Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Portrait of a Modern Day Abolitionist

{Since many of you enjoy it when I share my "real" work and because I'm proud of the portraits I took for this, I decided to share this on my blog. This is Benita Hopkins, Manager of the Freedom Store.}
When Benita Hopkins attended her first Freedom Summit in 2009, the stories of modern day slavery "just tugged at my heart." By the time she attended the first Global Forum and "cried the whole weekend," she knew "there was something for me."  Prior to that, she had been a K-8 music teacher and Middle School Literature teacher in the South Bay. She grew up in Virginia and graduated with an Engineering degree from Virginia Tech.  Later, she became a wife and mother, moved to California, and started teaching. With her children grown and feeling like she had accomplished much of what she had set out to do as a teacher, she was ready for a change. Like many involved in the movement to end global slavery, she feels like the cause found her as much as the other way around.  
Shortly after attending the Global Forum, she became a Fellow with the Not For Sale Campaign. Not For Sale is a multi-faceted, global organization that works to end modern day slavery, by, among other things, establishing corporate codes of conduct, providing economic opportunities for survivors of slavery and educating the public about the problem and potential solutions.  As part of her fellowship, Benita began working at The Freedom Store in Princeton Harbor, just north of Half Moon Bay, Ca.
Today, she manages the store which sells a variety of products made by survivors of slavery. In addition to the brick and mortar store in Princeton Harbor, there is also an online store. You can check out the products at this link. Besides providing economic opportunities for survivors, the store also raises awareness of the problem of modern day slavery. 
Benita's favorite part of managing the Freedom Store is that "I get to tell the story when I sell." She's still a teacher and an educator. Only now, instead of teaching music and literature, she teaches about slavery and freedom and personal responsibility. She's still a wife and mother, but now she's also a modern day abolitionist.

12 comments:

Sian said...

A fascinating post and a beautiful portrait. She truly looks like a woman with a story to tell

helena said...

Fabulous portraits and thanks for telling her story - off to look at the website

Gloria said...

Hi Rinda. What a beautiful post about a beautiful lady. Wonderful photos of her looking like the grand lady she is. Great post! Thanks for sharing her story, I will visit the website. Have a great day.

scrappyjacky said...

I'm not surprised you're proud of the portraits...they are wonderful....and come with such an interesting story.

Heather said...

What a wonderful lady she is! Rinda those portraits are amazing especially the last one :) xx

Nancy Y said...

great photos of this great lady. What a life she leads!

Karen said...

What a wonderful story, and you should be proud of those portraits. They are beautiful!

Fiona said...

Great photos and what a great lady.

Alison said...

Wonderful portraits and great post...a reminder to us all that slavery isn't just something that happened in the past!
alison xx

Rachel Holaday said...

Beautiful story, beautiful photos, and an important issue to publicize. Admirable work!

CuddlyBunny said...

Thank you for sharing such an important story! Your photos carry not only the beauty of an important woman, but the obvious caring you possess.

Wonderful.

Thank you.

Michele said...

excellent, beautiful. thank you for sharing. xo