It Starts With Me

Today, I began a journey that is going to change my worldview forever.

We live isolationist lives, not really caring about anything unless it affects us personally. We cringe when we hear about beheadings; we sigh at the news of another bombing; we shake our heads when another girl disappears overseas, but that’s it. Close the browser. Change the channel. Out of sight; out of mind. Ignorance is bliss after all.

I can’t live that way anymore; so I did something drastic.

I shaved my head.

Did you know that some girls who are trafficked and sold into slavery have their heads shaved? Sometimes, it’s an act of punishment, to shame them; sometimes, to mark them for identification if they try to escape; and sometimes, it’s symbolic for removing their identity.

So here’s the deal. I’m not capable of pulling some Liam Neeson-style of reconnaissance and recovery of these girls; I don’t have that very particular set of skills. What I can do, however, is help raise awareness for some of the real-life heroes who are equipped to make actual change in the lives of the lost. So, I shaved my head as a symbol for those who have lost everything, with the hope of raising funds and awareness to give these girls back their freedom.

But let’s take a step back.

First, the cause: Human Trafficking. We tend to feel like slavery is nothing but a history lesson, when in reality, reports show that there are more people living as slaves in the world today than ever before. Take a minute to let that sink in. There are approximately 27,000,000 people trapped in slavery today. Chances are, you had no idea; I sure didn’t. And if that wasn’t bad enough, 99% of those people will never find their freedom. That means one percent actually gets rescued. Yea, that sucks and all, but that only happens in like, rural Africa, in villages somewhere that no one knows about. Actually, the Polaris Project reports an estimated 14,500-17,500 people trafficked into the United States from outside countries every year. That number doesn’t even include how many U.S. nationals fall victim to trafficking with every tick of the clock. Do I have your attention yet? No? This is Nicole’s story, she was a victim of trafficking for seven years, right here in our own backyard:

So, what can we do?

The campaign: A21 is an organization committed to breaking down the 32-billion-dollar-a-year-business of human trafficking. They focus on four basic principles: prevention, protection, partnerships, and prosecution. With offices in ten cities (nine countries) across the globe, they set up safe houses for victims to stay, provide medical and emotional rehabilitation, provide education of skills, prosecute traffickers, give hope and a future. They give people back their lives.

Take the next step with me.

The plan: I shaved my head to start discussions and raise awareness, but I can’t do it alone! I’m not asking you to shave your head in solidarity. I am asking you to help me spread the word and to donate.

  1. Go to my fundraising page and donate! This page is provided by A21; so all of your funds go directly into their hands. The full breakdown of what your money will provide can be found here.
  2. Spread the word! Go to Facebook and share the post. Repost on Instagram. Go retweet the information. Click here to Tweet: Help raise $21K to fight modern day slavery #ItStartsWithMe @A21 #ItStartsWithOne: http://ctt.ec/cVjWb+

The goals:

  1. Raise awareness about the reality of present day slavery. Grow the conversation but don’t let it end there; take action yourself!
  2. Raise $21,000 for the A21 campaign. All by April 21st (get it?).

That’s only five weeks people! Can we do it?

I gave up 21 inches of hair to help reach people. Imagine what you could do by giving up $21. How can you impact a life by cutting back on Starbucks for a week? Can you help someone regain their freedom by waiting to buy that blu ray? It only takes a thousand people willing to spare $21 to reach our goal. Don’t have $21? No problem! Donate $5; donate $1! Any little bit helps. Have more that you’re able to give? Awesome!

The response: I’m hoping to raise global awareness for a problem that just keeps growing. With whatever money we are able to raise together, I’m believing that lives will be changed forever. I believe God works miracles and I believe He can use me as an open door to make life-altering changes in countless lives through A21. Please join with me; five minutes of your time can literally save lives. We like to pretend that certain issues don’t exist, and do everything we can to block them out. We so often take our freedoms for granted; I don’t want to be that way anymore. I don’t want to live a life of complacency. Do you?

So are you in? Will you take a stand with me for the 27 million trapped in slavery?

#ItStartsWithOne #ItStartsWithMe

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