I just walked in the door from a very encouraging evening where two moms from San Juan Capistrano invited friends of theirs to see the rockumentary film Call and Response. I came in a bit late and was thrilled to see about 20 people, both men and women watching the film. What a great turn out! As I set my purse down in another room I noticed there were freshly baked lemon bars, banana cream pie, coffee and fair trade wines to set the hospitable setting; I am always amazed at what moms can do. Although I have seen the film about 8 times now, it never disappoints. I continue to find Cornel West’s comments both witty, wise, and poignant – someday I would love to meet him. I appreciate the music in the film more now than the first time I saw it and now find myself mouthing the words and swaying to the music. And this time proved the same as the last – I am empowered my the film’s message – respond. Find your response to what you just learned. Respond. This seems to be the hard part for most of us.
After the film, the hosts invited me up to field some questions. I appreciate the honesty of the first comment as it touches on what most people feel when first coming to the reality of this issue – “I am paralyzed by this issue and not sure what to do.” Oh – I wish I had an hour with this dear woman to brainstorm and flush out all the emotion that is felt when facing the reality of modern day slavery. What I did suggest and suggest to everyone who feels the same is to push through and do something. It doesn’t have to be a big action, just something simple. So here are a few ideas on what that first something could be: 1) Start with signing up on one non-profits website so that you can begin to receive updates through emails with what is going on in the issue. See the side bar of this blog for my recommendations. 2) Go to chainstorereaction.com and send an email to a company you know and ask them what they are doing to monitor their supply chain. 3) Read a book on the subject. I believe once one is educated just a little on the issue that they may begin to see their everyday surroundings a little different. 4) Buy something fair trade. 5) Give $25 to an organization that is working directly in this area. Again see side bar of this blog for suggestions. 6) Pray – I am person of faith and I believe if you ask God for direction in this, He will answer – you may be a bit overwhelmed with His answer, so I say this with a warning:)
Write your action on a post-it and put it on your computer and take it off when you do that one action. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do something. I believe the hardest thing is the first thing. Then you realize it isn’t that hard and it doesn’t take much time and you will find yourself doing it again.
Another comment from tonight addressed the concern for the demand side of the problem of sex trafficking. Ah this issue isn’t very simple. There isn’t a silver bullet and yes, we have to address the demand side. With all great evils of the world, the human heart is at the center. Is it ever okay to use someone for your own gratification? How one answers this question will determine how one thinks about reducing the demand side and what solutions should be pursued. As a person of faith, a follower of Jesus, I believe each human is created in the image of its Creator and therefore it is never okay to use another for ones own personal gratification. Reducing a person to a commodity, to an object for one’s own pleasure is a distortion of God’s own image. So this is where my line is drawn and so reducing the demand side of the issue is much broader and a much bigger problem to address. I am not even close to being an expert on this, so will simply leave it here until I can point to some good resources on the issue.
These hard questions and the fact that people are showing up to learn more is what is incredibly encouraging to me. The conversation is rising and people are engaging. There is a movement and I thrilled to be apart of it. There is a freedom, a peace of mind, and comfort of heart once on the other side of paralysis and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t done something to start. Thank you Sheryl and Melissa for stepping over that line of paralysis and raising the level of engagement. May others follow your lead.