Friday, July 18, 2008

For Sale

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela

Four weeks from tomorrow I will be running a 5K race on Bainbridge Island. This is significant for two reasons. First, I'm embarrassed to even admit how long it's been since I last ran. And second, and more importantly I am running to raise awareness to end slavery. "Slavery?!" you ask, "Didn't Lincoln take care of that back in the 1800s??" Yes. And no.

Today there are 27,000,0000 enslaved people worldwide --- more than at any time in human history! Human trafficking is a very real problem. Just one you probably don't see every night on the news. And it's not just happening in other parts of the world. It's happening in our own backyard. Take a look at these stats from GOOD magazine:

* The average cost of a Slave is $90
*A slave is imported into the United States every 30 minutes
* 14,500-17,500 slaves are brought into the United States annually
* 50% of slaves in the United States are engaged in the commercial sex industry

And we aren't just talking about women. Modern day slaves come in all ages, sex, and colors. Young girls as young as 10 being being taken from their families with the promise of a better education, only to be sold to a foreigner as a slave. These numbers might be shocking to some, as they were to me when I first started researching it, or perhaps you already are aware of this horrible problem (and problem isn't nearly a strong enough word to describe the enslavement of another human being). Regardless, it is tragic. Michelle Obama was in Seattle yesterday at a fundraiser for our Governor, Christine Gregoire. On the cover of today's PI was a quote from Obama which embodies why I am running this race, and on a larger scale, why I have created this blog. She said,

"Do we settle for the world as it is, or fight for the world as it should be?"

I for one, don't believe in settling. That is why, when attending the local 4th of July parade on Bainbridge, and seeing an organization go by advertising this run, I investigated. As it turns out my most recent issue of GOOD had a two page layout concerning the issue, as does the Utne Reader this month.

So, the morning of August 9th you'll find me running (or perhaps walking) the race on the island in hopes of raising more awareness on this issue. For more information on human trafficking check out the Utne article, and GOOD Magazine. If you live on the island or nearby and would like to participate you can email The event is benefiting The Tronie Foundation and the Not For Sale Campaign.

(this post was originally going to be for Monday, but when I realized that today is Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday, I thought it a fitting topic)

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