Sometimes street art says exactly what I am thinking. Not usually, since its illegal, but sometimes.
I am preparing to speak tomorrow night at Loyola Marymount University’s Take Back the Night event. Take Back the Night is a peaceful demonstration against violence, in its various forms, against women. LMU’s Sigma Chi Fraternity is hosting the event, along with UCLA’s Rape Crisis Center and a survivor – in this case, me.
Since I am simultaneously reading Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln I decided I needed a Power Point (Chapter 4), especially after reading that Benjamin Franklin said, “Save us from the orator with his flood of words and drop of reason.”
This chapter asks questions like: What is your bottom line purpose for this talk? What is your goal? (Hmmm… to make us get off our privileged behinds and commit to strategically and peacefully combating every injustice in the world all the days of our lives)
What I’ve realized over the last few days of reflecting, is that it is very easy to trigger people to care. At our core level, I think most of us desire heroic endeavors, adventurous risks, intimate, transparent relationships and we’re wired to care about injustice. That’s why awareness is so popular.
For example, yes, we know there are 27 million slaves in the world and thank God, many people are engaging in the fight against human trafficking – particularly the sex trade. For the most part, we can send money to other organizations, pray for the women and the traders, inspire people to feel remorse for victims, but when it comes to action, things get murky.
We’re consumers at heart. I don’t like to think of myself this way, but its a painful truth. When I think of those 27 million, I think about my clothes and my coffee and my sheets and my obsession with chocolate, because in reality the vast majority of that 27 million are labor trafficked. Kids in other nations, immigrants in the garment district of Los Angeles…
When we think of the slave trade no one really talks about this, because if we actually admitted we might have slaves working for us, we’d have to change everything. Buy fair trade, buy slave free clothes or shop at thrift stores, quit stopping at See’s Candy for a sample because they received a D- rating on the Not for Sale website. Sidebar: Check out the integrity of your favorite companies here: http://www.free2work.org/. And find out how many slaves currently work for you here: http://slaveryfootprint.org/
I am a big part of the consumption problem. I am part of the 20% in the world that consumes 80% of the stuff, and if you live in the US, you probably are too… which leads me back to tomorrow’s talk – I don’t want people to care. I want people to act.
Awareness is popular because its easy. Awareness coupled with action is lethal.
I wasted my life (and worked on my testimony) from age 18 to 21. I cannot imagine the war on hell I’d have waged at that critical age if I had channeled my wild woman ways into making a difference. I am thankful for my story because it opens people’s hearts and minds to care.
But more than that, I pray my story makes a way for justice to work itself out in the lives of these young people through action. Justice is love with skin on and if even one hears the oppressed cry and acts, our world will journey forward in restoration.
I hope that these young men leading us in lighting candles, walking that campus, and remembering women who have been raped, murdered, beaten or worse, will commit to leading their generation in the battle against consumption, greed, selfishness, pride and every injustice that rises from them. I hope that for myself as well.
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Winston Churchill