Abolitionist in Montecito

Westmont alumnus David Batstone read in his local newspaper that one of his favorite Indian restaurants in the Bay Area practically imprisoned women from India to wash dishes, cook meals, and do other tasks. The story came out when a young woman, Chianti Pratipatta, died of a gas leak in an unventilated apartment owned by the proprietor of the restaurant, who forced people to work under threat of reporting their illegal presence to the authorities.

“This was happening in my country at a restaurant I frequented,” says Batstone. “My shock turned into a consuming passion that took me around the world to learn more about how slavery flourishes in the shadows.”

Batstone spoke at Westmont as part of a 60-city tour to end slavery and human trafficking. Earlier this year, he authored “Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It,” and he launched Not For Sale in February.

Batstone’s book documents the shocking extent of human trafficking in the modern world. Traveling to five continents, he found child soldiers in Africa and young girls enslaved in Asian brothels. He has teamed up with Free to Play, a campaign to end child slavery and improve recreational opportunities for kids.

Another partner is the movie “Trade,” starring Kevin Kline, which opens in theaters Friday, Sept. 28.

During his nationwide tour and national television appearances, Batstone says he has signed up about 2,000 abolitionist churches. “They’re part of the modern-day underground railroad,” Batstone says. “The congregations are offering their churches as safe havens for these slaves.”

Batstone, a professor at the University of San Francisco, also wrote the book “Saving the Corporate Soul & (Who Knows?) Maybe Your Own,” which won the Nautilus Award for 2004 Best Business Book.

For the last six years, he served as executive editor of Sojourners magazine. He is the executive editor of business magazine Motto and appears regularly in USA Today’s Weekend Edition as “America’s ethics guru.”

His campaign Web site is at http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/.

Moving Mountains of Mulch

Montecito was well represented in Goleta during United Way’s Day of Caring. Once again Westmont took top honors for organizing the largest team of volunteers. About 100 Westmont students, staff and faculty spent September 15 landscaping Dos Pueblos High School. The volunteers planted 46 trees, spread 175 cubic yards of mulch and weeded two quad lawns.

Skin Deep

Author and scholar Paul Spickard will discuss the issue of discrimination among people of the same race in a free public lecture in Westmont’s Hieronymus Lounge Friday, September 28, at 3:30 pm. “Is Lighter Better? Skin-Tone Discrimination Among Asian Americans,” explores the social issues and implications surrounding the skin tone of Asian-American women.

Spickard, professor of history, Asian-American studies, and religion at UC Santa Barbara, says color and facial features are issues that powerfully shape understandings of beauty and acceptance in Asian-American communities. “Every Asian-American has heard words like ‘Don’t go out in the sun, you’ll get too dark,’ or ‘Don’t marry him, your kids will be too dark,’” he says.

Spickard, who received his doctorate in history at UC Berkeley, says his research is based on participant observation in the cosmetics industry and on interviews in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Filipino, Thai, and South Asian American communities.

The lecture is sponsored by Westmont’s history and sociology-anthropology departments and intercultural programs office. Refreshments will be served at 3:15 pm.