Season 2, along with our morning-after analysis, wraps up.
MIchelle Collins offers up her own "good-towel" phenomenon theory in this week's blog.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter has added an Emmy Award to her accolades. Carpenter picked up an Emmy at the Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards ceremony on Saturday, January 26 for her narration on the Nashville Public Television (NPT) documentary, No Going Back: Women and the War, part of the station’s “Tennessee Civil War 150” series. Joining Carpenter in winning statuettes were the program’s co-producers and writers, Greta Requierme and Ed Jones, and executive producer and NPT president and CEO Beth Curley.
No Going Back: Women and the War, which premiered on NPT in February 2012, explores how the lives of women, and their roles in society, changed during and after the Civil War. The episode was the third in the series, which also included its predecessors Secession and Music of the Civil War, and subsequent documentaries, Crisis of Faith, also a regional Emmy winner, and Shiloh: The Devil’s Own Day. The series coincides with the Sesquicentennial anniversary of the Civil War. Its next installment, Looking Over Jordan, premieres on February 28, 2013. For more information, please visit wnpt.org/civilwar.
“We knew Mary Chapin was a terrific storyteller from her songwriting, but we were blown away with the warmth of her delivery and the compassion, and sincerity she was able to convey,” said Requierme. “She delivered with upmost respect the story of these Civil War-era women who faced the hardships of daily life during wartime on their own, and forged a new way of life for all women as a result.”
Five-time Grammy Award winner and two-time Country Music Association (CMA) Female Vocalist Of The Year, Carpenter’s Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum albums have yielded a bounty of self-penned hits including “Never Had it So Good,” “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her,” “Down at the Twist and Shout,” “I Feel Lucky,” “I Take My Chances,” “Shut Up and Kiss Me” and “Tender When I Want to Be.” Her songs have also been recorded by such diverse artists as Joan Baez, Wynonna, Maura O’Connell, Mary Black, Cyndi Lauper, Dianne Reeves, Betty Buckley, Tony Rice and Trisha Yearwood. Her latest record, Ashes and Roses, came out in 2012. For more information, please visit marychapincarpenter.com.
“Tennessee Civil War 150,” a joint production between NPT and The Renaissance Center, is made possible in part by The Tennessee National Heritage Area, the Tennessee Dept. of Education and the Tennessee Sesquicentennial Commission.
We are proud to announce that two documentaries in our Tennessee Civil War 150 series picked up Emmy® Awards last night when the Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards were announced at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Crisis of Faith won in the DOCUMENTARY/CULTURAL category, earning statuettes for Justin Harvey, Paul Mojonnier and Kevin Crane, while No Going Back: Women and the War won in the HISTORICAL/CULTURAL PROGRAM category, handing Emmys to Greta Requierme, Ed Jones, Beth Curley and the show’s narrator, Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Special thanks to The Tennessee National Heritage Area, the Tennessee Dept. of Education and the Tennessee Sesquicentennial Commission, who in part make Tennessee Civil War 150 possible. And extra special thanks to our loyal viewers and supports, who without which, none of what we do would be possible. Thanks!
Coming to NPT and PBS stations nationwide on Thursday, January 31 at 9:00 p.m. CT (check local listings), Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope is the untold inspirational story of Colonel Ilan Ramon, a fighter pilot and son of Holocaust survivors who became the first and only astronaut from Israel, embarking on a mission with the most diverse shuttle crew ever to explore space. Ramon realized the significance of “being the first” and his journey of self-discovery turned into a mission to tell the world a powerful story about the resilience of the human spirit. Although the seven astronauts of the Columbia perished on February 1, 2003, a remarkable story of hope, friendship across cultures, and an enduring faith emerged.
Directed by Daniel Cohen, the documentary, which airs in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the Columbia tragedy, goes behind the scenes to explore the “mission within the mission” for Ramon, who carried into space a miniature Torah scroll that had survived the horrors of the Holocaust, given to a boy in a secret bar mitzvah observed in the pre-dawn hours in the notorious Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen. The bar mitzvah boy grew up to become Israel’s lead scientist for the mission, Joachim “Yoya” Joseph. The film follows the scroll’s path into Ramon’s hands, and the dramatic moment when he tells its story live to the world from the flight deck of Columbia. Cohen combines rare drawings from the concentration camp made in secret by a camp inmate and archival NASA footage of the astronauts as they prepared for their mission with interviews with Ramon’s widow, Rona Ramon, and other Columbia crew family members; astronaut Garrett Reisman and other members of NASA’s space program; Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean; former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and many others.
Also included is personal video shot by Dave Brown, one of the Columbia’s remarkable crew of men and women who, although from different backgrounds, became a true family, warmly embracing each other and Ramon and his mission.
Director Cohen took some time out from promoting the upcoming PBS broadcast of Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope to exchange a few emails with us about about the film, Ramon and the significance of the mission.
NPT Media Update: How did the story of Ilan Ramon come to you?
Daniel Cohen: When I was a child I use to blast off into orbit from the big chair in my living room. I have always had this deep passion for space, and space exploration, and I never lost it. So when the Columbia accident happened I was very tuned in. A couple of weeks after the accident I saw a story about the little Torah scroll that Ramon carried with him to space. I thought “wow, what an interesting new way to tell a Holocaust story to a new generation.” So I reached out to a friend at NASA, and he connected me right away to Dr. Joachim Joseph, or Yoya as his friends know him, who was an Israeli scientist on the ground at the Goddard Space Flight Center supporting Ramon during the mission. Yoya was also the Holocaust survivor who gave Ramon the scroll. When I asked Yoya if he would allow me to try to develop a documentary, he didn’t hesitate for a second. Then he said something to me that I would hear time and time again through out the production of the documentary from anyone who had any connection to the story: “anything I can do for my dear friend Ilan Ramon, you tell me what to do.” And that’s how it got started, that one phone call pointed me down a path that would take seven-years to complete, and an additional three years to bring the documentary to PBS.
When I think of the time of the Columbia disaster, I think of the context in which it occurred. Coming barely a year and a half after 9/11, and the country within two months of the start of the war in Iraq, there was a sense that perhaps the country had become desensitized to the magnificence of the Shuttle program, was perhaps distracted, and when the tragedy occurred, we were all reminded of the heroics of those astronauts and the power of human possibility. It was a wake-up call. But you decided to not go that direction, to the point of not even mentioning it, and instead focused on the context in which Ramon was flying, his history and the history of the Jewish people, the enthusiasm of Israel and beauty of the bond those astronauts forged. It’s as if you are saying that this event was so much more than its time. It was about before and after, and so much bigger. Did you think about the role that the zeitgeist played in Columbia’s story?
It is indeed a good way to think about the Columbia as “an event that was so much more than its time.” Sadly it seems tragedy often jolts us to refocus our attention. The Columbia tragedy is a searing moment in our nation’s history, and the history of the space program. Perhaps we had become too complacent with the idea of rocketing off into space. After all, if you look around you, for most people living today, the idea of space travel is not new, humans have always flown into space during their lifetime. So the “gee – wiz” factor holds a different meaning to many people. But the opposite is really the case. Space travel is a dangerous business, and the men and women who strap themselves to rockets to get to space are true explorers and risk takers. The crews of Columbia, Challenger and Apollo One remind us of this.
A reporter recently asked me, “can I feel good about watching your documentary on the 10th anniversary of this tragedy?” I believe Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope gives us hope as we remember Columbia. We are honoring the STS 107 crew by pausing on this significant anniversary to not only remember the accident, but at the same time focuses on their legacy and what they brought to all of us – a journey of the human spirit. With their diverse background the 107 crew brought so much to each other, an example of what is possible when we all work together for the greater good. Yet woven through them is this story of the Holocaust that Ramon took to space. Their story is a remarkable message of hope, as Ramon said, “what can happen when you go from the depths of hell, to the heights of space.”
Ramon carried the weight of the Jewish people on his shoulders on the mission – a weight that he himself chose to carry. He could have easily just been an Israeli astronaut, represent his country, and leave it at that. But he instead chose to recognize and honor his significance, and he did it with remarkable humility and grace. What did you learn about Ramon that maybe most surprised you?
I never had the chance to meet Ramon, but through his friends and colleagues I feel like I have gotten to know a little bit about him. My impression of Ramon is that he was a very meticulous and thoughtful man. As Yoya describes him, “when he came into the room everyone wanted to be his friend.” If you look at Ramon’s career in the Air Force, it seems he was someone who had the ability to rise to the moment when being shouldered with huge responsibility. For example, as a young fighter pilot, he was charged with being part of the planning team for the mission to bomb the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981. Because he had shown his ability to handle big assignments, when he was later chosen to be Israel’s first Astronaut, he didn’t take it lightly. Over the years that he trained, he clearly came to understand his role, or his “mission within the mission” to represent his country and his heritage. For him, this was embodied in the Holocaust because he was the son of a Holocaust survivor. He started searching for a way to carry that message to space. He understood the significance and the importance behind the personal items that Astronauts carry with them to space, so he decided he would use some of these items as his way of showing the world who he was. It took him a while to find the right items to take. Even at the moment that you will see in the documentary when he discovers Yoya’s Holocaust scroll, he says to Yoya, “I must think about this.” He didn’t ask him if he could take the scroll right away, he went back to Houston and waited a couple of months. He was thinking about it to be certain it was the right object. It goes right to the heart of who he was, very thoughtful, very deliberate, and able to take on any responsibility and do it with great dignity and pride.
More an observation than a question, but I’m hoping you can expand on this a bit. The story of the Torah scroll – the article of the film’s original title AN ARTICLE OF HOPE – is central to your story. It represents for me the importance of tradition, and who we are, “from the depths of hell to the heights of space.” That in the horror of the concentration camp, a 13-year-old boy is bar mitvah’d, and in the exuberance of a Space Shuttle flight, as polar opposite as it gets, Ramon is able to remember and focus on his “other” and more humble personable mission.
During one of my many interviews with Yoya for the film, I asked him what could he have possibly been thinking when he saw the little scroll from the Holocaust being held by Ramon in space? He said it really hit him when suddenly during the broadcast Ramon let it go, and the scroll floated in front of him. It was the enormity of the moment that struck him.
Later, President Shimon Peres told me in an interview that Ramon had created “unforgettable” drama. I thought about what drove me to make the film and what drove me to stick with it for 10 years to get it to PBS. It was that same moment, the little scroll floating in space. I think about a little boy, and the Rabbi, trapped in the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp holding the scroll, and now there it was floating in space! For me the moment represents hope. The secret Bar Mitzvah was about hope, and the promise the little boy made was about hope. Ramon felt that promise and that hope deep in his heart, and he carried it with him to space.
I’d never seen the mission control footage on Columbia’s re-entry, and so much of the footage has never been seen before. How much access and trust were you given?
We were given complete access to anything we needed to tell this story. Everyone we came in contact with, NASA, family members, friends, colleagues were eager to help us in anyway they could. And it continues to this day, I still get “what can I do to help you” from just about everyone. I think it says a lot about the importance of this story.
Have you received feedback from Ramon’s widow, NASA and other individual’s on the film?
When I first met Rona Ramon at a hastily arranged lunch in Houston just a few weeks after the accident, she said to me, “of all of the stories that were written about my husband, this story of the Torah scroll is the story he would have wanted told.” I believed at that moment, Rona would be determined to help us tell the story. She was about to host the families of the Columbia on a VIP tour of Israel and she invited us to come along for the documentary. That was how we got started filming. Later she sat with us for hours on two occasions for interviews, and she has appeared at events on behalf of the film. She is very dedicated to the film, and I hope she see’s this as part of the legacy of her husband.
The same applies to everyone involved with the production; this powerful story draws you in. From the very first moment I met my partners, producer Christopher Cowen and executive producer Mark Herzog, we formed a team and worked together to champion this story for a decade. They took it to Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Their reaction was the same and they graciously offered their endorsement as executive producers to help us get it made. It’s remarkable. And from NASA, to a number of Astronauts who were not only colleagues, but extremely close to the 107 crew, I think many people see this documentary as a way of remembering the Columbia in a unique perspective. Not as focus on the accident, the tragedy, but on the Columbia crew, who they were, and their story.
I imagine you forged a special bond with the Shuttle program while making the documentary. Any thoughts now that it ended?
I think I had that bond way before the documentary, and of course making the film did bring me closer as I got to know and create friendships with people involved in the space program. Like most I have mixed emotions about the end of the shuttle program. But I also look toward the future. Today men and women from around the world are working together in space aboard the International Space Station. And private companies are building new human spacecraft, and the way we get to space and where we will go is slowly coming into focus. It’s a new era for space exploration, and I believe it is a bright and important future for all of us. In the fractious world we live in, when you see people from so many different backgrounds, and so many different countries working together, it’s very exciting to me.
What better way to celebrate the conclusion of Season Three
than with a roaring 20s Party at Cheekwood!
Join us on Saturday, March 2, from 7 – 11p.m. to enjoy period food, drinks and music in the Mansion.
Downton Formal attire or Black Tie encouraged. Tickets are $250 per person ($175 is Tax Deductible)
and support NPT’s Educational, Cultural and Civic Programming
(Updated 1/22/13 at 11:59 to add additional panelist)
In advance of the broadcast premiere of our latest American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen documentary, Graduation By The Numbers on Thursday, January 24 at 9:00 p.m., join NPT and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) for an online-only social screening of our first documentary, “Translating the Dream.” On Tuesday, January 22 at 7:30 p.m. CT, we’ll be joined by producer LaTonya Turner, Deana Conn, an MNPS educator in the English Learner Department, and Karla Chavez, youth organizer for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRCC)
and other special guest panelists. We’ll be using the exciting new online engagement tool OVEE, which will enable us to make comments, ask questions and more, all while the documentary is airing, and all in one place: your computer screen.
Access the screening here: https://ovee.itvs.org/screenings/e1wu6
Show up a few minutes early to either login with your Facebook account, login anonymously or create an OVEE user account. It’s simple. But please note that it does not currently work on iPads or iPhones.
NPT Reports: Translating the Dream
An American Graduate Documentary
Online Social Screening & Discussion
Tuesday, January 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Click here to take part.
NPT Reports: Graduation by the Numbers
An American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen Documentary
Thursday, January 24 at 9:00 p.m.
on NPT-Channel 8
Translating the Dream
This program takes an in-depth look at the graduation rate among ELL and immigrant students in Tennessee; the challenges they face that can prevent them from graduating on time; how schools and teachers are trying to address this increasingly demanding need; and how all of us are impacted when students drop out of school.(29min 30sec)
Graduation by the Numbers
In Nashville Public Schools in 2012, one in 11 students dropped out — 8.8 percent — which is almost four times the previous year’s dropout rate. But a student counted as a dropout is not necessarily someone who does not graduate. The result is that the graduation rate can go up—even as the rate of dropouts goes up.The NPT report, produced and narrated by LaTonya Turner, looks at why the numbers for graduates and those for dropouts often don’t add up. … More
Fans of our second channel, NPT2 (available to viewers on Comcast Digital Cable channel 241, Charter Digital Cable channel 176, or over-the-air on channel 8.2.), have a little more to love now. It’s “expanding,” shall we say, because programming and interstitials on the channel are now available in full widescreen. No more annoying black bars on the sides. Viewers watching over-the-air or on cable will see the full widescreen image on their LCD TV’s, or a letterbox image on their older 4:3 CRTs.
The schedule for NPT2 is available on our ‘Schedule” page (wnpt.org/schedule), but as a refresher, NPT2 carries many of the shows that we can’t cram into our main channel, including Tavis Smiley, Charlie Rose, Journal and Newsline, as well as global shows overnight, and rebroadcasts of main-channel prime time programming such as “Masterpiece.” It also has The Tennessee Channel, a joint effort between all six of Tennessee’s PBS stations to bring the best programming related to life in our state to all Tennessee residents. Each week, the Tennessee Channel features a four-hour block of programs and short subjects produced by public television stations across the state, and broadcasts simultaneously on each station’s additional digital channel on Saturdays from 5:00-9:00 p.m. CT (6:00-10:00 p.m. ET), and Sundays, 1:00-5:00 p.m. CT (2:00-6:00 p.m. ET). Visit the Tennessee Channel site for a full schedule.
Tune in! If your cable or satellite provider does not carry your local stations’ additional channels (we all have some), feel free to give them a call and ask.
Have you been watching NPT2?
We are proud to announce the return of Thomas the Tank Engine to our airways with the new re-launched CGI version of the show, “Thomas & Friends.” Beginning January 7, the half-hour children’s program geared toward children ages 2-5 will air Monday-Friday at 12:30 p.m.
This enduring television series has appealed to the imagination of young children for generations. The show is based on the popular books by Revered W. Awdry, “The Three Railway Engines” and “Thomas the Tank Engine,” which first appeared in 1945 and 46, respectively. Awdry went on to write a new book every year until he had published 26 stories. His son Christopher picked up the mantle in 1983 and began publishing new stories.
“Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” chugged onto television for the first time in Britain in 1984 and the series became an instant hit. Within just a few months, 8.5 million people were tuning in to watch. More people were watching Thomas than were viewing the popular sports programs on other channels. Children and adults alike were besotted by the little steam engine and adored the beautiful railway models in the series. The next stop for Thomas was America in 1989 when Thomas and his friends pulled into PBS station lineups and became a new icon of children’s educational television around the nation.
With the new series “Thomas & Friends,” Thomas is entertaining a third generation of children. Consistently drawing strong audiences, during August 2012 “Thomas & Friends” was the #1 rated show among ALL US television series for kids ages 2–5.
“Everyone loves Thomas and we’re happy to have him and his friends back in the lineup, “ says Justin Harvey, NPT programming manager. “As your young viewers join Thomas and his engine friends on delightful adventures, they’ll experience timeless life lessons of discovery, cooperation, and friendship and what it means to be a Really Useful Engine. Thomas & Friends will inspire your child to believe that little engineers – like little engines – can do big things. “
A full website with activities is available at http://thomasandfriends.com.
“Thomas & Friends” is produced by HIT Entertainment, one of the world’s leading children’s entertainment producers and rights owners, and the team behind Barney®, Bob the Builder®, Fireman Sam®, Angelina Ballerina®, Mike the Knight™, Pingu® and Rainbow Magic®. Launched in 1989, HIT’s lines of business span television and video production, content distribution, publishing, consumer products licensing, digital media, and live events and attractions.
The show is presented by WNET.
I got my most recent copy of The Contributor from Don at the Corner of Broadway and 13th Street in downtown Nashville, as soon you exit off Interstate 40. He wished me and my mother a blessed day, and when I immediately got caught up reading the cover story, informed me that the light had changed. I don’t know anything about Don, which is about as much as many people in Nashville know about The Contributor, the “homeless” or “street” paper published bi-weekly and available from street vendors every day around the city. This is not to say that Nashville doesn’t know the paper, which they certainly do, to the tune of over 120,000 distributed copies each month, making it the most successful street paper in the country. What they may not know, however, is how the paper is created and the real impact it’s having on the lives of those that write for and distribute it.
Which makes founding director Tasha French Lemley’s appearance on One on One with John Seigenthaler on Friday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. so special and enlightening. For a half hour, French Lemley and legendary newspaper man and first amendment advocate Seigenthaler talk candidly about the homeless, about the future of print journalism, and ultimately about the freedom of speech and of the press. Some things you’ll learn, if you didn’t know them already.
1) Vendors purchase their papers at the cost of 25 cents each and resell them for $1.00
2) The Contributor has the highest circulation of any paper of its kind in North America.
3) More than 35% of current vendors have found housing since signing up with The Contributor.
4) Don writes Happy Holidays and draws smiley faces on his papers this time of year. OK, you won’t learn that on the show. Only here.
If you’ve got more questions, please tune in on Friday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. or visit The Contributor’s website.
While we’re on the topic of The Contributor, those who attended last year’s Nashville Film Festival may recall director Christopher Roberts’ excellent documentary, Street Paper. The good news is that it went on to win an award at the Bare Bones International Film Festival and be an official selection at the 2012 Global Peace Film Festival and Cincinnati Film Festival. If you missed it last year, keep on eye on the film’s website for future screenings and information on how to purchase it. Trailer below:
We are proud to announce that NPT productions picked up seven nominations when The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS )announced the Midsouth Regional Emmy® Award Nominations tonight at the Music Row offices of Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI). Among productions scoring nominations were NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis: Sexuality, Visions of the American West, Tennessee Civil War 150 documentaries No Going Back: Women and War and Crisis of Faith and children’s program It’s Farmer Jason. A full list of NPT nominations follows. Awards will be announced on January 26, 2013 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Join us here on Wednesday, November 7 at 9:15 a.m. for a real-time live blog of the Women’s Fund Forum on Human Sex Trafficking in Tennessee. Even though registration for the event at the First Amendment Center is now closed, you can follow along here, as well as by following the Women’s Fund Forum on Twitter at @WomensFundCFMT and using hashtag #WFforum.
Additionally, NPT will broadcast the forum on NPT2 (over-the-air channel 8.2 or Comcast Digital Channel 241) on Saturday, November 17, at 9 p.m. and Sunday, November 18, at 5 p.m.
The Women’s Fund Forum is an educational event focused on human sex trafficking in the state of Tennessee. To date, sex trafficking of minors is the No. 2 crime in the U.S. and is projected to be No. 1 by 2013. According to a 2011 Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) report, in Davidson County alone, there were more than 100 cases of sex trafficking of minors reported in a year. Shelby, Knox and Coffee counties all reported at least 100 cases of similar trafficking, and 85 percent of all Tennessee counties reported at least one case of the trafficking of minors.
Panelists for the event include Blanche B. Cook, Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee; Stephen Fogarty, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Margie Quin, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Cary Rayson, Executive Director, Magdalene; and Derri Smith, Founder and Executive Director, End Slavery TN. LaTonya Turner, Reporter and Producer, Nashville Public Television, will moderate. Bios for panelists are available on the Women’s Fund Forum portion of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s website.
NPT president and CEO Beth Curley will also present a 10-minute segment on sex trafficking from the highly acclaimed ITVS and PBS documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression in Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
LIVEBLOGGING BEGINS HERE
8:59 Good morning! Were you up late watching returns and speeches? We’re just getting started here. Guests and panelists are starting to arrive and are now mingling in the reception area. Back soon with opening remarks.
9:20 What the setup scene looks like, from the Community Foundation’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/CommunityFoundationMidTN/posts/373928302693156
9:26 Congressman Jim Cooper is here. Congrats, Congressman, on your re-election!
9:31 If you’re curious how this works, set your browser to autorefresh, or refresh manually every few minutes for updates.
9:34 Holly Coltea and Elizabeth Broyhill, Women’s Fund Forum Co-Chairs, are welcoming audience.
9:37 Beth Curley, NPT president and CEO welcoming audience. “Thanks to John Seigenthaler just for being John Seigenthaler.” We concur!
9:38 Curley giving brief intro about Half the Sky: Turning Oppression in Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Introducing a ten-minute clip about sex trafficking in Cambodia. Watch along here. Under video window, chose “Sex Trafficking in Cambodia” link.
Discussion Guide for “Sex Trafficking” segment of Half the Sky: http://cdn.itvs.org/half_the_sky-discussion-traffic.pdf
9:51 Moderator LaTonya Turner welcoming panelists. Turner is a Reporter and Producer, Nashville Public Television. She specializes in education issues as part of the Southern Education Desk and NPT’s “American Graduate” project. LaTonya has also contributed to NPT’s Next Door Neighbors and Children’s Health Crisis. She has more than 20 years experience in broadcast news, first in her home state of Louisiana then in Nashville for WSMV-TV as a reporter and anchor.
Panelists and bios:
Blanche B. Cook
Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee
Cook specializes in large-scale criminal organization prosecutions, specifically sex trafficking and drug distribution. She just has just completed the first of seven trials involving thirty defendants from Somalia, all charged with sex trafficking. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, she clerked for the Honorable Damon J. Keith, of United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She also spent several years practicing Labor and Employment Law.
Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Fogarty has served with the FBI for 14 years, working in the fields of terrorism, violent crime and civil rights matters. Before joining the FBI, he was a police officer and detective in Georgia for nine years.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Quin, who has worked for the TBI for over 14 years, oversees the AMBER Alert and Missing Children’s Clearinghouse, along with the Gang Intelligence Unit. Quin was named the 2000 TBI Agent of the Year for the TBI Drug Investigation Division and received the 1999 and 2001 FBI Recognition Award for Outstanding Contributions in Drug Enforcement. In 2009, the Department of Justice named Quin the AMBER Alert Coordinator of the Year for the United States.
Executive Director, Magdalene
Prior to being named Magdalene’s executive director, a nonprofit serving women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction, Rayson served 10 years on the Magdalene Board of Directors, including work as a clinical supervisor. After working for eight years with adolescents and families in community mental health and private practice, she helped found Renewal House. She has been honored for her work with Magdalene as a Center for Non-Profit Management “Board Member of the Year” award recipient.
Founder and Executive Director, End Slavery TN
At End Slavery TN, Smith provides human trafficking victims and their advocates a single point of contact for in-house services and service providers that restore survivors to wholeness. Previously, Derri launched an anti-human trafficking initiative among 1,200 workers for a worldwide organization and worked with populations especially vulnerable to human trafficking, including inner-city Nashville youth. She is a recipient of the 2011 regional Soroptimist International Ruby Award for Women Helping Women, and the 2012 Trafficking in America NGO Service Award.
9:53 Derri Smith beginning. “Human Traffickers are predators.” The needs they prey on cross all cultural and socio-economic bounds.
Smith: Of teenage runaways each year, about 1,000 are trafficked.
9:55 Cary Rayson introducing Magdalene. Child Sex Abuse is the biggest contributor to vulnerability to being sex trafficked.
Magdalene sees a lot of young women who are addicted to drugs and must prostitute themselves.
Sheila (Last name forthcoming) is a graduate of Magdalene and now works for the organization. Telling her story now.
Was addicted drugs and needed to continue prostitution, Found Magdalene program at an outreach event Trevecca. Came into program in Nov. 2004, got treatment. Greatest gift from program was the ability to forgive through a lot of insensitive treatment.
Sheila: Believe it’s my calling to give back to women who are like me. Working on a Psychology degree.
I’ve been in a lot of places in my life trying to get help. Magdalene worked for me because it gave me two years to work on all the issues that put me on the street in the first place.
Learn more about Magdalene house: www.thistlefarms.org/
10:06 Margie Quin talking. Pic in TN looks grave. More than 1,500 minors were trafficked last year. 94 per month. More 18,000 registered sex offenders in TN. We have supply, and demand, and that’s a recipe for disaster.
10:08 Stephen Fogarty – A lot of roads lead to Atlanta. Just go to classified, online, escort services. Trafficking is everywhere. TN seems to be at the crossroads. Again, trafficking wouldn’t exist without demand.
Question to Fogarty about relationship between offices and department. Last six months, especially, Being pro-active with Nashville Metro is helping. Being pro-active is key.
Relationship with Derri and Cary is key, because that’s where a lot of victims feel more comfortable going.
10:14 Cook stressing that sex trafficking affects everyone. All races.
Cook: What we try to avoid is profiling victims. Audience should understand this is isolated to women. It also affects young boys. The key is identifying vulnerability and those situations that are ripe for abuse.
Cook: The internet has changed are relationship to goods and services. Even though I hate to put it that way. A victim could be any number of people. I don’t think you can be aggressive enough policing what your children are doing on the internet.
10:20 Derri Smith on how victims come to End Slavery’s attention.
Human Trafficking hotline is 1-855-558-6484. For victims, anyone suspicious of activity.
10:23 Cary Rayson: I you’re wondering what you can do. Educate yourself on who might be victims of sex trafficking. We need to look carefully at what we are doing as a state to take care of the most vulnerable – i.e. victims of child sex abuse.
10:23 Cook on relationship between State and Federal Offices.
10:27 Turner: where TN compare to other states in addressing this problem.
Quin: Can’t really compare, as studies and methodologies differ. But, TBI study discovered offices felt they weren’t adequately trained to identfy situations and victims. SO TBI rolled out comprehensive training for first responders. We really need to work together. As a member of law enforcement, we’d prefer to just lock people up, but we need witness, informed people, educated people, on what it looks like, what to look for, etc.
“Human Trafficking Identification and Response” Card offers plethora of resources. Scan forthcoming.
10:34 Fogarty can’t stress enough value of NGOs (Magdalene, End Slavery) in helping victims while law goes after traffickers.
End Slavery Tennessee link: www.endslaverytn.org/
Cook: Work and training of first responders and their relationship to victims is essential. They need to take care of them, not treat them as criminals and think about them as witness in the future.
Rayson: We don’t feel a women needs to be a witness in order to heal. Through my knowledge we have not had a women be a part of a criminal investigation that is current. We don’t believe a victim has to have that experience to heal. Not a disagreement with Cook, just a different view based on what we experience and how we work.
SMith: Agrees with Rayson. Always a victim advocate. Care not dependent on prosecution, but adds that for those victims they have worked with that have gone through a legal process as witness, it has been beneficial for them. Two sides to the story.
10:42 — Q &A time!
Question: RE: Are we to be wary DCS, or are we to call? Confusing here.
Rayson: DCS not a good or bad system. But it’s the system we have.
Quin: We need to look at the process, and the two tracts available through DCS. Charging 13-year-old victims as criminals? Whoa.
Turner. There is consensus, we just need to centralize efforts.
Fogarty: Regarding interviews with victims, time and approach is of the essence. Very challenging situations. Between FBI, TBI, DCS.
10:52 Question: What’s the plan to allocate resources to help teens BEFORE they need Magdalene?
Smith: When we have foreign national victims, it’s easy to get resources. When we have United States victims, we don’t have resources. Where do we find funding? in between the cushions in the couches.
Question re: perpetrators.
Cook: Many perps were victims themselves, many motivated by money. But key, these manipulators are highly skilled. Motivated by money and exist in an underworld economy.
The average age of a prostitute is 14. And that’s the age of demand. Again, demand.
Sex trafficking. Fastest growing criminal enterprise in country if not the world. The penalties of selling a kilo of cocaine is harsher than selling a human being. REPEAT: The penalties of selling a kilo of cocaine is harsher than selling a human being. This is very lucrative business.
10:58 Question – services/training available through law enforcement agencies? Can they get help calling the local police?
Quin: depends. If they call Metro Nashville, yes. Smaller agencies, maybe not. They will kicked up to TBI.
Turner: Hotline, again, can help. Here you go:
11:01. Question, and a good one, from a young attendee. How can college-age adults get involved.
Cook: Use student organizations to raise awareness, bring in speakers, etc. Smith concurs. Contact End Slavery Tennessee. They have tip sheets you can share.
11:05 Turner, addressing panel, on what people can do to help. Cook’s collecting business cards if attendees want to go to next meeting on this topic.
That’s it! Turner thanks attendees. Grace Awh, Women’s Fund Advisory Board Chair now address audience. Gives special thanks to Sheila for sharing her powerful story.
“Tennessee’s Women and Girls are not for sale!”
For more on Women’s fund, visit: Women’s Fund.
Sorry for typos, etc.