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Inspiring Fireside Chat Kicks Off Banned Books Week


Celebrating Banned Books Week in September, the Redwood

City Library Foundation (RCLF) kicked off scheduled activities

with a fireside chat with author Jabali Smith in the Redwood City

Downtown Library. Mr. Smith is the author of Slave: A Human

Trafficking Survivor Finds Life, an autobiographical account of

his time as a child slave and his life-long journey of recovery.

The event included an author’s reception and chat moderated

by Rosanne Foust, followed by a book signing.


When Mr. Smith was a 6-year-old in Berkeley, California, he and

his brother and sister were trafficked over the Mexican border

and held captive by a messianic doomsday sex cult. Mr. Smith

finally escaped and returned to Berkeley, where he became a

drug dealer. However, he eventually earned a “self-made PhD

in survival” and chose to turn his life around. “Slave” recounts

his experience as a child slave, his eventual escape, and how he

rose above this tragedy to become founder of The Well Child

Foundation, serving children and their need for empowerment.

He now wants to raise awareness about child abuse and

trafficking, which occurs everywhere, and encourages everyone

to stand up against it.


When asked to summarize his message, he said “Give a little of

yourself to the unfortunate. Loving yourself enables you to show

compassion for others.”


Jabali Smith recounts his harrowing tale and shares a remarkable message of hope with audience and moderator Rosanne Foust.