Community

Loving Our Neighbor

When we started COMMIT PHOTO we had a vision that it would be known for reasons well beyond photography, beyond the images we make. Our vision is to be known for our presence in our community, how we love, how we serve those around us.

One of the ways we aim to do that is by supporting organizations that physically work in our world to make it a better place. COMMIT PHOTO currently supports the work of The Columbus Dream Center and Asia's Hope. For a few years, my wife Kelli and I have been involved with The Better Way, which is now The Columbus Dream Center (TCDC). The Columbus Dream Center is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to providing hope to low-income, homeless and under-served individuals and families in Columbus, Ohio. Around the world there are millions of people enslaved in various forms of modern day slavery. That lead John McCollum to start Asia's Hope, a multi-denominational, grassroots movement working in Cambodia, Thailand and India to provide quality long-term care for orphaned children at high risk of sexual and economic exploitation.

Among other ways, we will support TCDC and Asia's Hope by sales of prints out of which a significant portion of the proceeds will go towards these organizations. Here are the images currently available for purchase. Thank you for considering buying one of the prints, and ultimately helping us help others.

The Liberator Awards

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to photograph The Liberator Awards for 2016 in Ohio.

Ohio is one of the worst states in the U.S. for sex trafficking. It is reported that 1,000 juveniles are forced into the sex trade each year in Ohio, and of these many are only middle-school age. Trafficked children are often already vulnerable.   According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health thirty percent of children in homeless shelters and seventy percent of street youth have been victims of the sex trade, They are vulnerable as it is, and they are being exploited by traffickers and buyers of child sex.

But Ohio has been making efforts to fight sex trafficking with stronger legislation and technology developments to fight traffickers and their networks online. State Representative Teresa Fedor, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have sponsored legislation on both state and federal levels to battle sex trafficking. 

The Liberator Awards seek to highlight and acknowledge those who work to abolish modern day slavery in the form of human and sex trafficking. They are sponsored by TraffickFree, an organization that builds awareness about domestic sex trafficking and sexually exploited children in the U.S.,  and S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution), an outreach to fight sex trafficking at large events and in communities.

The awards are presented to individuals or organizations in the following categories: individual, student or student group, elected official or law enforcement, organization or church or civic club, volunteer, and survivor. 

Being able to be a part of this event was an honor, and a humbling experience. As I am currently working on a project on the issue of sex trafficking, it was also a great opportunity to hear stories of victims and those who fight this crime.

Jeanette Bradley, winner of the Survivor Award.

Jeanette Bradley, winner of the Survivor Award.

Senator Portman speaking with sex trafficking survivors and advocates.

Senator Portman speaking with sex trafficking survivors and advocates.

Senator Rob Portman, winner of the Elected Official Award, with Theresa Flores, founder of TraffickFree and S.O.A.P.

Senator Rob Portman, winner of the Elected Official Award, with Theresa Flores, founder of TraffickFree and S.O.A.P.

The ceremony was held at the Columbus Athenaeum.

The ceremony was held at the Columbus Athenaeum.

The Liberator Awards.

The Liberator Awards.

Myself with my dear friend Jeanette Bradley, an advocate and former victim of sex trafficking.

Myself with my dear friend Jeanette Bradley, an advocate and former victim of sex trafficking.