Anne Keehn 2010 Anne Templeton Freedom Award Winner
Anne Keehn: Anne Templeton Zimmerman Fellow Anne Keehn came face-to-face with slavery while working as a journalism intern in Israel. Farm workers described to her how they’d been trafficked from Asia. It touched a nerve that would change her forever.
“I saw something of myself,” she says. “I also saw how their experience was the dark, flip side of my own life.” Now, Anne uses the Internet to build bridges between those in slavery, and those who can support efforts to free them.
Global Connections Anne knows what it’s like to move around the world in search of new opportunities. That’s how she was raised. Her father was a professor of Japanese political science, and she grew up in Japan, the U.K and the U.S.
But her moves were those of a privileged, multi-cultural family. She was distressed when she discovered how traffickers move slaves around the world for exploitation.
“Human trafficking victims are often people who yearn for better lives--better opportunities,” Anne says. “And, they are often people who travel to other countries to find these opportunities. Their courage and desire for a full life shouldn’t be taken advantage of. They should have all freedoms I have.”
Breaking Barriers Anne believes that all people are connected, and she’s been using her media skills to bring people together to fight slavery. She graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a degree in film studies, but she has focused primarily on reaching the public via the Internet.
On her personal blog,sheddinghistory.com, she harnesses the power of social media to spark social change. As a volunteer, she has helped a California-based anti-slavery group, CAST, dramatically expand their online following. During her Zimmerman Fellowship, she’ll be doing the same forFree the Slaves.
“Anybody with an Internet connection has the tools to take part in the global dialogue,” Anne notes. “If we want to put a human face on modern-day slavery, we must give the stage over to survivors themselves—empower them to utilize online media.”
It won’t be easy. Teaching the world that slavery exists is one challenge, but inspiring people to help those in slavery can be tougher. Anne thinks the Internet provides a unique solution.
“Social media removes the middle man,” Anne says. “It would be great to cultivate a culture of citizen journalists, bloggers and thinkers amongst the modern-day slavery survivors and activists around the world who will tell their story every day.”
More About Anne Templeton Zimmerman Dr. Anne Templeton Zimmerman had strong faith in the dignity and sanctity of the human spirit. She used her medical training wherever it was needed-- the jail in Casper, Wyoming or the bush in Africa. Anne was especially dedicated to bringing liberty to people suffering and dying because of their personal faith.
At personal risk, Anne helped free women and children from slavery in Sudan. Because of her efforts there are many more people and families living in freedom. The John Templeton Foundation chose to honor Anne's legacy by investing in future leaders of the anti-slavery movement. Anne was passionate about empowering youth to help others. She reveled in opening the door to lives of purpose and dignity, for both the 'giver' and the 'receiver'.
Anne's widower says Anne never saw a challenge she didn't like - and they weren't all in Africa. After all she took on a husband and his six children in her late 30s. "That was a real challenge,” says Gail Zimmerman. Gail says he hopes the Zimmerman Fellow sees this coming year as challenge - a gift. Just like Anne did in her life.
About the Fellowship In 2010, one fellowship will be awarded to a young adult (21 – 30) who has demonstrated consistent determination, creativity and results in the anti-slavery movement, and is committed to developing his or her career to help rid the world of slavery. The awardee may have shown their commitment against slavery in a variety of ways. For example: raising awareness in communities, advocating for improved policies, helping set up programs with people in slavery or former slaves, or making films about slavery. Free the Slaves will nurture the awardee as a future anti-slavery leader, build their capacity, and through their leadership, disseminate the vision and the skills required for effective anti-slavery work. The fellow will be undertaking substantive work while atFree the Slaves.
It is our vision that further in their careers, Zimmerman Fellows will hold decision-making positions in the most significant anti-slavery entities in the world and maintain a strong alumni network, based on their common high-quality training, transformational experiences and deep roots within the historical anti-slavery tradition that they inherited through the fellowship program.
The Zimmerman Fellowship Winner Will Receive • A one-year fellowship to work with Free the Slaves, with a salary of $35,000 plus benefits. • Support to attend academic seminars and professional development training programs. • The opportunity to travel overseas to learn about other anti-slavery efforts.
You can learn more about the 2010 Freedom Awards and Free The Slaves at their website www.freetheslaves.net.