October 7, 2019
Dominican Sister Judy Lu McDonnell, OP, left, and Lyn Kirkconnell, right, co-creators of the congregation’s peace, justice and care for creation efforts, were among the local Catholic sisters who received a public service award in August for combating human trafficking. Catholic sisters from 10 local congregations of women religious were honored this summer by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley for their collective effort combating human trafficking in the Bay Area since 2016. (Courtesy photo)
The “Stop Slavery Coalition: Northern California Catholic Sisters against Human Trafficking,” which includes one to two representatives from each congregation and their associates, received the “Nancy’s Hero Award” for their collective effort distributing anti-human trafficking posters to almost 1,000 Bay Area businesses which must display them in accordance with California law.
O’Malley created the award to recognize individuals whose efforts have resulted in a better Bay Area community and held an Aug. 16 barbeque in their honor in Pleasanton.
“I am so grateful for the commitment you and your fellow sisters have shown to educate the community about human trafficking. Your work makes a huge difference,” she said.
Congregations involved in the Coalition include the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose; the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael; Marist Missionary Sisters; Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary; Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur; Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity; and Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange.
The posters were designed by the California Department of Justice after two pieces of legislation were passed in 2013, and amended in 2017, requiring certain types of businesses including hotels and motels, massage parlors, truck stops, hospital emergency rooms, adult bookstores, bus stations, airports and labor contractors to display human trafficking awareness posters on their premises.
The posters can be a visible deterrent to human trafficking, help management and employees recognize and report the crime that occurs in their establishments, and provides victims with an anonymous, 24-hour help hotline accessible in 160 languages.
Lyn Kirkconnell, a lay member of the Stop Slavery Coalition and one of the co-creators of peace, justice and care for creation efforts for the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, said coalition members educated and trained volunteers to visit almost 1,000 businesses in San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Joaquin counties over the course of the last three years.
“As of July 15, 2019, we have visited 972 businesses with the aid of 392 volunteers,” she said.
Kirkconnell said the sisters helped to train local hotel staff in advance of the America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013 and Super Bowl 50 in 2016.
“The legal requirement to display the anti-trafficking poster has enhanced this work,” she said.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, according to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, the organization whose (888) 373-7888 number is the prominent feature of the posters the sisters are helping to distribute.
The hotline’s 2018 statistics report showed 10,949 cases reported, a 25 percent increase over 2017; the number of cases since 2015 has doubled.
Sex trafficking and labor trafficking are the most frequent kinds of human trafficking.
The hotline in its many forms (phone, text, email, web chat, web form) connects victims with resources and support including emergency shelters, transportation, trauma counselors and local law enforcement.
Back row from left: Father Bart Landry, CSP; Father Dan Carter, CSP; All Hallows parishioner Gail Newkirk; Our Lady of Lourdes parishioner Barbara McKinney; All Hallows parishioners Sheila O’Rourke and Patricia Blunt; Our Lady of Lourdes associate pastor Andrew Ibegbulem. Front row from left: St. Finn Barr parishioner Alice Guidry; birthday girl Queen Gipson, and daughter and St. Paul of the Shipwreck parishioner Linda Gipson-Gordon. (Courtesy photo)
HAIL TO THE QUEEN: Queen Gipson was treated like royalty during a 95th birthday celebration Sept. 13 that included pastors and parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes, All Hallows Chapel and St. Paul of the Shipwreck. Born Sept. 18, 1924, in San Francisco, Queen has been a 70-year parishioner of the three Catholic parishes in Bayview/Hunters Point that are linked by one pastor, Father Dan Carter.
LINE-UP FOR LIFE: The first weekend of the fall campaign for the San Francisco chapter of 40 Days for Life got off to a great start at the Planned Parenthood on Valencia Street Sept. 28, says campaign coordinator Clarisse Siu. The first-ever fall campaign runs from Sept. 25 to Nov. 4, with volunteers in prayerful vigil outside the Mission District location on Valencia and a new planned location on Bush Street. Visit 40daysforlife.com/san-francisco.
During Tom Burke’s absence, email items and high-resolution images to CSF staff at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or mail to Street, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco 94109. Include a follow-up phone number. If requesting a calendar listing, put “Calendar” in the subject line.
This story originally appeared on https://catholic-sf.org