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At the "From Slavery to Freedom" gala hosted by CAST. Pictured are: Sr. Catherine Marie Kreta, CSJ, Sister Joan Mary O'Dwyer, CSJ, L.A. City Councilmember Nury Martinez and Mount Saint Mary's President Ann McElaney-Johnson, along with L.A. County Task Force partners.

Fighting against modern-day slavery

Mount Saint Mary's University has long been honored to stand with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) in the fight to end modern-day slavery. On May 10, CAST recognized the contributions of Mount Saint Mary's students, alums, faculty and staff with a Founders Award, in tandem with the University's own founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. 

The honors were awarded at CAST's annual "From Slavery to Freedom" gala, which took place at the Skirball Cultural Center and included Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. The event brought together survivors, supporters, civic leaders and socially conscious entrepreneurs to raise funding for CAST's work, and to raise awareness of the ongoing evils of slavery and human trafficking -- globally, nationally and right here in the Mount's home state. 

Sr. Catherine Marie Kreta was the featured honoree from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She is a former University trustee and board chair who was instrumental in the creation of CAST. 

"We at Mount Saint Mary's look to Sr. Catherine Marie and the other Sisters of St. Joseph as models of how one should live one's life," said University President Ann McElaney-Johnson. "The sisters have taught us that it is our responsibility to stand with others to fight injustice in all of its forms. So as long as anyone among us experiences exploitation, violence or oppression, we believe that it is our job to stand together as a community to fight against these forces." 

To learn more about CAST's work to build a movement to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking, visit Mount Saint Mary's also includes data on the impact of slavery and human trafficking in its annual Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California.

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