There is important news today involving a hero of the anti-slavery movement who has dedicated more than a decade of her life to create Free the Slaves and guide it from its infancy to the thought-leading organization that it is today.
Our co-founder and communications director, Peggy Callahan, has been thinking for some time about stepping down from her full-time staff position so that she could pursue special projects that would benefit the anti-slavery movement and Free the Slaves. Peggy says the time is right to make this transition.
We are forever grateful for Peggy’s unparalleled contributions to the abolition movement. She helped inspire the global media to alert the world that slavery still exists, and created a video library that helps journalists create awareness about slavery worldwide. Through her talents as a gifted filmmaker and her reputation as a trusted journalist, Peggy framed the struggle against slavery in positive, optimistic terms. By humanizing the problem, she helped everyone know that they have a role to play. Her films are a timeless legacy; they reveal one of history’s great crimes and the rebirth of a movement to end it.
Peggy was an award-winning television producer who left TV to go end slavery. (She often jokes that the move says a lot about TV.) She came up with our name and logo, and invented the Freedom Awards. She attracted thousands of people to donate, and hundreds to join the Free the Slaves family as volunteers. (And I’m told that she has forced many of those volunteers into her closet at home during holiday parties to record translation voiceovers for sound bites in her Free the Slaves films!)
A long-time colleague of Peggy, who has worked for three years on the Free the Slaves communications team as the unit’s senior writer-producer and communications specialist, will take over as communications director. Terry FitzPatrick is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist with 30 years of experience on six continents. He has worked with Bill Moyers, MacNeil-Lehrer, National Public Radio, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. He has also developed communications training projects in more than a dozen countries in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, experience that will help Free the Slaves increase its in-country communications training assistance for our frontline partners in the future.
Please join me in honoring and thanking Peggy and congratulating Terry.