Students initiated and helped to organize a Human Trafficking Awareness Day recently at Jordan Plus High School in partnership with local law enforcement and other agencies.
The idea for the event began when Long Beach Police Lt. Dan Pratt spoke to the school’s Male Academy students, inspiring them to plan a larger schoolwide event.
“The kids stepped up and took some ownership,” said Lionel Gonzalez, site supervisor for the Male Academy at the school, “It just kind of snowballed and really became a community-type event.”
Guest speakers visited each second period class. Among the speakers were Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert and officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Los Angeles County Probation Office and the City of Long Beach. A lunchtime information fair included booths offering information on the topic.
“These young men saw an issue. They addressed it. They took action,” Teresa Gomez, Human Dignity Program Coordinator for the City of Long Beach, said of the Male Academy students. “Their desire is that other schools will follow in their footsteps. They’re amazing young men, and we’re all very proud of them. The day was an absolute success.”
The mission of the Male Academy is to improve the graduation rate of underrepresented young men and to encourage lifelong learning by preparing them for college and careers.
Also partnering on the project was the YMCA, which created a video chronicling the event. View the video.