Dion Sayles McKinney Brings Awareness to a Non-Profit that Helps Human Trafficking Survivors
Individual Employee Contributions and our Diversity & Inclusion Committee Collectively Donated $1000
Meet Dion Sayles McKinney (second from the right). She is one of many diverse employees that work for KNCH. She works in our San Diego office and currently works for attorneys Scott A. Davis; Scott J. Walker; Katherine E. Carlson; and Kelsey L. Kuberka. She has been working in the legal field for over 30 years. Dion’s involvement with Free to Thrive (FTT) started as a volunteer for community outreach events in 2017, and she now serves as Survivor Empowerment Coordinator and is responsible to help survivors with connection to attorneys for legal support; connect survivors to supportive resources to become stable to thrive; and educate our community on this grave issue through outreach efforts.
KNCH is proud to share that we were able to offer tangible support as a sponsor to a local nonprofit organization named Free to Thrive for its ‘Journey to Freedom’ annual fundraising event (www.freetothrive.org). This organization came to the attention of the KNCH diversity committee, through connections and the outreach minded prompting of Dion. The purpose of the annual event was to raise funds needed to continue its work to offer pro bono legal support to clear criminal records of human trafficking survivors throughout Southern California, as well as connections to other support to help remove the barriers that may hinder survivors from thriving in the future. The net proceeds from the event totaled $230,000. All of the funds raised at the event are critical funds that will help FTT sustain their programs and services that support human trafficking survivors and their families.
Giving Back Magazine was in attendance to cover this event. Even though Free to Thrive is only six year old nonprofit organization, we learned that this year they completed their 500th legal matters. This milestone represents hundreds of individual stories and lives changed forever. Every single legal matter symbolizes a legal barrier that stands between survivors and freedom from exploitation. Among these 500 legal matters, they successfully cleared 215 criminal records through 45 petitions. These matters also include getting law enforcement agencies to destroy these records pursuant to court orders – which is sometimes even more difficult than getting the court to make these orders. Their success happens in clearing a survivor’s record, it clears a path to housing, employment and financial stability.
KNCH is involved in diversity minded efforts, and this organization offers support to survivors of all races, religious backgrounds, nationality, sexual orientation and lifestyle. To qualify for their services and support, the survivor must identify as a survivor of human trafficking, whether that is sex trafficking or labor trafficking, and have a criminal record based in California. Free to Thrive receives referrals from other survivors, judges, District Attorney’s office, Public Defender’s office, City Attorney’s office, law enforcement, FBI, safe houses, jails and prisons, as well as any other organization that works closely with vulnerable populations that includes LGBTQ and indigent population, that are often left out of services and support.
For anyone interested in the event, you can access a recording of the livestream at freetothrive.org.
Photo from left to right: Eliane Poeu-En, FTT Office Manager; Brook Scott, FTT Resource Liaison; Jamie Beck, Founder/Managing Attorney; Dion Sayles McKinney, Survivor Empowerment Coordinator and Ali Butler (wife of Founder).