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Melinda Metz

Founder + Executive Director

ALIVE Founder’s Message

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Melinda Metz was introduced to the issue of sex trafficking when her older sister was pulled into the life and exploited. This long journey was one that Melinda and her family endured, ultimately leaving a tragic mark.

It was during Melinda’s fight to love and understand the gravity of her sister’s plight that she learned of the darkness that is commercial sexual exploitation. Years later, Melinda found herself prepared with the heart to be an advocate for victims like her sister. As she entered the world of advocating for victims and survivors as a trained mentoring volunteer, she soon grew into operations and executive leadership roles which culminated with taking her deeper into what it truly means to be an ally, someone who can make a tangible and measurable difference in lives that had been ravaged by the evil of sexual exploitation in all its forms. 

This endeavor provided a unique opportunity for Melinda to understand the devastating truth of how underrepresented and underserved Black victims and survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking are, not only in Houston, but across the country. It was a no brainer that she had to contribute. 

Melinda knew she could not take on the mission of being a voice and shedding light on this issue alone. Through prayer, meditation, spiritual guidance, and strategic planning she placed it in God’s hands and in his timing. Surprisingly, God’s timing took a while and would manifest the summer of 2020 during a once in generation, pandemic spreading like wildfire. Humanity, experiencing an unprecedented global event, frightened and unsure, with one constant… God’s providence. 

July 2020, while walking diagonally through the guest bedroom at her mother-in-law’s home, Melinda felt a divine nudge. It was enough to grab her attention and then the message came through; “Reach out to Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher and tell her about ALIVE.” “No!” Was her first response, probably second and third, too. Soon Melinda was clear that she was to reach out to a champion of anti-human trafficking, a woman deeply respected for her work as a Survivor Leader who has accomplished the exceptional at the local, state, national and international levels. A stranger, although one Melinda was familiar with as she had followed Dr. Hatcher’s work. 

They had a short conversation and Melinda told Dr. Hatcher she would soon be back in Houston, and she’d reach out when home and settled. She didn’t. Melinda let the doubt sink in. Then, she received a message from Dr Hatcher saying, “If you’re supposed to call me… you need to call me.” So, she did. 

What has grown out of this connection is nothing short of divine and predestined. Melinda provided Dr. Hatcher the rundown of ALIVE’s vision, and it resonated with her. Dr. Hatcher saw the vision for ALIVE to bring awareness, education, and prevention into the Black community through innovative events and national partnerships. Thereby, bringing much needed attention to an underserved community who is losing their future, young girls and boys, men, and women, and LBGTQIA to commercial sexual exploitation. 

Lightning struck two women, from different parts of the country, with different life experiences, who each saw the need for change to save lives in the Black community from this evil scourge. Marian and Melinda, Founder and Co-Founder, bound together, in one accord, being one in heart and mind, the furthest points of a diagonal, joined together to build a deep and resonating strategy, to breathe life into ALIVE and a forgotten community.

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Melinda Metz

Founder + Executive Director

ALIVE Founder’s Message

testimonial - about-alive (New )

The ALIVE story was birthed through the divinely ordained meeting of two strangers living 2000 miles apart… Houston, Texas and Los Angeles, California. Both had a vision circulating within their spheres of influence how to truly fight sex trafficking in the Black community. The end game is to eradicate sex trafficking, by taking a critical look while addressing obstacles that have      impacted sex trafficking in the Black community for decades. We aim to accomplish this by courageously addressing cultural barriers.  

Melinda and Ken’s, individual pain, connected to become a powerful joint purpose. Melinda was introduced to sex trafficking when her older sister was pulled into the life and exploited. This long journey was one that Melinda and her family endured,      ultimately leaving a sad mark. It was during Melinda’s fight to love and understand the gravity of her sister’s plight that she learned of the darkness that is commercial sexual exploitation. Years later, Melinda found herself prepared with the heart to be an advocate for victims like her sister. As she entered the world of advocating for victims and survivors as a trained mentoring volunteer, she soon grew into operations and executive leadership roles which culminated with taking her deeper into what it truly means to be an ally, someone who can make a tangible and measurable difference in lives that had been ravaged by the evil of sexual exploitation in all its forms.

In 2016, Melinda and her Executive Director, both well-respected and revered human trafficking allies in Houston, left their leadership positions at a Houston-based anti-sex trafficking organization and set out to establish The Landing, the only human trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation drop in center in Houston, Texas. This endeavor led Melinda into a unique opportunity for her to understand the devastating truth of how underrepresented and underserved Black victims and survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking are, not only in Houston, but the country. It was a no brainer that she had to take action. Melinda knew she could not take on the mission of being a voice and shedding light on this issue alone. Through prayer, meditation, spiritual guidance and strategic planning, she set out to Los Angeles to learn from the progressive efforts made in the region regarding mobilizing the Black community in assuring Black victims and survivors are appropriately represented with adequate prevention, awareness/education, victim services. During Melinda’s time in Los Angeles she met and worked with ALIVE’s current Co-founder Ken Henry, who at the time was Chair of the Compton California Human Trafficking Task Force. This encounter resulted in a friendship that led to a professional relationship giving birth to ALIVE.

Ken Henry is a certified Life Coach and Sociologist who was first introduced to the dark world of sex trafficking while working in the foster care industry in Southern California. Foster children have been one of America’s most vulnerable populations as it relates to sex trafficking. Ken spent years working to prevent foster and former-foster children from becoming victims. His latter years of working with at-risk families and witnessing the ravaging affects on individuals and families, further ignited his fire to end sex trafficking. Ken’s career and well-respected reputation lead him to be a graduate of the first class of the “National Human Trafficking Leadership Academy” with the United States Government. 

As Ken’s generous acumen advanced in the fight against human trafficking, he realized the imbalance in the number of Black sex trafficking victims and representation of leadership and services targeted towards them. He took this matter to heart and joined forces with a group of minority community leaders to establish the Compton Human Trafficking Task Force to focus much of its effort in the Black community. He would later become Chair of the task force. While Ken is no longer Chairperson, he remains on the steering committee, helping guide the efforts of the task force.

When Ken and Melinda discovered their mutual dedication and resolve to assure Black victims and survivors receive adequate and appropriate services that are culturally competent and trauma informed, they knew it was time to go profoundly deeper into measurable solution. This decision led to the creation of ALIVE – Alliance of Leadership & Innovation for Victims of Exploitation, a 501(c)3. ALIVE      is committed to bringing about sustainable change in helping to end sex trafficking and all forms of sexual violence and exploitation in the Black community.

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Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher

Co-Founder

  With great esteem and immeasurable gratitude, ALIVE receives sound expertise and encouraging direction from Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher positioning ALIVE to be a first response to the take action to bring about effective change in the human sex trafficking and exploitation in the Black community in the United States. 

Marian proudly represents, SPACE International (Survivors of Prostitution Calling for Enlightenment) as a U.S. Representative. SPACE is a survivor led organization representing 10 countries. She has worked as a civilian member of law enforcement for 15 years and is a national expert on combating the demand, sitting on numerous boards and facilitating trainings on trafficking and prostitution for various law enforcement groups including the F.B.I. and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

She has traveled the country and abroad, speaking at various events and conferences, shedding light on the prevalent issue of trafficking and telling her own story as a survivor of sex trafficking and domestic violence.

On December 22, 2017, Dr. Hatcher was granted Executive Clemency by Governor Bruce Rauner for drug and prostitution offenses related to her exploitation and was honored on Congressional Record for Black History Month on February 28, 2018 by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois.

Marian’s story of survival and policy leadership have been featured in numerous documentaries including Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Prostitution: Leaving the Life”; Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof’s “A Path Appears”; Mary Mazzio’s “I am Jane Doe”; The Guardian’s “The Trap: The Deadly Sex Trafficking Cycle in American Prisons” and most recently, “From Liberty to Captivity.” 

Dr. Hatcher received the 2016 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service from President Barack Obama. In 2014 Marian was awarded Shared Hope International’s “Path Breaker Award”, presented to dedicated policy makers tackling the demand that drives domestic minor sex trafficking.

We are grateful to be working with such a fine example of solution as Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher helping to shape ALIVE into the leading organization addressing prevention of human sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the Black community.

“History has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can
take on a life of its own.“

– Michelle Obama

Who We Are

ALIVE is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on combatting the pervasive issue of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the Black community through, awareness, prevention, research and innovation. ALIVE began as a grass roots community effort in 2019 with survivors, advocates and allies.

ALIVE has expanded its vision to become a respected national leader dedicated to supporting, protecting and equipping members of the Black community through awareness and prevention that can be harnessed to combat sex trafficking and save lives.

ALIVE is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on combatting the pervasive issue of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the black community through, awareness, prevention, research and innovation. ALIVE began as a grass roots community effort in 2019 with sex trafficking advocates and allies from Houston, TX, Los Angeles, CA and Dallas, TX. ALIVE has expanded its vision to become a respected national leader dedicated to supporting, protecting and equipping members of the Black community through awareness and prevention that can be harnessed to combat sex trafficking.

Why We Exist

Did you know that in 2012 the U.S. Department of Justice reported that 62% of human trafficking victims, including both children and adults, are Black?

Black women are overlooked victims facing unprecedented racism and sexism at pandemic levels and can no longer be ignored. We at ALIVE are dedicated to prioritizing Black identity, as well as preserving it, making sure it is protected from the snares of sex trafficking by bringing awareness and prevention to the Black community.

Did you know that in 2012 the U.S. Department of Justice reported that 62% of human trafficking victims, including both children and adults, are Black? The ‘intersectional invisibility’ of Black women, whereby they are overlooked victims facing unprecedented racism and sexism is a pandemic that can no longer be ignored. Therefore, we at ALIVE are dedicated to prioritizing their identity as well as preserving it by making sure they are protected from the snares of sex trafficking by bringing awareness and prevention to the Black community so they, too, can join the fight for their village.

Our Mission

ALIVE is dedicated to ending sex trafficking in the Black Community by leveraging awareness and prevention through innovative solution-focused events.

Our Vision

To Behold the Black Community free from sex trafficking and exploitation.

Our Purpose

Our Purpose is to respond to the impact and ongoing harm of exploitation, addressing cultural barriers and collaborate to heal a hurting community.

By hosting and/or collaborating in large and small-scale events, ALIVE educates communities of color and society at large about the Urban experience in the sex trade.

Boldness | Faith | Truth

We fearlessly seek to stand in faith for what is true and right.

Social Equity | Diversity | Inclusiveness

We aim to create a culture of fairness, justice and equality that is accessible to all people and respect that we all belong to a Creator who has designed us for love and inclusion. 

Transparency | Dignity | Integrity

We commit to connecting with humanity by being honest and clear, cherishing each other’s credos and cultivating relationship wholeness.  

LEADERSHIP

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Melinda Metz

CO-FOUNDER + EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Melinda is a visionary, critical thinker, philanthropist and lover of humanity. Her extensive knowledge of sex trafficking through her work and relationships she’s built throughout her years of mentoring and advocating for sex trafficking survivors, and the invaluable knowledge she learned from survivor leaders, has positioned Melinda as a seasoned survivor ally.

melinda metz - about-alive (New )

Melinda Metz

CO-FOUNDER + EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Melinda is a visionary, critical thinker, philanthropist and lover of humanity. Her extensive knowledge of sex trafficking through her work and relationships she’s built throughout her years of mentoring and advocating for sex trafficking survivors, and the invaluable knowledge she learned from survivor leaders, has positioned Melinda as a seasoned survivor ally.

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Ken Henry

CO-FOUNDER + DIR. OF OPERATIONS

As chair of the Compton Human Trafficking Task Force, Ken is a dedicated trafficking advocate, educating members of the Black community through awareness and prevention. His work with victims of human trafficking and mentoring combined with his knowledge of brain science has made it possible for him to make tremendous strides with human trafficking survivors. 

Board of Directors

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Melinda Metz

BOARD PRESIDENT
ALIVE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Jerron Mosley

MEMBER-AT-LARGE
FOUNDER + PRESIDENT | DIGNITY OUTLOUD

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Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher

SECRETARY
SPACE INTERNATIONAL

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Melinda Metz

BOARD PRESIDENT
ALIVE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Donald R Parish, Jr

BOARD SECRETARY
FOUNDER +CEO I A STEADY HAND

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Ken Henry

BOARD TREASURER
ALIVE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

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Jerron Mosley

MEMBER-AT-LARGE
FOUNDER + PRESIDENT | DIGNITY OUTLOUD