Many of the people visiting this blog want to know the answer to a simple question: “How do I become an activist?” Singer / songwriter Kim Edwards writes for us about her own journey to getting involved.
It was 2008. I was sitting in the auditorium of my college while the guest speaker recounted a story of a young woman who had been sold as a slave. He spoke of the hard manual labor and sexual abuse she suffered... of the inhumane living conditions and the constant fear she endured. And while my mind painted a picture of a horrid scene occurring in a time and place far removed from me, his next words shattered it all: she was only recently rescued in the last year, after having spent months in a cage in a basement in suburbia... in the very city I was living in. And... it was not an isolated incident; her story was just one of many across the world.
And thus was the first time I had ever heard of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
I'm not sure how I had managed to be ignorant for so long, but that evening sparked a vow to be ignorant no longer. I began watching documentaries, reading books (like David Batstone's "Not For Sale"), researching online... anything I could do to become more informed. But having information alone does nothing, and I found myself wanting to take action, to help some way, somehow.
As a singer/songwriter, I know I'll never be the one kicking in doors and raiding human trafficking rings. I'm not cut out to be the legislator that passes laws and fights in the political arena. And I probably won't be the doctor or the therapist that helps rehabilitate the victims.
But what I am able to do, I do. So while I may not be on the front lines with hands-on action, I have been able to team up with organizations that are. Mostly, I have played benefit shows to raise money and support their work in the fight against modern-day slavery. I also work to raise awareness, both on and off the stage, because sometimes the first step is to simply be informed and educated.
I also am a big believer in prevention, and I encourage child sponsorship through organizations like World Vision which work in impoverished and at-risk communities. By providing children with support, education and other resources early on, it decreases the chances of finding themselves exploited later.
So whatever you can do, I encourage you to do so. Get informed. Bring awareness to others. Get involved, and if you're not sure where to start, I highly recommend checking out www.notforsalecampaign.org (it has some great resources and practical action steps for students). But most importantly: do.
About the Guest Author:
Kim Edwards is a 24-year-old East-coast-raised singer/songwriter currently based out of Dallas, TX. She recently released her first full-length album, "Wanderlust," which reached the top #25 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts. You can find out more about Kim at: