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OUR FOUNDING MEMBERS
WE ARE ASN is a documentary video that tells our story in four chapters - from our visit to Ghana as uninitiated pilgrims - through our education and transformation - and finally to our formation as an organization dedicated to fighting slavery.
The seed for Abolish Slavery Now was planted while in the dark and dismal male slave dungeon of Cape Coast Slave Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Ghana, West Africa). A youth group from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (Ventura California) was on pilgrimage and came face-to-face with both the tragedy of America’s slave trade history, and the scourge of modern slavery. Father Doug Edwards (now ASN Executive Director) held a worship service and began his remarks with: “I have a secret. I am an abolitionist.” All left the dungeon knowing that we had received a vocation, a purpose: to free those who are enslaved, and to bring home the message to abolish slavery now!
This seed was watered over the next year as we met regularly to learn the facts about slavery today, and how best to respond to this prompting - to bring hope to the enslaved.
In early 2016 we established our public charity, Abolish Slavery Now. Since that time we have been engaged in the work of freeing children, and teaching our community about slavery at home and abroad. Our work is taking us to schools, colleges, City Council meetings, discussions with local law enforcement, and bringing the message of ending slavery to churches and civic groups wherever we are welcomed.
We are a small group determined to make a difference. We hope that you will take the pledge and join our ranks, choosing to become an abolitionist.
949 Wigeon Way,
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
TREASURER: Cathy Sexton
Douglas Edwards has been active in mission through the Anglican Province of West Africa since 2000. Canon Edwards has raised funds and provided oversight – bringing safe sustainable drinking water to more than 20,000 people, building community and vocational centers, providing sanitation systems, and funding economic development programs which have enhanced the quality of life for thousands in remote villages in Ghana. Within the structure of the Province of West Africa, he has established scholarship funds for children of clergy and high achieving students to attend high school and university, endowed five professorships at St. Nicholas Seminary (the Anglican seminary for the Province of West Africa), as well as established and funded a pension plan for the clergy of Ghana.
Ordained a priest in 1984 and rector of two parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, Canon Edwards brings more than 20 years of business experience to his efforts to abolish slavery. For ten years he was CEO of an environmental service company with more than 100 employees. His vocation is bringing hope to the people of Ghana. His lifetime Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) are to free 25,000 enslaved persons, and bring safe drinking to 250,000 souls in West Africa.
SECRETARY: Anne Alday
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The Venerable Douglas Edwards, D.Min. (Doctor of Ministry)
ABOLISH SLAVERY NOW is a California non-profit corporation recognized as a public charity by the IRS,
Tax ID: 47-3033699.
Cathy Sexton is a founding board member of ASN and is currently serving as its Treasurer. Cathy became passionate about ending the scourge of modern day slavery after her youngest daughter returned from a trip to Ghana completely transformed. The realization that human trafficking and slavery occurs everywhere in the world today left Cathy with no choice but to take a stand and do something about it. Being a part of ASN is her way of helping to put an end to slavery around the world.
Cathy is a native of Ventura, Ca. and is a graduate of University of California, Santa Barbara, with a BA degree in Art History. She worked in the travel industry for several years handling both leisure and business travel planning. Cathy was a church youth leader for over fifteen years and now is a self-employed bookkeeper with several personal and business clients in Ventura County, California.
Cathy has three daughters and three granddaughters, and she is determined to make a difference in the world for them. She believes they are her greatest joy and accomplishment. She loves traveling, camping, cooking, baking and spending time with her family..
ASN exists to combat human trafficking, freeing enslaved children in Ghana, and focusing on education and advocacy relating to California’s slave trade. The scourge of modern slavery in America will continue unabated until Americans rise up in firm opposition. Most Americans have little appreciation for the prevalence of enslaved persons in our own communities. Because slavery is illegal, the belief is that this most abusive practice is a rarity - whereas in fact, it is present throughout California and every other state in the Union. The sex trade gets the most press coverage, but enslaved persons are also found in domestic work, agriculture, nail salons and even restaurants. ASN seeks to educate and empower communities to speak on behalf of the enslaved in our midst, and to offer freedom and shelter whenever they come into contact with enslaved persons.
Beyond America’s borders, ASN is also committed to freeing enslaved children in Ghana, where an estimated 21,000 children are held captive against their will in the fishing industry, and a perhaps larger number in the cocoa farms, which provide us the chocolate we so enjoy. We do this with ASN's partners in Ghana by 1) funding rescue operations in cooperation with "Challenging Heights" (founded by former child slave James Kofi Annan); and 2) coordinating with the Anglican Province of West Africa.
In 2014, Anne’s life was transformed when she helped lead a youth-pilgrimage to Ghana. There she witnessed extreme poverty, and learned about modern day slavery. During a somber worship service at Cape Coast Slave Castle, deep within the male slave dungeon, she first felt the need to become an abolitionist.
Upon returning home, she began to research modern day slavery – in Ghana, and around the world. She, along with the other Ghana pilgrims, decided to start ASN to educate others, and to help eradicate modern slavery.
Anne works professionally as an Education Facilitator for a personalized learning public charter school in Southern California. She enjoys reading (especially cookbooks!), running and hiking, and traveling to see her kids.
ABOLISH SLAVERY NOW