MLK Day celebration to focus on human trafficking

If you go …

The event is to take place at 7:15 p.m. Jan. 15 at Faith United Methodist Church, 75 N. Sandusky St. Prior to the event, dinner is to be served at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $5 for children. Call (419) 448-3264 to make reservations.

“Still We Rise, Still We March” will be the focus of this year’s Tiffin-Seneca Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.

The keynote speaker for the event is a University of Toledo professor of social work, Celia Williamson. She also is the director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.

“The Tiffin-Seneca MLK Committee was looking to address issues in society that also relate to the principles of MLK,” Gene Chintala, a member of the committee, said.

Chintala said the committee looked at King’s third principle of nonviolence — nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people — for this year’s event.

Williamson founded Second Chance, Ohio’s first anti-trafficking organization that provides support services to domestic sex trafficking and prostitution victims. She also organizes an annual scholarly conference, The International Human Trafficking, Prostitution and Sex Work Conference.

Williamson has organized the conference at the University of Toledo since 2004. She also chairs the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, which includes local criminal justice, social service and health care agencies, along with businesses, university members, churches, citizens and adult survivors, and the FBI Innocence Lost Task Force.

“We also chose her because she does local research on the problem of sex trafficking and has made a difference,” Chintala said. “We hope that people realize they can make a difference in the community, no matter how small or large of a contribution is made.”

“Dr. Williamson’s work and the Sisters in Shelter have made a difference in addressing the problem of sex trafficking and using the principles of Martin Luther King,” he said.

Also, the committee is to present the 2018 Peacemaker Award to Sisters in Shelter.

Those who wish to attend the event are asked to bring paper products to donate for the shelter, such as napkins, paper towels, feminine products, office paper and postage stamps. Cash donations also are acceptable.

“The Sisters in Shelter organization was chosen because their work is related to Dr. Williamson’s research and both the Sisters and Dr. Williamson have worked together,” Chintala said. “We wanted to recognize the work of a local organization making a difference in the community.”

Area school children again are to present essays reflecting King’s march for justice: “What will you do to promote justice?”

The Tiffin University Gospel Choir also is to present musical selections.