Keynote Presentation Kicks Off 'Shut Out Trafficking' Week At St. John's

Dr. Richard Lapchick, C'67 spoke with the St. John's community to open

Oct. 21, 2014

QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's University kicked off its "Shut Out Trafficking" week as part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness for human trafficking in the United States on Monday evening, as University alumnus Dr. Richard Lapchick, C'67 and his daughter Emily Pasnak-Lapchick delivered an impassioned keynote presentation to a filled Marillac Auditorium comprised of St. John's faculty, administrators and students. Continuing through the rest of the week, the "Shut Out Trafficking" initiative will see events and discussions take place throughout the St. John's campus in an effort to empower the University community to speak out honestly on the issues, abuses and hidden injustices of human trafficking.
Following a blessing by Campus Minister for Athletics Fr. Richard Rock and an introduction by Associate Vice President for Academic Support Services Dr. Nancy Kaplan, Dr. Lapchick began Monday's event by relating a number of childhood memories which led him to pursue a life of social activism. Dr. Lapchick is the son of Hall of Fame Original and Redman legend Joe Lapchick, who, as the head coach of the New York Knicks, helped break the color barrier in the NBA by signing Nathaniel Clifton in 1950. Dr. Lapchick then recounted some of his biggest successes and obstacles met throughout his career as a human rights activist and pioneer for racial equality, before calling for the St. John's community to face the realities of modern day race and gender relations.
"The reason that I stay in the world of sport and want to continue in the world of sport to tackle these social justice issues is what we call the miracle of sport: the huddle," said Dr. Lapchick, who has been called "the social conscience of sport." "Once you get in that huddle - and I can't think of any other place in this country where this is true - it suddenly doesn't matter if you are African American or White or Latino or Asian American or Native American or Arab American. It doesn't matter if you are Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Sikh, Jew, Hindu or Muslim. It doesn't matter if you are young or old, gay or straight, come from a rich family or a poor family, you can't win unless you pull together. Imagine if we took that concept and brought it into our classrooms, corporate America, into all forms of work life in this country, what an amazingly different world it would be."
After being introduced by her father, Pasnak-Lapchick outlined the "Shut Out Trafficking" effort before educating the audience on the harrowing practices, statistics and consequences involved in human trafficking, both worldwide and in the U.S. Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states in the U.S., which is a source, destination and transit point for trafficking victims. Pasnak-Lapchick spoke of the current efforts being made around the country to stop the trafficking of children and adults as well as the role the St. John's community can play in raising awareness for the criminal practice.
"While we've come a long way, we have not come far enough and I'm here to challenge all of you to take the baton, to take the lead in advancing the rights of people all around the world," said Pasnak-Lapchick. "This starts with your team and the values you instill on one another. I believe you'll be pleased to see the ripple effects that your words have on the world, spreading from your teams to your communities, further and further until you can't even see the results anymore, but you know that they are happening."
Following their presentations, Dr. Lapchick and Pasnak-Lapchick took questions from the audience, before being presented with personalized Red Storm basketball jerseys by St. John's head men's coach Steve Lavin, head women's coach Joe Tartamella and Director of Athletics Chris Monasch.
St. John's University is one of 10 college and university campuses across the United States participating in the "Shut Out Trafficking" initiative, which was launched at LaSalle University on Oct. 6 and will also make week-long stops at Tulane University, Brown University and the University of Central Florida this year. It will continue in spring of 2015, making visits to UCLA, the University of Denver, the University of Alabama, the University of Nebraska and Chicago State University.
St. John's "Shut Out Trafficking" week continues today, when St. John's Department of Health and Wellness and Nomi Network, a nonprofit organization creating economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking, will be in Marillac Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. University staff and students are encouraged to visit, learn more about the "Shut Out Trafficking" initiative and purchase goods and fair trade items.
On Wednesday, St. John's will host a screening of the movie "Not My Life," an award-winning film about human trafficking and modern-day slavery with a discussion panel to follow. The viewing and discussion will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the D'Angelo Center room 307.
Thursday will see the week long initiative continue with a residence hall program in the lobby of Donovan Hall from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Finally, on Saturday, educational materials will be available at the St. John's men's soccer home game against DePaul. During the game, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., a special announcement from the Red Storm student-athletes will be made regarding the importance of stopping human trafficking. Bracelets will also be for sale for $2 to raise money for awareness for human trafficking.
If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-8888 or text "BeFree" at 233.733.

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