There is something truly remarkable about the power our words have over each other. We have the power to lift someone up, to unite people, to share stories; words literally form a society. There is also some sort of catharsis that happens when we share stories with one another; specifically when an act of injustice has happened to us. When we share our stories and have someone agree with us about a wrong done to us, it brings a sense of resolution, regardless of actually resolving anything.
It seems sometimes that we can become so enamored with our own lives and world that we forget about the fact that there are so many injustices happening every day. With issues like the mistreatment of children, abject poverty, anti-feminism, lack of medical care, FGM and unfair economic practices; it can seem contrite to think of our little wrongdoings as actual injustice.
On December 30, 2013, President Barack Obama made January the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Bringing to light issues that face families and specifically the lives of children being sold for sex. He states:
Over a century and a half after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, millions remain in bondage–children forced to take part in armed conflict or sold to brothels by their destitute families, men, and women who toil for little or no pay, who are threatened and beaten if they try to escape. Slavery tears at our social fabric fuel violence and organized crime and debases our common humanity. During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we renew our commitment to ending this scourge in all its forms.
With January being the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we want to present a different approach to typical forms of raising awareness. I can often so easily click like on a Facebook post or share an article and feel a small level of gratification from doing so, and although those are excellent forms of raising awareness and definitely essential, how can we move further into action; when so many injustices demand action.
There is a quote by Edmund Burke that says,
All it takes for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
We must run away from the mindset that merely liking a post or venting our frustration accomplishes anything. We must push further into taking that frustration into righteous action.
I encourage you to make a difference this month. With January also being the start of a new year, start your year by changing another person’s life for the better. Start with the ones you love and branch out from there. Share your frustrations, statistics, stories; but also turn those frustrations into righteous action. Give your time, money, or talents to organizations that rescue those affected by slavery and human trafficking. Find local organizations in your community that need volunteers. Pray. Advocate for at-risk children in your neighborhood.
Although some of us may not know what it is like to go through these experiences, and although we may not know someone who has gone through these experiences, that does not mean that we don’t have the ability to have compassion for a cause, that leads into action that affects change.