LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D announced, “I am so proud for the campus to hold this human trafficking conference, and those who made it possible. We need to be proactive and be apart of the solution. I hope this is just the start of the collaboration with Shawn Cleveland and Regeneration X,” at a human trafficking conference held on Sept. 11 at the College Center.
“Community is our middle name. We need to collaborate and create impact together,” said Dr. Ballinger. The purpose of the conference was to educate communities on the issues of modern day slavery as well as bring to life the plight of the missing in the community.
Words from a victim
“You can’t trust anybody. If you see something, please say something,” said special guest Gina DeJesus. Currently the Cofounder of The Cleveland Center for Missing, Abducted, Exploited Children and Adults, she shared her story of when she was abducted by Ariel Castro at the age of 14, along with two other young women, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry. All three escaped in 2013.
“It takes a community”
“It is a big deal for us. We need everyone on board. It takes a community. You can’t do it alone. Look out for each other. Assist whenever possible,” said Executive Director of the Human Trafficking Collaboration of Lorain County, Shawn Cleveland. Cleveland is also apart of Regeneration X, and was responsible for the conference to come to life. He was also the moderator of the conference.
This was Regeneration X’s second major event, and is currently working on recruiting and training people to join their cause.
According to Cleveland, the conference took approximately a month and a half to organize. “We are blessed. Everyone was willing to help,” said Cleveland. “I appreciate student life, Dr. Ballinger, and Jovaniel Rolon for helping to make this possible.”
Awareness to the youths
“We want to bring awareness to the young people of the college of their surroundings. No one wants to be in that situation of getting kidnapped or having a family member missing for years. We want to help stop that,” said Criminal Justice major Jovaniel Rolon who is currently in his second year. “We want to help not only the community of Lorain, but other communities too.”
Rolon was the one who connected Regeneration X to the college to set up the conference. Rolon is good friends with Cleveland, and is also part of Regeneration X.
“I was the connection to help organize everything,” said Rolon. “Young people can talk to younger people, but don’t want to tell older people. We want to train young people how to respond and how to prevent such a situation. Technology is a big thing. Everyone is on their phone, and 20 things can happen while they’re not paying attention.”
Being self defensive
“Awareness bears observation. Make a plan, and execute it,” said Self defense technician, Ed Carrion. At the conference, Carrion talked about self defense awareness and spoke about, “Lessening the chances to be a victim.”
Carrion has been involved in self defense for 40 years, and teaches at a school of martial arts as a senior instructor, located at 1121 Tower Blvd. in Lorain.