Last week, all across America, people ‘shined a light in slavery’ by changing their profile pictures to a red x that read “end it”, by posting instagrams stating that 27 million people in the world are in slavery, and by marking a red x on their hand as an opportunity to share about modern day slavery. The End it Movement, started by the Passion folks, was an effort to raise awareness about the fact that slavery still exists today.
The website has a wealth of information about modern day slavery. And last week, Christ-followers were on a mission to raise awareness.
But now what? Now that thousands of people are aware of the tragedy that is happening around the world and in our backyard, will anything change? Will this End it Movement just be another Kony 2012 craze? Was this just an internet sensation that got some good buzz? Over a week later, most profile pictures are back to selfies, and I don’t see even faded red x’s on hands. Have we already begun to forget?
The truth is; information without action is still inaction.
Compassion without action is apathy.
Now that we know, we are responsible to act. So let’s do something. Because slavery is a complex problem, ending it will require a strategic, complex solution. Even though the problem is vast, there are small steps we can take to make a real difference. This is, by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a start. Here are some practical ways that we can work to end modern day slavery:
- Continue to learn about slavery. Let’s do some legitimate research to learn about the different types of slavery that exist in the world, where slavery exists in the world, and what organizations that are already working to end slavery.
- Get honest about how our choices are perpetuating slavery. Our everyday choices are perpetuating slavery. The clothes that we wear, the food that we purchase, even the porn that we hide can all be perpetuating the slavery of others. Take 5 minutes and learn about your slavery footprint or pick up the book Everyday Justice and learn about how you can change your everyday choices to bring freedom to others.
- Change our buying habits. Simply learning about how our consumption affects others isn’t enough. We must stop buying items that are costing others their freedom. As we do, clothing companies, grocery stores, and other retailers will get the message, and may adopt fair practices for workers.
- Give financially to organizations that are working to end slavery – There are legitimate organizations that have dedicated years to the research of ending slavery. They have researched best practices and are implementing justice. These organizations need financial support to continue their mission, so let’s give to them.
- Volunteer at organizations that are working to end slavery – Let’s research local organizations that are working to end slavery and connect with them. There are countless ways for volunteers to plug in at not for profit organizations, so let’s plug in.
- Pray for those enslaved, and for those that are fighting for their freedom – Sometimes we discount the power of prayer, because we want to do something practical. International Justice Mission, one of the best-known organizations for its work to end slavery, starts every day with 30 minutes of silence and solitude, and then gathers together as a staff once daily to pray together. They recognize the central importance of God’s work in this work of freedom. They pray and they act. This is a good model for us.
- Don’t forget – It’s a sad commentary on our lives, but often, we get fired up about something, and then, over time, when the media stops reminding us, and our calendars fill with engagements, and life moves on, we move on. It’s important for us to find ways to stay engaged in the work of justice and freedom. Volunteering and giving financially are sure ways to remain engaged. Let’s not confuse an emotional reaction to a type of action. Getting involved will keep you reminded.
Seeking to end slavery in our lifetime will mean sacrifice and work on our behalf. If we are truly in it to end it, let’s start acting.
Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. – Isaiah 1:17