Having children changes they way I think about everything. Growing up I'd watch movies with my family and during every sappy or emotional scene- (you know, when the couple finally makes up in the pouring rain or Bambi loses his Mom, or poor Old Yeller gets shot)- without fail I'd look over at my Mom and see her dabbing her tear-soaked face. When you're young you sort of think, "OK Mom, get a grip. It's not real." But since I've had kids I swear I've teared up at commercials...and don't even get me started on the movie "Up." Having kids changes the way I see the world- it changes the things that break my heart because my world is pinned up and intertwined in the lives of two innocent children...and I can't help but see the world, the good and bad, as if it could happen to them.
So it has changed the way I think about the issue of child slavery. I've known that slavery exists...but I haven't really WANTED to know. I didn't want to let my heart be too broken...to let it be too real to me. Then it didn't have to be my issue. It is harder to ignore it now.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
See, the truth about human trafficking evokes in my heart painfully polar opposite responses: When I read about children being sexually exploited again and again, I feel an anger and a passion to do something, and at the same time a numbness and helplessness to lift a finger- I think of my own children and feel emotionally close to these victims, and in the same moment I feel galaxies away from the reality of their circumstances. The sad truth is that sometimes I want so badly for the misery and evil that is human trafficking to be history- so guilty for my own freedom in comparison- that I close my eyes and pretend that the whole of slavery really is far enough away from me that I cannot help.
But that is simply. not. true.
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the past year I have had the honor to be part of a "Love146 Task Force." Love146 is an organization that is dedicated to raising awareness about modern day slavery and human trafficking, and seeking to end such slavery through aftercare, prevention, and research. Love146 not only works with other like-minded organizations, but they've also had the unique foresight to encourage groups of people from every walk of life to partner with them. These groups of people form multiple Task Forces, like the one I'm part of, across the country. I am small. Our "task force" is not even ten people strong, and truth be told there is not a lot we can do on our own. But each time we meet- each time we educate ourselves and other about the truth of slavery- each time we give our voice, time, or resources to collectively stand up to slavery- we are choosing freedom.
"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our task force recently put on an event for teens to raise awareness about human trafficking in our community. We actually added members to our group that way...so momentum is building. And we are putting on another event for those in the East Hampton, CT area:
Slavery still exists. We have the power to end it.
On April 27 at 7:00pm at Epoch Arts youth from East Hampton and the surrounding area respond to the issue of modern day slavery through a collection of artistic media. There is a minimum donation of $7. All the proceeds will go to Love 146, an organization that combats slavery and human trafficking in the United States and abroad. Come educate yourself about this urgent issue and find out how you can help!
If you are in the area I encourage you to come! It is an overwhelming issue to face, but you will find yourself among a sea of others who have decided that to do nothing is not an option- to simply become aware of the issue- to not overlook it- is a huge stride towards change.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce
The more freedom we enjoy, the greater the responsibility we bear, toward others as well as ourselves. -- Oscar Arias Sanchez
Labels: End Child Exploitation/Trafficking, Social Justice