ELIZABETH–In its effort “to do right” by addressing human trafficking and modern-day slavery, the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation (FDFF) has announced that it is uniting with Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth, naming the all-female Catholic college prep high school as its first Douglass Freedom Partner. The honor was officially made public at a ceremony on May 14 when the Academy’s Board of Trustees, while meeting in Elizabeth, was presented with the Foundation’s Freedom Partners Award by Foundation President Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. via Skype.
“This is about more than just bestowing an honor upon Benedictine Academy because of the work they’ve done in the area of human trafficking,” Morris noted.
Morris is the great, great, great grandson of Frederick T. Douglass, the former slave who became a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1800s. He is also the great, great grandson of Booker T. Washington, who was born a slave and rose above his circumstances through the power of education.
“We actually created this model for partnering with schools because of the commitment Benedictine Academy has shown, from students to teachers to administrators,” Morris explained. “Like Benedictine Academy, we hope that future Douglass Freedom Partners will utilize and contribute to FDFF’s human trafficking service-learning curricula, and, that they will find creative ways to unite with others to address this crime,” he added.
Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage attended the ceremony on May 14, and presented a “Freedom Partners Award” plaque to Benedictine Academy Principal Kenneth Jennings. Assemblyman Joseph Cryan also participated, presenting a letter from Nettie Washington Douglass, mother of Ken Morris, to Sister Germaine Fritz, OSB, President of Benedictine Academy.
“We are so proud of our students and their achievements and we thank Mr. Morris for the opportunity they have had to participate in the Foundation’s mission by raising consciousness about the evil of human trafficking,” Benedictine Academy Campus Minister Linda Michalski said. She welcomed the opportunity to further develop the school’s relationship with the Foundation. “Together, we can and will stop the gross injustice of human trafficking,” Michalski stated. “In the spirit of Frederick Douglass, we will walk our young women, men and children into freedom.”
The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that creates service-learning curricula for use in middle schools and high schools, encouraging young people to effect the issue of modern slavery by mobilizing through digital media. Established to preserve the legacy of Frederick Douglass and to create an awareness about modern day slavery, the Foundation’s mission is to end human trafficking and all forms of servitude with a clear effort to restore the dignity and well-being of its victims.