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Greetings! This is Sheryl from Sarver Corp.

Welcome back to my Underground Angel- Good Trouble Series. Step #3 is Respect the rights of everyone – including authorities.

Aretha Franklin became famous for her song titled: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Her cry to find respect from the one she loved touched a chord – musical and emotional in our country. We live in a world where everyone is crying out for their rights in the workplace, in the home, and in the marketplace of thoughts and values in our society. The women’s rights movement has made its way by pushing and shoving their demand for respect to the top of our political world. Equal pay, equal employment opportunities, equity in the home, and first and foremost- a choice in reproductive rights are top priorities for many women in politics and entertainment. Unfortunately, the demand for respect is most often met with rejection when there is no trust or understanding. Respect is earned; and unfortunately making demands leads to animosity and anger. Join me as we continue on in our series on Good Trouble to step three Respect. In our previous videos I introduced you to Laura Haviland, an unsung heroine of the 19th Century Underground Railroad, Union Army staff member, and post, Civil-War nurse and humanitarian.

The demand for respect was also the cry of the slave holder who expected their wishes to be obeyed at their beckon call. The idea that one human being should have possession of and control over another takes us back several centuries – or does it? Mrs. Haviland, shunned the idea that a person should be the property of another human being back in the 19th century. She spent half of a century serving those who were caught in the horrible institution of slavery. She used her gifts, talents, and yes her sly and dramatic effects in order to walk women, children, and whole families to freedom. 19th Century slavery was legal in many states. Slave holders held the upper hand, and Laura answered a higher calling believing all persons were valuable to God and should not be mistreated or abused at the whim or the demand of another.

Maria was a beautiful young woman who was a slave girl for a rich New Orleans plantation owner. Her job was the care of her owner’s children day and night. So when the summer vacation rolled around and the plan was to go to Cincinnati, Maria saw this as an opportunity to make a break for freedom. Cincinnati was the bastion for free slaves. Maria and her husband had saved all their silver pieces and accumulated $100 which she hid in her trunk. The Chandlers, her owners, had been warned that Cincinnati was a hot bed for abolitionists and free Negroes, so they decided to stay across the river in Covington, KY. Even worse, Maria discovered her mistress had stolen her long saved $100 from her trunk. Still she tried to find a way to escape, begging her mistress for fifty cents to buy herself a new pair of shoes. Mrs. Champlin would not give her the money but said she would pick a pair of shoes up for her. When no shoes arrived, she ventured again to ask for fifty cents to purchase shoes, and then she was told her shoes were good enough. Maria’s only free outlet for expression was when she was taking the children down to the river to play. One day as she watched the children a white man stopped and asked her if she wanted to cross the river. After hearing her sad plight, he promised to take her across late that night without a penny’s pay if she promised not to reveal his identity. With fear and trembling she met him early, early that next morning, around 3 am and made it across safely. When the Cincinnati Underground heard of her arrival, Mrs. Haviland arrived on the scene with a black Quaker bonnet, a plain dress-skirt and drab shawl. She met Maria in a dark room where she dressed her in this Quaker disguise, powdered her face with flour to show a lighter skin color. She held her fore finger to her lips and told Maria to hush and limp. Laura felt Maria’s body limping and trembling by her side as they walked past a throng of slave holder men and heard one of them say, “I’m going to line my pockets tonight. Thar’s a $500 reward out for her.” With a huge sigh of relief, they made it safely to their destination. Laura moved Maria two different times in the city for her safety, while the Champlin’s reward went up to $1,000. When Maria was not found, he doubled it once again to $2,000. In all the excitement, Laura published a short note in the Cincinnati Commercial stating that Maria’s mistress had stolen $100 from her prior to her arrival in Covington. This brought Mr. Champlin into the Commercial’s office with pistols in hand saying “I will have $3,000 or the life of the one who vilified my dear wife. He gave the editor until mid-morning to reveal his source. The young editor came to see Laura who immediately told him to give Mr. Champlin her name. This frightened her friends, but she was not afraid of being imprisoned, or at least not for long. However, the young editor decided to just say that it was the colored family where Maria had first been delivered. This infuriated Mr. Champlin so much that after cursing and staging a temper tantrum, he marched out of the Courier office. Maria had to stay in hiding for two weeks, before she could move. Meanwhile Laura sent a letter to Mr. Champlin she had written on Maria’s behalf stating how pleasant life in Canada is and how many wonderful friends she had made since her departure. She ended it by saying, “Please give the mistress and your children my love Maria.” Laura had mailed it to a friend in Canada who then remailed it to the Champlins. Of course, the truth was she was still in Cincinnati, but Champlin called off his slave hunters- and they were able to once again decoy Maria and guide her into Canada’s shore of safety and freedom.

Slavery has nothing to do with respect. The whole concept of possessing or owning another human being for one’s own welfare is oppressive and abusive. In the United States of America, we have a horrific history of slavery. Fortunately, our country has moved beyond the institution of slavery- though unfortunately it required the death of 620,000 soldiers during the Civil War from 1861-1865. That number is just shy of the 644,000 soldiers who lost their lives in all our other conflicts combined.

In spite of the horrors of the Civil War, slavery continues to lurk within the shadows even in one of our most popular social events of the year- the Superbowl and in many other large sporting events as well. Slave trafficking comes over our borders regularly through illegal immigrants. Fortunately, our law enforcement along with non-profit organizations fight trafficking through interventions and arrests. Human Trafficking has turned into a $32 billion dollar industry and between 100 – 300 thousand women are caught up in it. There are those modern- day abolitionists such as Mrs. Haviland who provide shelter and cover for those needing protections. One of these is Stripped Love.

Stripped Love began in 2010 when a group of close friends led by Rev. Dr. Kimberly Majeski joined together, called by God to love women in sex trade. Originally Butterflies of e Outreach, the group existed for three years as a ministry of Madison Park Church, Anderson, Indiana. Initially the work consisted of building intentional relationships with women who worked in a local club, visiting them consistently on Wednesday nights after Bible Study. Meals were shared along with homemade cookies, and kindness. Through partnerships with area churches and ministry groups they were able to visit these friends on a bi-weekly basis, to bring gifts, share a smile, and offer consistent support. For women who choose to leave the trade, they are provided for in this transition and connected to services of support. Stripped love continues to serve under the mantle of love. Because many have joined to volunteer, they have increased the number of clubs involved. And their vision has grown, as they work to launch similar ministries. Stripped Love now exists as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization helping women find their way home.

Today, there are other organizations that identify themselves as modern day abolitionists. However, if these groups do not speak out of love and respect, they do not live up to the true understanding of abolition. Abolitionists in the 19th century spoke the awful truth about slavery. Unfortunately, some so called abolitionists today make it their aim to reverse the roles of slavery rather than serving out of love those who need them.

I would love your feedback below about respect and the need for it in our country today. What can we do to foster respect between two opposing political and philosophical systems who struggle to find common ground?

What do you believe is the reason respect is a lost value between people and groups who are on the opposite side of cancel culture? Critical Race Theory?

How can we bring RESPECT back into our public dialogue? Please feel free to respond to me on Facebook! This is a discussion we should have as a society.

If you are a friend or relative of someone on the opposite side of an issue or issues that you passionately believe in, how do you relate to that person? Do you avoid the topic? Do you boldly bring up the topic and share what you believe?

How do you show respect to someone who does not agree with you at all? When passions get high and discussion turns into intense debates- how do we show respect?

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