An Open Letter About the Social Justice E-Book Project

Dear Artists, Photographers, Poets, and Writers;

This is an open letter to those of you who have previously expressed interest in contributing to the Social Justice E-book Project. I will be emailing this to the email addresses of those on my list, but just in case I miss anyone, I am also posting it here.

(If this is the first you have heard of the project, and you would like more info, please click the button on the menu to the right labeled “E-Book Project”.)

After much consideration, I’ve decided to set a final deadline for submissions of July 31, 2011. Without a deadline, I’m afraid that this project will never be completed. If you would like to see the latest preview of the E-Book, please comment on this post.

In the past few months, I have backed off. My computer died and I stopped bugging everyone for their final submissions. I was beginning to wonder if all this was really worth it or if modern slavery is just an evil that cannot be exterminated.

Then, just the other day, Michael Crichton’s memoir, “Travels” happened to drop into my lap. I was nonchalantly flipping through it, not terribly interested, when I stumbled across his account of a trip he took to Thailand. The excerpt I am about to share with you inspired, no, more like horrified me into picking the Social Justice E-Book Project back up.

The door opens. We see a handful of prepubescent girls. They look ten or eleven. Their eyes are dark and smudged. Their postures are coy; they strut and throw glances over their shoulders. One girl walks unsteadily in high heels too big for her.

“What do you say, guys?” Ed says. He’s grinning with excitement.

I just want to get out of there. I don’t care if they think I’m effeminate, I don’t care what they think. I just want to get away from these poor children and these reeking corridors with people pulling at me, touching me, little fingers reaching up for me. “Mister… mister…”

“I think I’ll pass,” I say. “I’m a little tired.”


Well, at least he had the decency to refuse, right?  I started thinking. We automatically loath his “friend”, Ed. But isn’t looking the other way; isn’t doing nothing, almost as bad?

We partner with the abusers by our silence, by our apathy.

This dilemma is faced over and over again around the world. Isn’t the life of just one child precious? The question shouldn’t be about what Mr. Crichton could have done. The question should be; what will I do? What will you do? Will any of us do anything?

If this project helps to save one child from a life of prostitution, slavery, or ignorance, it will have succeeded. 

Thank you once again for your interest and participation in this project.


Toni L.A. Cross
Project Facilitator

Life by Toni L.A. Cross

Rain on the windscreen of an automobile with w...

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I thought to myself

What is life?

For me it is joy and tears and strife

It’s being a woman, a friend, and a wife

It’s working and dreaming

And dancing and playing

Or wanting to chase the wind

But always staying

It’s finding the sweetness

Of unexpected love

And sprinkles of blessings

From above

It’s needing and wanting

Desire that’s haunting

It’s breathing through pain

And walking in the rain

Life is horrid and dear,

Full of excitement and fear

Life isn’t caught in these words we say

Life is just living today

youth… fragmented thoughts by Toni Cross


so bare
not afraid
taking flight

Pathos of the Muse…. by Toni L.A. Cross

The Muse arose distracted
pulled to and fro by unseen bonds
a wisp of ocean mist enchanting
beckoning her from the task at hand
She tossed her hair and strained at the ropes
that held her to her duty
She fought
and then a gasp came forth
from deep within her essence
As she crumpled
into nothingness
she was free
at last