Slavery is not just a human rights violation found in history textbooks. Through the Rally for Freedom week-long campaign, university chapters of the International Justice Mission are calling attention to the 40 million people around the world who are currently enslaved.
IJM is a global Christian nonprofit dedicated to promoting the dignity of human lives by working to end human trafficking. This week, IJM has called on college students to call their senators and state representatives to ensure that Congress allocates funds towards ending modern slavery in their 2019 annual budget.
To join this movement, the UNC chapter of IJM set up a booth on the quad Tuesday. They handed out informational cards with instructions to text the phrase “RESCUE” to 52886 so that students could connect with their state representative.
Senior Rachel Ricks is a member of IJM who took part in this campaign and acknowledges the unique challenges of advocating for international issues.
“It’s hard to make people care about something that they can’t see,” Ricks said.
Senior Mandy Spalding is the president of the UNC chapter of the IJM and explains that everyone should be concerned about trafficking, because it is an urgent human rights issue.
“Regardless of who you are and where you come from, you are dignified,” Spalding said. “I think that the work that IJM does helps to restore a lot of the dignity that has been violated.”
Since becoming involved in the student group during her first year, Spalding has played an active role in nurturing the organization. Even though the number of club members has ebbed and flowed over the years, she appreciates how active club members have consistently done quality work for IJM.
“We’ve seen kind of a lot of fluctuation, as is pretty typical of college clubs, but it’s been really cool to see that grow and see our impact grow,” Spalding said. “We were able to raise a lot more money in the past couple of years than we had ever before just because of sheer manpower.”
Aside from events like Rally for Freedom, the club has other annual functions such as a benefit concert in the spring and a trunk show in the Pit to sell used clothes. The goal of this pop-up thrift shop is to raise awareness about human rights violations specifically in the process of manufacturing clothing.
These events align with the club’s core focus on fundraising, advocacy and prayer. Junior Kendall Bradley said the ministry of advocating for social justice issues is grounded in the organization’s commitment to faith.
“Personally, and I think for a lot of people in IJM, our passion for justice comes from the Lord,” Bradley said. “Part of God’s work in the world is to free people from injustice and to advocate for people who can’t advocate for themselves.”
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