Call+Response

Film issues a call for action against human trafficking

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In the call and response chants that rose up among slaves in the United States, the call signified a need and the response meant that “I hear you and I’m going to rescue you.” Musician and activist Justin Dillon uses this musical concept in his debut documentary film, Call+Response, to address the international problem of human trafficking and promote the modern abolitionist movement.

Dillon’s documentary was screened in McCosh 50 Feb. 10, followed by a panel discussion with Professor Cornel West *80, author and journalist Benjamin Skinner, and activist Bridgit Antoinette Evans.

Dillon’s film focuses on the sexual enslavement of young girls in Cambodia, Thailand, India, and the United States, and he includes several familiar faces who have spoken out against this modern form of slavery (among them musicians Moby, Talib Kweli, and Natasha Bedingfield; actresses Ashley Judd and Julia Ormond; journalist Nicholas Kristof; and former ambassador John Miller). With more than 17,000 people trafficked into the United States every year, the problem hits home, advocate Kathy Maskell of the organization Love146 says in the film.

In the discussion that followed the screening, participants spoke about creating sustainable action for the cause. “You have to play to your core competencies,” Skinner explained, highlighting examples of how plastic surgeons, musicians, and movie directors all have given differently to the cause.

In a call to Princeton students to mobilize behind today’s abolitionist movement, Evans explained that “it’s going to require students to start talking amongst themselves. … Students are a core energy in any major social movement, but they have to be organized.”

And, searching for the response, West pointed to the crowded lecture hall, two-and-a-half hours deep into the presentation. Said West: “For Princeton students to stay this long when they’re all so busy is already a sign that they’re hungry and thirsty.” By Sarah Harrison ’09

[Ed. note: Story updated Feb. 13]

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Michelle Obama ’85 joins Nassau Inn wall of fame

Valerie Smith, left, the chairwoman of Princeton’s Center for African American Studies, and sociology department chairman Robert Wuthnow unveil a portrait of Michelle Obama ’85 in the Nassau Inn’s Yankee Doodle Tap Room Feb. 4. The Tap Room wall, an unofficial hall of fame for Princeton alumni, has honored distinguished graduates for more than a half-century.

Obama, whose photo hangs between images of former Secretary of State James A. Baker ’52 and astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad ’53, majored in sociology at Princeton before attending Harvard Law and working as a corporate lawyer and hospital administrator. No word yet on when the first lady plans to autograph the portrait (another Tap Room tradition). Her class will celebrate its 25th reunion in 2010.

(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Cover-worthy: Answers to the Feb. 4 Weekly Blog quiz

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This 1987 alumna was a P-rade sensation in 1986, rising above the Class of 1946 contingent in a Statue of Liberty costume. (It wasn’t the first or last time that her photo was featured on the cover of a magazine.) Answer: Brooke Shields

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PAW’s Oct. 21, 1958, cover shows President Robert Goheen ’40 *48 waiting to begin an interview with this famous CBS News reporter. The cover line reads, simply, “Hello, Ed.” Answer: Edward R. Murrow

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This 1996 cover subject – a Yale Law graduate – was on hand to help Princeton celebrate its 250th anniversary. He returned in 2006 to speak at Class Day. Answer: President Bill Clinton

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