My recent post 'hands' meant to talk about lending your hands to those in need as I took the time to do with the Laundry Love project got quite a little stir going. Thanks to each of you who encouraged me with your thoughts on the project and on my involvement. Honestly, it was I who was blessed by the experience more than I'm sure I was able to bless anyone else.
This post reminds me a bit of the same song I used in that entry but another line...
Give me your arms for the brokenhearted...
This past weekend I attended a benefit concert called Sing: Freedom. The concert put on my CoffeeandPieStudios was to benefit the Florida Coalition against Human Trafficking. I was feeling more inspired for this cause a day or two before the concert when in casual conversation I heard a guy (in his late 20s) say, 'slavery doesn't exist in the US anymore'. You know your from America when you find ways to keep injustice from your mind, or in some cases ignore that they even exist. I (and perhaps we) live in a country in which it is easy to overlook our responsibilities to those less fortunate than ourselves.
The US Department of Justice states that 800,000 victims are trafficked across international borders every year. 18-20K of those victims are brought into the US, with Florida reportedly receiving a large percentage of those victims. Not only does this mean that slavery is very much alive in the US and in my own state of Florida but it is thriving in the desperation our economic crisis has brought on.
One story on the website speaks of an 11 year old girl sold into slavery by her own mother. That is how she came to live in the US but thankfully, that's not how her story ends. While her innocence and childhood were taken from her and her rescuers cannot hope to restore those, she has been freed and is living what the story describes as 'the life of a typical teenager'.
A difference is being made.
Sing: Freedom raised awareness that trafficking is happening even here in our own city. A speaker from the Coalition was present to tell stories of recovered victims who have been and are still being rehabilitated. Sing: Freedom also featured the musical talents of several local artists that included Pam Affronti, The Broken, Glasgow, and Watermark Church's worship band. It was an eclectic mix of styles but I was impressed with the talent of each group.
My eyes were opened to the issue of Trafficking by a coworker of mine who even now is in Cambodia working in a prostitute recovery facility for those coming out of this life. Her love for those who this injustice has broken down speaks volumes to me and to others around her. It was special to join her for the concert and in support of a wonderful cause. I hope to see in the years to come freedom for all who live on American soil, as well as those in other countries. I am not naive enough however, to believe that change can happen without me getting involved.
It is easy to want a change. Change has perhaps been the most overused word in the US vocab since the election campaign and continues to be thrown around flippantly nationwide today. Change requires action, from each of us. Hope all you want, but don't forget to get your hands dirty for a cause.
To join the cause, visit: http://www.stophumantrafficking.org/News.htm
If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other. - Carl Shurz