Speakers Bureau

The AASG Speakers Bureau

Our speakers have addressed everyone from Congress and the UN Commission on Human Rights to schools, religious groups, and local communities across the nation. Their unique perspective, as people who have either experienced slavery and genocide or witnessed it firsthand, have made for powerful presentations and opened the door to inspiring discussion. Their remarkable stories of tragedy and triumph have made a global problem immediate in small towns and major cities alike. 

Francis Bok

On May 15, 1986 seven-year old Francis Bok was selling
eggs and peanuts near his village in South Sudan when
Arab militia attacked the marketplace, murdering men
and rounding up women and children. “I saw many
people on the ground, shot…I saw people with their
heads cut off with swords and shot in the head,” Francis
remembers. Strapped to horses Francis and others were
taken to North Sudan and sold into slavery.
For ten years, Bok served his Arab master sleeping with
a cattle and enduring hard labor, constant beatings,
humiliation and forced Islamization. He was given an
Arab name was taunted as “abeed,” a black slave.
After two failed attempts to flee-each bringing severe
beatings and death threats-Francis finally escaped at age seventeen. He was jailed in Khartoum
for seven months and lived in refugee camps in Egypt for three years before the United Nations
granted him a passage to America where he became a modern day abolitionist.
Bok was the first escaped slave to testify before the United States Senate. He met with George
W. Bush, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and many other American leaders, educating
them about the plight of modern day slaves. He was honored by the U.S. Olympic Committee
and the Boston Celtics. He spoke alongside Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., at the Boston Freedom Award ceremony and headlined a panel discussion on slavery at
Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Bok’s autobiography Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity and My
Journey to Freedom in America, published by St. Martin’s Press, received a wide critical
acclaim. He has been featured in The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science
Monitor and many other newspapers. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows
including BET, Fox News and CNN.
In 2010 Francis founded the Francis Bok Foundation to raise funds to build a school and a
medical clinic in his hometown of Gor Ayen. He is an Associate of the Boston-based human
rights organization American Anti-Slavery Group and of Kansas-based Sudan Sunrise.
Francis, his wife Atong and his children live in the Boston area.
Mr. Bok is available for speaking and media engagements.
For all inquires contact:
Sasha Giller
American Anti-Slavery Group
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
617 959On May 15, 1986 seven-year old Francis Bok was sellingeggs and peanuts near his village in South Sudan whenArab militia attacked the marketplace, murdering menand rounding up women and children. “I saw manypeople on the ground, shot…I saw people with theirheads cut off with swords and shot in the head,” Francis remembers. Strapped to horses Francis and others weretaken to North Sudan and sold into slavery.

francisbok_now_jpegFrancis Bok is an escaped Sudanese slave and modern-day abolitionist.  He played an instrumental role in convincing the United States government to push for a peace agreement that stopped Sudan’s civil war (1956 – 2005) and provided for  2011 South Sudan’s referendum on independence.

On May 15, 1986 seven-year old Francis was selling eggs and peanuts near his village in South Sudan when Arab militia stormed the marketplace, slaughtering men and rounding up women and children. Strapped to horses Bok and others were taken to North Sudan and sold into slavery.

For ten years, Bok was a chattel of an Arab master – he slept with animals and endured hard labor, constant beatings, humiliation and forced Islamization. He was given an Arab name and was taunted as “abeed,” a black slave. 

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Simon Deng

Simon Deng is a Sudanese-American leader and human rights activist. A native of the Shiluk Kingdom in southern Sudan, Deng spent several years as a domestic slave in northern Sudan.
Born into a large family, Deng was raised as a Christian. His village of Tonga was a peaceful farming community, despite frequent raids by the Sudanese army where they burned huts and scattered livestock. "One of the first things I was told as a child — if the Arab men come, just run for your life," Deng recalls. When Deng was eight, the Sudanese army swept through his village. Deng was out watching his family's goats when transport trucks carrying troops suddenly appeared. He and his friends tried to escape, but one was shot in the legs and another in the back. Two blind elders in his village were burned alive in their homes. "I thought I was about to die," says Deng.
The raid displaced Deng's family and neighbors, who took refuge in the city of Malkal; dozens crammed into one small house. There, Deng offered to help an Arab man carry some belongings to a ship on the nearby Nile River. But the nine-year-old suddenly found himself sailing away, abducted by the man. Deng was then given to a relative of the kidnapper in the north — as a slave. Deng's master, Mahmed Ahmed, and his wife Amna refused to let him return home. They showed him a picture of a man with his feet and hands cut off, and warned him: "If you complain, this is what will happen to you." Deng became their property, watching their cattle, cleaning their dishes, eating only scraps, sleeping on straw, and enduring regular beatings. His masters called him "abeed" (black slave). Like the majority of families in northern Sudan, Deng's "owners" were Muslim, and they urged him to convert to Islam and become accepted as their own son. But Deng refused and managed to escape.
Deng went on to work as a messenger in the Sudanese parliament and later became a national swimming champion. Today he is an American citizen and an Associate of the American Anti-Slavery Group. He has addressed audiences across the nation.
In May, 2005 he was invited to speak before the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.
In March, 2006, Mr. Deng launched the Sudan Freedom Walk, trekking 300 miles from United Nations headquarters in New York City to the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to call for an end to slavery and genocide in Sudan. The walk culminated in a meeting at the White House with President Bush.
In May 2006, Deng embarked on a fact-finding and humanitarian aid mission in southern Sudan and Darfur, where he met with leading southern Sudanese officials, including the President of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir.
In 2010 Simon repeated the 300 miles march from New York to Washington, DC to raise awareness about 2011 South Sudan’s historic referendum on independence. The walk culminated with a rally on the Capitol where besides Simon other speakers included Dr. Abdel Gabar Adam, Dr. Charles Jacobs, Rev. Gloria White-Hammond, Neimat Ahmadi, the world-famous Sudanese rap artist Emmanuel Jal, and leaders of the Sudanese Diaspora in the US.
To make sure Sudan and the referendum remains on the agenda of the US Government, Simon walked barefoot through Congress visiting the offices of each congressperson.
For his tireless work to protect human rightsSimon was awarded with 2011 UN Watch Freedom Award.

activism4Simon Deng is a Sudanese-American leader and human rights activist. A native of the Shiluk Kingdom in southern Sudan, Deng spent several years as a domestic slave in northern Sudan. 

Born into a large family, Deng was raised as a Christian. His village of Tonga was a peaceful farming community, despite frequent raids by the Sudanese army where they burned huts and scattered livestock. "One of the first things I was told as a child — if the Arab men come, just run for your life," Deng recalls.  

When Deng was eight, the Sudanese army swept through his village. Deng was out watching his family's goats when transport trucks carrying troops suddenly appeared. He and his friends tried to escape, but one was shot in the legs and another in the back. Two blind elders in his village were burned alive in their homes. "I thought I was about to die," says Deng.

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Mohamed Yahya

Mohamed Yahya is a refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan and is the founder and Executive Director of Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy. From 1995 to 2005, he was Chairman and spokesman of the Representatives of the Massaleit Community in Exile, which was the first human rights group to alert the international community to human rights abuses in western Sudan.
Mr. Yahya was born in a small village east of Al-Geneina, the capital of Darmassaleit (West Darfur state). Both as a child and adult, he experienced the brutal racism that permeates Sudanese society. In 1993, his village witnessed the first attacks of the Sudanese government's Arab militia raiders, known as janjaweed. Yahya's home was completely decimated and most of his relatives and neighbors were shot, raped, or burned alive in their huts.
Yahya was studying at Al-Azhar University in Cairo at the time his village was destroyed. He received word that his parents were safe, but he lost 21 other family members. He subsequently began to receive firsthand reports of the terrible crimes that were being committed by the Sudanese government and its proxy force, the janjaweed.
It quickly became apparent to Yahya that Sudan's ruling regime was engaged in a campaign to rid western Sudan of its black African ethnic population. Yahya and other Sudanese students living in Cairo sought to alert the international community to the humanitarian crisis that had begun to unfold.
In 1995, they formed the Representatives of the Massaleit Community in Exile (RMCE). The RMCE's founding members came from many different ethnic Sudanese backgrounds including the Massaleit, Fur, Dajo, Zagawa, Bargo, Gimir, Tama, Berty, Barno, and Meme, in addition to people from the Nuba Mountains, southern Sudan and elsewhere.
Believing that the pen is mightier than the sword, the RMCE sought to protect the people of Darfur through peaceful means, including advocacy and public education. With no financial resources, Yahya and other members of the RMCE began this work by writing reports and circulating them on foot to all the international embassies in Cairo. Their first major open letter to the international community, "The Hidden Slaughter and Ethnic Cleansing in Western Sudan,” was distributed this way in 1999.
Over the next couple of years it was widely referenced by the United Nations General Assembly and Secretary-General Kofi Annan, along with organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. In this way, Yahya and other members of the RMCE were the first people to awaken the world to the unfolding genocide in Darfur.
Between 1999 and 2003, working in Cairo with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Yahya and the RMCE were also able to sponsor more than 20,000 refugees from various parts of Sudan. They helped ensure that nearly 95% of the people fleeing Sudan received political asylum and resettlement in Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States.
In 2002, fearing reprisal from the Sudanese government for his humanitarian and advocacy work, Yahya sought political asylum in the United States. After his relocation to Charlottesville, Virginia, Yahya founded Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, in order to continue and expand on the work of the RMCE.
Mohamed is a nominee of the 2010 Dan David Pulitzer Prize award.

yahyaMohamed Yahya is a refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan and is the founder and Executive Director of Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy. From 1995 to 2005, he was Chairman and spokesman of the Representatives of the Massaleit Community in Exile, which was the first human rights group to alert the international community to human rights abuses in western Sudan. 

Mr. Yahya was born in a small village east of Al-Geneina, the capital of Darmassaleit (West Darfur state). Both as a child and adult, he experienced the brutal racism that permeates Sudanese society. In 1993, his village witnessed the first attacks of the Sudanese government's Arab militia raiders, known as janjaweed. Yahya's home was completely decimated and most of his relatives and neighbors were shot, raped, or burned alive in their huts. 

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Charles Jacobs

cj_gets_freedom_award
Jacobs is receiving Boston Freedom Award from
Mayor Menino and Coretta Scott King
 
Dr. Charles Jacobs is the Co-Founder and President of the American Anti-Slavery Group – a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating modern-day human bondage and to promoting a non-politicized, bias-free human rights community.
Named by The Forward as one of America’s top 50 Jewish leaders, Jacobs has founded and led several highly successful start ups characterized by groundbreaking ideas and initiatives.
In July of 1994, he co-authored The New York Times article that broke the silence around modern-day slavery in Sudan and North Africa.  The widespread response inspired Charles, a Mauritanian Muslim and Sudanese Christian to launch the American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG), giving birth to the new abolitionist movement in the United States.
As the Chairman of The Sudan Campaign, Jacobs helped build an unlikely left-right coalition that eventually persuaded the US Government to stop the genocide and slave raids in Sudan (1956-2005).
In April of 2001 Jacobs flew into South Sudan on a rescue mission that, under the guidance of the Zurich-based rights group, Christian Solidarity International (CSI), freed thousands of slaves. In 2002, Jacobs met President George W. Bush at the signing of the Sudan Peace Act.
Under Charles’s leadership the AASG raised funds that liberated tens of thousands of Sudanese slaves and played an instrumental role in 2007 criminalization of slavery in Mauritania.
For his efforts, Jacobs was presented with the first-ever Boston Freedom Award by Martin Luther King’s widow, Coretta Scott King and Thomas Menino, the Mayor of Boston.
In January of 2011, Charles returned to South Sudan to witness the historic referendum on independence. He also documented two slave liberation missions conducted by CSI.
Charles has been widely published, including in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Jerusalem Post, and the Encyclopedia Britannica. He has appeared on local and national television and radio, including NBC, CBS, NPR, CNN and PBS. He currently writes a column for The Jewish Advocate.
Jacobs received his doctoral degree in social policy from Harvard University.
Topics:
Flaws in the human rights community
Genocide and slavery in Sudan
South Sudan – an emancipated nation
History of modern-day abolitionist movement in America
Modern day human bondage
For all inquiries contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dr. Charles Jacobs is the Co-Founder and President of the American Anti-Slavery Group – a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating modern-day human bondage and to promoting a non-politicized, bias-free human rights community.

Named by The Forward as one of America’s top 50 Jewish leaders, Jacobs has founded and led several highly successful start ups characterized by groundbreaking ideas and initiatives.

In July of 1994, he co-authored The New York Times article that broke the silence around modern-day slavery in Sudan and North Africa.  The widespread response inspired Charles, a Mauritanian Muslim and Sudanese Christian to launch the American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG), giving birth to the new abolitionist movement in the United States.

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