The response to my last post has been overwhelming. People are reading and not only that, people are sharing. I’m so incredibly thankful to all of you. Thank you thank you thank you. Surprisingly, at least to me, the people who’ve been the most affected by my post have been men. I can’t tell you how happy and hopeful that makes me. It’s the beginnings of something good when the ones who have the power to inflict such devastating harm are the ones heartbroken and ready to go fight. To those wonderful men, thank you, and please don’t stop.
As promised, I have a few ways that we can all get involved in fighting this battle. I said this before but I think it is worth repeating: delegating the task to people who are “more passionate” is a shameful, stupid excuse. Don’t even think that, let alone say it out loud. In my currently passionately furious state, I might kick you in the face….in love, of course. If everyone steps up and takes their place, no matter how seemingly insignificant, this war might be over before we know it. Feeling overwhelmed by the statistics is also a shameful excuse. Could you stand in front of a trafficked 5-year-old and say, “I’m not doing anything to help you because there are 27 million others like you out there and that number’s too huge and I’m so small. Your individual life is not precious enough for me to help.” They aren’t just numbers; they are people, God’s children. And each one is so incredibly valuable.
A friend recently reminded me of the famous story about a little boy who, upon finding hundreds of starfish stranded on the shores of a beach, began tossing them back into the ocean one at a time. Some well-intentioned man came along and said to the boy, “Son, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You’ll never make a difference!” And as he tossed another one back into the ocean that wise little boy responded with a smile, “I made a difference for that one.” That should be us. There must have been a reason Jesus told us that we are to have faith like a child in order to enter his kingdom. We’re not being asked to save the whole world or rescue every single sex slave, child soldier, or sweatshop worker. But we aren’t being asked to sit with our arms folded, too overwhelmed to act. Next time you start feeling overwhelmed, think: starfish, one at a time.
This list is organized from seemingly least dangerous to seemingly most dangerous :
- Pray: this is the easiest thing you can do. Not called to go? Perfectly fine. Instead pray for those who are going. Pray for those who are already there fighting. Pray for those little ones living in hell. Pray for redemption, salvation, hope, love. Pray that they become stories of the redemptive power of Love and Grace. If you dare, pray that God meets those pimps and traffickers in the middle of their depravity and wins them over to His side so that they can fight against injustice too. Pray. Everyday. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer, especially when you’re calling heaven to move on behalf of people that are special to the heart of God.
- Raise awareness: The millions of people enslaved today have no voice. You do. Speak for them. Make it so that no one can say, “I had no idea that was happening.” Make T-shirts, make posters, write blogs, use your Facebook and Twitter. Whatever your sphere of influence, use it to raise awareness for this cause.
- Give: I know the “poor college student” excuse because I’ve used it so many times already. The truth is, we’re not poor college students. If we can afford lavish spring break trips and $40 graduation dresses and going out for drinks with friends every weekend and a Starbucks addiction, we are not poor college students. If you’re going to be in debt, be in debt for giving your money away for causes that matter. (Although being in debt is not God’s intention for our finances, but that’s another matter.)
- Write: Write to your state representatives, to the government. It might seem insignificant but if there were thousands, maybe even millions of people, writing regularly I guarantee you someone will pay attention. One of my favorite professors writes every single day and has done so for years until she eventually got a response. And she’s only one. We can all do so much more together.
- Boycott: I’d always heard that Wal-Mart had terrible practices regarding their supply chain and their workers. But of course, this poor college student wanted the best deals on groceries so I went there for all of three years. Until I became a sweatshop worker for five minutes last weekend. You will never find me shopping at a Wal-Mart ever again. Those people’s lives are far more precious than me saving a couple bucks. Top 10 companies to avoid? (from Better World Shopper’s Guide).
Archer Daniels Midland
In addition to that, think about where you buy your clothes. Getting cheap, cute clothes at the expense of someone’s life and emotional health and safety is not worth it. Spend a few more dollars elsewhere and force those companies to reevaluate their production decisions. You can also go to Chain Store Reaction and start a reaction at popular companies to end forced labor in the supply chain.
- Join the passionate: There are so many great organizations working to end modern-day slavery. They need people to transform their vision into reality so get on board. Give up a summer or a year and be an intern or volunteer. Who knows, you might love it so much that you never leave. You get to use so many gifts – Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, Creative Writing, Social Work, Law, Medicine, etc. These are a few of my favorites: IJM, Not For Sale, iEmpathize, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves. Check ’em out. Look for more.
- Get creative: My friend and I are talking about getting people together, making T-shirts and large signs and standing at the intersection of I-70 and I-25. Because that’s the largest trafficking location in the US and we live merely minutes away from it. We might get arrested, who knows. The God I serve has been known to orchestrate jailbreaks. I have crazier ideas that are not well developed yet so I won’t write them on here, but they certainly are in the works. God gave us brains and hearts, let’s be creative and find new and old ways to fight injustice.
This list barely scratches the surface. If you know of other ways, leave a comment and let me know, please? Let’s look for more ways to do this together. One precious person at a time. Just like starfish.
Here’s some info from one of you lovely readers. If you’re in the Denver area and are free tonight, please go?
“…my church is sponsoring a benefit concert in Denver tomorrow – 3/31/11 – for Love146, an organization that fights child sex trafficking. It’s at Casselman’s Bar & Venue, 2820 Walnut St. at 7:00, $10, 21 & up.”