to the family. The food served will be all Ruby classics including USDA Prime Steaks, select sides, the famous Freddie Salad and more. You can make a reservation for this event by calling The Precinct or going to www.JeffRuby.com/Precinct.

This event is in addition to a two-month long donation campaign that is happening at Ruby's Cincinnati restaurants. On each receipt there is a special line where guests can donate to Kim's family.

Click here for more information.

Image one: The Precinct
Image Two: Sonny Kim and his family

More authored by Katie: World Day Against Trafficking In Persons,#FlameFriday:Toni Stone,  Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

Thursday, August 6, 2015 - 12:00am

50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965

Today is the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Voting Rights Act.  The landmark legislation was signed into law by President Johnson during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, just months after the historic Selma to Montgomery march. The law was designed to enforce the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments, resulting in the mass enfranchisement of minorities throughout the country and the South, where black citizens were denied the right to vote by way of intimidation, literacy tests and other unjust practices.  

The Voting Rights Act was originally set to expire five years after its passing. However, congress would recognize the continued need for legislation that protected voting rights five more times; in 1970, 1975, 1982, 1992 and 2006. During those reviews, Congress either amended or added to various provisions in each renewal of the Voting Rights Act.

In 2013, the landmark U.S Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder, the court determined that section 4 (b), which established a formula to determine areas where racial discrimination had been more prevalent, was unconstitutional. The case argued that Congress exceeded its authority by re-authorizing the Voting Rights Act while relying on voting data more than 40 years old. The nation's reaction was one of shock and many voiced that the decision weakened the law's authority. Recently, President Obama called for the restoration of the section in the law, emphasizing the importance of legislation that protects the civil liberties of its citizens.

To commemorate this important anniversary, The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (CHRC), National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) and Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency (CAA) are co-sponsoring commemorative march across the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge this Saturday, August 8 at 9 a.m. Leaders from each partnering organization spoke about the event on WVXU Cincinnati Edition

Marchers are invited to complete “I March for _____” response cards to raise awareness about what society is still marching for today. The response cards be turned into action items by local Cincinnati agencies, who will reconvene throughout the year and lead community discussions inspired by the response cards. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will host a program immediately following the march, featuring local activists and veteran activists, including Freedom Rider Betty Daniels Rosemond, addressing the topic: “Cincinnati 50 Years Ago”. Additionally, all are welcome to weigh in via Twitter by using the hashtag #IMarch4Cincy.  Learn more about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Power of the Vote, now on exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. 

Assia Johnson

Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Images: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights activists leading thousands of nonviolent marchers on a 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery.  Second Image: President Johnson with Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights leaders during the signing of the Voting Rights Act, August 6, 1965. 

Related Content: Picture FreedomPower of the Vote.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 9:34pm

Sam DuBose: Black Lives Matter

The eyes of the nation are on Cincinnati. Today the Hamilton County Grand Jury returned an indictment for murder in the tragic shooting death of Samuel DuBose during a routine traffic stop just over one week ago. During that time the DuBose family has called repeatedly for only nonviolent responses while seeking answers from the criminal justice system.  That answer is now at hand and the family’s continued calls for nonviolent response to ensure that his peaceful way of life can be remembered purely should be respectfully honored. At the same time our community must continue to have open and transparent dialogue as we look deeper into our nation’s racial disparities and seek freedom and justice for all.  The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center stands ready to be a convener and provide a safe haven for these conversations. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the DuBose family during this difficult time. We echo their call for peace and join them in their belief that the judicial process will reflect integrity and yield a just outcome. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 12:25pm

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

In 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations came together to dedicate a day to raising awareness about human trafficking and the situations of the victims involved and to promote and protect their rights. Today, July 30, is the day the General Assembly chose to make World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The meeting also resulted in the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, which gives grants to non-governmental organizations that provide direct assistance to victims from human trafficking.  

Human Trafficking is an unfortunate on-going issue that is happening all over the world.  It is estimated that 2.5 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery. Men, women and children are being treated as slaves within their own country and abroad. Traffickers use violence, deception, threats, and other manipulative tactics to trap victims into horrific situations against their will. The brutality and injustice these victims face shatter their lives and dreams.

There are five different types of human trafficking that this day raises awareness for:

1. Forced Labor- when human beings are forced to work for no pay or under the threat of violence.
2. Bonded Labor/Debt Labor- slavery in which an individual is compelled to work in order to repay a debt and cannot leave until the debt has been paid off.
3. Sex Slavery- when women, men or children are exploited in the commercial sex industry, which may include: prostitution, pornography, erotic entertainment, strip clubs, online escort services, hostess clubs, residential brothels or fake massage parlors.
4. Child Slavery- when children under the age of 18 are forced into child labor, which could be debt bondage, armies, prostitution, domestic work or other forms of hazardous work.
5. Domestic Servitude- when slaves are forced to work in extremely hidden workplaces and have no option of leaving.

Human trafficking tends to be an issue most people do not know about or completely understand. You can help be a part of the fight against human trafficking by learning how you can raise awareness in your community and globally. You can also learn more about human trafficking at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center by visiting the exhibit Invisible: Slavery Today.

Image Credit: UN website

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Katie: Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign


Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 3:26pm

Freedom Center’s Hathaway debunks myths about human trafficking

Brooke Hathaway, manager of anti-trafficking programs for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, recently wrote a post published on the International Human Trafficking Institute’s website addressing myths about modern-day human trafficking.

Hathaway is also the executive director of End Slavery Now, which advocates for awareness of human trafficking and seeks to inspire everyone to take the courageous steps against slavery today.

In the post, she calls out sensationalist social media posts for perpetuating the myths that trafficking is a crime of kidnapping, that trafficking is an impulsive crime, and that middle-class women and girls are the most vulnerable.

On the contrary, Hathaway explains, human trafficking is much more commonly based on trusting relationships between the trafficker and victim, which develop purposefully over time, and it disproportionately affects minorities and disadvantaged groups.

“While interest in human trafficking demonstrates growing awareness about the issue, it does not translate to any increased understanding of the human pain and tragedy,” she cautions, encouraging readers to gain deeper knowledge about the realities of trafficking. “Consequently, it does not result in any change in individuals’ behaviors or attitudes.”

Click here to read Hathaway’s piece and to watch an interview with her about these myths.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Photo: Freedom Center Manager of Anti-Trafficking Programs Brooke Hathaway. Provided.

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868,Former Auschwitz guard sentencedHonor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 12:26pm

OH Human Trafficking Task Force makes recommendations

Ohio plans to further improve services for victims of trafficking, the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force announced in a report on Monday, July 20.

At the top of the priority list: faster access for victims to recovery services like shelters or drug treatments.

The report also outlines plans to increase public awareness and police access to information about tracking human trafficking, as well as a legal path for victims to have their records expunged of charges that came about as a result of being forced into the sex trade.

“Ohio’s progress in combating trafficking is both exciting and sobering,” wrote Ohio’s Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Elizabeth Ranade Janis in the introduction to the report. “More victims have access to justice and more offenders are being punished... However these efforts confirm what advocates already know—more victims will come out of the shadows of exploitation, more intensive law enforcement investigations will be necessary to lock up traffickers, and more trauma-informed care will need to be made available for survivors.”

The recommendations will be implemented by state-level and county-level departments and officials, like the Department of Medicaid, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Department of Job and Family Services.

Three years ago, the task force made 26 other recommendations, almost all of which have been put into place by now. For example, in 2012 the state penalty for human trafficking was upgraded to a first-degree felony, which can come with up to 15 years in prison.

The report estimates roughly one thousand children – mostly young girls between 13 and 18 years of age – are forced into sex trafficking in Ohio each year. Other victims might be forced into sweatshop-like jobs.

Join the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center this Thursday at 3 p.m. for a gallery talk on modern-day human trafficking with representatives from End Slavery Now.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868, Former Auschwitz guard sentenced, Honor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 10:50am

Former Auschwitz guard sentenced

This Wednesday, July 15, former Auschwitz guard Oskar Gröning was sentenced to four years in prison for being an accessory to the deaths of 300,000 people in “what could be one of the last big Holocaust trials.” The 94-year-old German has been on trial in the northern German city of Lüneburg since April.

The death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Nazi-occupied Poland claimed the lives of 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, during its operation from 1942 to 1945. Gröning’s trial focused mostly on the period from May to July 1944, during which 137 trains brought 425,000 people to Auschwitz and at least 300,000 were killed in the gas chambers.

During the trial proceedings, Gröning testified that he sorted through the belongings of arriving Jews after they went through the selection process that ended with many being sent to their deaths in the gas chambers. His task was to find valuables, particularly banknotes, to help fund the Nazi regime.

The trial speaks to a question that courts have grappled with since the end of the Second World War: how much guilt the legal system can place on people who acted as small cogs within massive human rights violations like the Holocaust. In 2011, German courts set a precedent that death camp guards can be charged as an accessory to murders committed there, even if that guard is not linked to any specific death. Gröning said he accepts moral guilt but said early on in the trial that he would leave it up to the court to decide his legal guilt.

Earlier this year, the Freedom Center hosted Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later, which featured the stories of two survivors of the death camp: Werner Coppel and Bella Ouziel. Auschwitz’s history of systemic and organized genocide provides a start warning and call to action for those today to stand up against injustice, inhumanity and genocide.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content:  Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player, 14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868


Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 9:24am

Planning Your Visit Friday, July 10

This Friday, July 10, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will be closing early due to a private event. The museum will open at 11am, but will close early at 3 pm.  All exhibits will remain open to the public and the daily experience activities will continue as scheduled:

11:00am-2:30pm: Family/Youth programs- Create your own baseball cap.
11:00am-4:00pm: Discovery Your Family Roots: Genealogy
11:30am: Stories by the Mound- Baseball Saved Us
11:00am-12:00pm: Highlights Tour
1:00pm: Historical Re-enactor
1:30pm: Stories by the Mound- I am Jackie Robinson
2:30pm: Historical Re-enactor

For more details about each event please see the calendar.  

Katie Johnstone
Marketing and Communications Intern

More authored by Katie: Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre, #FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign




Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 12:00am

NHL selects first Chinese player

Andong “Misha” Song, 18, made history last week as the first Chinese player in the National Hockey League after being selected by the New York Islanders with the No. 172 pick on Saturday, June 27. One sports official suggested Song might become “the Yao Ming of Chinese ice hockey.”

The Beijing native has been playing since he was 6 years old, when his mother suggested he try it. He fell in love with it, and his talent was spotted at a young age. His family moved to Canada to help him pursue his dream, as there were few resources for hockey players in China at the time, where some coaches were skeptical at first about a Chinese player.

Since then, Song has starred in games locally and internationally. He currently plays as a defenseman for the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, and next season he will play for the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. For the past two years, he has played for China at the IIHF Division II-B World Under-18 Championship, this year as the team captain.

Ice hockey is a young but already popular sport in China, where 1,500 players play on nearly 100 youth teams in Beijing alone. Parents of these young players have expressed hope that Song’s achievements will boost the popularity of hockey further and that he will be an inspiration for future players. Sports officials hope that the NHL draft will help with China’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"Hopefully what I want to do is rally people behind me,” Song said in an interview with the NHL. “Not focus on myself but do something good for Chinese hockey."

Elizabeth Cychosz
Marketing and Communications Intern

Photo: Song poses after being drafted by the New York Islanders. Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Related Content: Diversity in Baseball

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical marker

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - 1:20pm

Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre

Misty Copland, 32, has become the first African-American female to be promoted to the highest rank at the American Ballet Theatre. She is a 19-year veteran of the company, being promoted from a soloist to a principal dancer. The company has been around for 75 years, making this a huge accomplishment for Copeland. 

Copeland was born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in San Pedro, California. She began ballet at the age of 13 and studied at the Lauridsen Ballet Centre, San Francisco Ballet School and American Balley Theatre’s Summer Intensive. Copeland joined the American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001 and was appointed a soloist in August 2007.

In the past year, Copeland has danced a variety of leading roles. Her performances have become events, drawing in large and diverse crowds. She has performed at many prestigious venues including, the Metropolitan Opera House, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. Recently she starred in “Swan Lake,” becoming the first African-American to do so with the Ballet Theater at the Metropolitan Opera House.  

Copeland has also drawn attention outside the world of ballet, appearing in and being the face of national campaigns, including a commercial for Diet Dr. Pepper and Prince’s 2010 tour. In 2014 she became the first ballet dancer to appear in an Under Armour ad, which had more than four million views on YouTube in a week. Last year, Copland was named of one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people and was featured on one of the covers for the issue.

Though her promotion and recent fame has been celebrated by many, it has also raised questions about why African-American dancers, mainly women, remain so underrepresented at top ballet companies in today’s society. Several dance companies and schools, including the Ballet Theater, have begun new efforts to increase diversity in classic ballet, however doing so will take years.

Copeland strength, talent and determination has opened doors for many women of color to follow in her footsteps. In additional to her many accomplishments, she has become involved in the American Ballet Theatre’s Project Plié, an initiative to draw more diverse dancers into elite ballet.

Katie Johnstone
Marketing and Communications Intern

More authored by Katie: Planning your visit Friday, July 10#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, andFreedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign.

Image: Misty Copeland performing in "Swan Lake" at the Metropolitan Opera House. Photo credit: eurweb.com.