Dance On Trafficking

Come over here! Pull up a chair, my comrades, countrymen and co-conspirators . . . Because I’ve got something REALLY special (eeeeeeeek!) to share with you. (Wait for it . . .)

I’m linking my arms and my heart with the good people at Love146 in their efforts to raise awareness and finances for the ongoing and arduous task of rescuing children around the world who are caught in slavery’s net. Love146 runs a campaign every year called Tread On Trafficking, a global invitation for anyone who wears shoes to put that tread to good use by fighting slavery in any creative way possible. The most familiar ways that people contribute to this event are through running, walking, working out and biking – all with the intent of asking sponsors to help them meet their fundraising goal. Every cent raised goes directly to Love146.

So, I had another idea of how to use our feet to fight all the bad traffick and I am SUPER excited to share it with you. But first you gotta turn the imagination place inside your brain all the way up. Ready? Let’s GO!

When my kids hit the dance floor and go entirely loose-limbed to the make-you-move tunes, in my mama-estimation they personify the highest and holiest definition of what it means for a child to be wildly and audaciously free. They are conscienceless of their legs and arms spinning and stomping and could care like nothing about how they look, praise be to God. They simply show the universe what it means to be all the way alive in the bodies and souls they were given. And there is certainly no greater joy as a parent than to watch the uninhibited nature of a child and my only thought in that moment of witnessing their unbridled motion is that THIS is one of life’s purest fragrances – the artless liberty of the young human spirit.

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But you and I know that dancing with liberty isn’t an option or even a speck of thought on the radar of choice for millions of boys and girls around this orbiting globe. More to the point: children everywhere live the sum-total-opposite of what it means for a child to be alive. And the grief and tears that rise up in our throats with that reality is too big and toxic to swallow back down and how? How do we make an endless atrocity right? What else on earth can we do to press back against the darkness that devours several million childhoods for breakfast each day?

We ask these burning questions for the sake of our burning hearts and the children themselves who are burning alive inside the skin of their own lives, all their flesh in flames with no water source to soothe the scorch. And because they can’t put out their own fires, all the abolitionist-hearted people on the earth stop, drop and roll; we imagine and brainstorm and beat against the box of what’s been done before just so we can come up with new ways to kick this cancerous calamity off the edge to nowhere.

We do all we can to fight this oppressive power until just. one. more. liberating idea is born.

So come in close for a moment all you child lovers and slavery haters; justice fighters and peace makers. A light came on in my thinking space and I’d like to invite you to see what I see.

What if we had . . . [insert drum roll] a wide-spread (global even?) dance party?! Can you imagine it? If we all got our feet together on the same day, if we all lasso our kids and call our neighbors and their kids; if we grab sisters, siblings, daughters, mothers, sons, fathers, friends and we all decide that we’re going to dance unanimously against trafficking? If we put our on party shoes, maybe a tutu or a striped tie or polka dot pajamas and blow up balloons, toss confetti, crack open glow sticks, bake some colorful cupcakes and right before the music starts we tell our children about the boys and girls who live bound and enslaved all over the world and how those children don’t get to dance and be free, so we’re going to be free for them.

We’re going to dance for them.

We’ll tell their earnest little faces that every motion of their liberated limbs is an act of light, a display of freedom. We’ll tell them to hook every fiber of their dancing towards the intention of unshackling the slave-children. We’ll tell them to shake their booties for the ones bound up in man-made bondage. We’ll tell them to go wild and shout loud and be absolutely unrestrained. We’ll tell them to show everything on earth – above, around, below and beyond – how children were born to be, just in case there was any doubt about it anywhere.

And you know what? I can already envision the spiritual fabric of the atmosphere rippling and shifting because of our unified, expressive movement speaking to all the powers that be. Those powers that be will hear our roar that we are fighting darkness with light; fighting slavery with a total admission of liberty. And maybe we will watch with wonder as an immense impact takes it’s place in history.

Do you believe it?

My husband, myself, our kids and circle of friends will be having an outrageous dance party On June 28th and we’d be straight-up, through-the-roof excited to have you join us – from wherever you are!

What do you say? Y’all IN?!

Here’s how to get started:

1. Join our Tread on Trafficking “team” by clicking HERE.

2. Set a fundraising goal and SPREAD THE WORD! You can email, Tweet, Facebook, Instagram and make flyers. Tell your mailman and banker and hairdresser and mechanic. Invite ALL THE PEOPLE to your party! And/or, invite ALL THE PEOPLE to SPONSOR your party by making a donation to your Tread On Trafficking page.

3. Plan your party! Be CRAZY if you want, or low-key if you need; go BIG or dance with a few – there’s no right or wrong way to create this event. The main intention is be every bit like a liberated child.

4. Instagram and Tweet and Facebook pictures from your party and use the hashtag #danceontrafficking so we can all connect to each other and share the love, love, LOVE!

5. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me in the comments or by clicking on the little envelope at the top of the sidebar.

 

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What Makes Me Insane

Screen shot 2013-02-04 at 1.59.33 PMDo you know what I would like to will tell you today? I would like to will tell you that my heart [literally] burns a [metaphorical] hole right through my chest in reckless response to all the pressing and painful needs scarring our globe (I wish to God I could be a part of relieving every single one). I can’t watch the news because whatever affliction my little eyes see and whatever sorrow my little ears hear always ends up with my little spirit getting ground down to powder, my little arms feeling bereft, my little love going unrequited, my peaceful little home seeming like too great a gift for me to bear and  . . . etc. etc.

We saw Les Miserable and I poured like a full-on faucet afterward, closing my shaking-self in our bathroom with “I Dreamed A Dream” on my headphones, desperately sobbing for hours. It isn’t hard for me to go to the shadow spots of any city whenever I close the lids on my soul-windows. Or slip inside the skin of a 10-year-old slave girl and feel at least a fragment of her fractures. But this time I swear to you that the whole oppressed and hurting world was wrapped around my body and crying for help right in the crook of my neck and I just had this burden that wouldn’t let go until my emotional reservoir had totally dried up of all the tears and all the prayers it had to give. The whole torrential episode felt like a Hoover-size dam had broken through and flooded every one of my arteries and atoms – very exhausting and un-civilized. Not to mention the groaning and keening that I worked so hard to keep behind my clenched teeth. I kept thinking that I couldn’t let this barbaric sound out of my throat because Lord knows how thin our old walls are and how close the neighbors live and the last thing I needed was for next-door Jimmy to think I was a premium candidate for the insane asylum. I would do anything sometimes for a piece of land big enough where no one else on the earth could hear what sounds want to come rushing from me. I would go out to that land and yell my lungs out against whatever sky happened to be hung up in the atmosphere that day. Seriously, that’s what my prayers look like sometimes – like someone has lost their freakin’ mind. My kids and my husband are used to it, thank God. Austin tells me it’s one of his favorite things about me, which is another way of saying that I married exactly the right person to compliment who I was made to be.

Please, someone tell me that God also made them this kind of “special”? Anyone else have a heart knit inside them that is just too big for their britches, let alone their bodies?

Anyone?

This passionate nature makes me shiver sometimes, but no matter how hard I try? I can’t stop feeling the way I do. Nor can I hide from it, regardless of the vulnerability that manifests on the inside or the embarrassment that flushes my skin on the outside. When I stop being me, the bad guy eats my soul for an early afternoon snack.

(And now that I’ve exposed myself, just like . . . affirm me or something, okay? :))

All that to say: Several weeks ago the Mr. and I watched  a movie from our “Instant Play” list on Netflix titled The Whistleblower, starring Rachel Weisz and Monica Bellucci. The movie documents the true story of a lady cop from Lincoln, Nebraska who took a job with the United Nations International Police in post-war Bosnia. During her time there as a peacekeeper she unintentionally uncovers a wide-scale sex slavery trafficking ring – only then to learn that most of her male colleagues at the U.N. were complicit in the trade. They, in turn, threaten her every which way to Sunday as a way of scaring her into keeping a lid on their illicit activities. She – fierce woman, hear her roar! – chooses to air her findings regardless of all the warnings and blackmail, even survives a number of death attempts while trying to get her information to the someone with enough authority to shut down the flesh-buying insanity. She loses her job, but was still able to get her evidence to the BBC, who consequently went public with the information.
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What I didn’t tell you about the movie was how horrifying it was. Dark. Dirty. Brutal. Maybe if we had discerned from the preview that the depiction of this story was going to be so violently graphic in nature – enough to make me physically ill – we would have opted against it? Either way, let me tell you something:

I’ve been intimately acquainted with the anti-slavery conversation for the past 13 years. One of my closest friends co-founded LOVE146. I am not unaware of the tales of tragedy (and triumph). This movie wasn’t telling me something I hadn’t already heard about in some form or fashion. And yet, I crawled my broken heart into our safe and cozy bed that night like I discovered this atrocity for the first time, again. Weeping all over the IKEA sheets and overwhelmed down to my middle-class toes by the anguish in this world (a world where slavery is illegal in every country, but has more people “owned” then any other period of history), I dropped my forehead to Austin’s shoulder and we prayed together and the tear-filled words that left my heart were simple and fervent: “God, if there is one more thing I can do to help? Show me.”

When a weight comes, I have learned the sustainable power of offering myself to do just “one more thing”. Sometimes “one more thing” is praying until the heaviness lifts. Sometimes “one more thing” is starting a movement. Sometimes “one more thing” is sharing more of the resources we have. Sometimes “one more thing” is:

The very next morning I woke up to a Facebook message from my friend Laura Parker asking me if I would be interested in “blogging for abolition” on behalf of their non-profit, The Exodus Road - an organization that fights modern day slavery.

Let me tell you that I barely thought once before saying “YES”. Because what better way could I spend my free time? I can’t pound the pavement or storm SE Asia at the moment (although, in my imagination I’m always the girl drop-kicking all the bad guys and rescuing all the every-bodies that need freeing). There’s not a lot I can do besides give money, beat the sky with my prayers and use my words. Formerly, I was mostly active with the first two. And now, here I am asking you if you would you take a long, good look at The Exodus Road? Watch their videos and read their blog? Get to know their grassroots-kind-of-hearts? Maybe getting involved in their movement through time, money, prayers (or some other creative way) can be a “one more thing” for you, too? If everybody in the entire free world did just one more thing, I wonder . . .

Also, you can follow them on Facebook HERE.

 

Photo Source : Annah Kaden