Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The SuperHeroes Among Us

It's about 3:00 a.m. and Rob Myers sits in the Suburban, alone. Following a rave, masses of kids cross Target's parking lot in front of his vehicle. A group of young adults stop. One girl sticks her head in the open window.

"Are you a taxi?"

"No," Rob answers.

"Can we pay you to take us to our hotel?"

"No," Rob responds, "but I'll take you for free."

A boy named Mateo asks, "Really?" Why?"

"It's what we do," says Rob.

Later when they tried again to offer him money, Rob said, "Please don't do that . . .  because this is a free gift, from me to you. . . .because you are precious. . . . and because God loves you so much."

That's the message PLUR Life Ministries gives. Two teams, led by Rob and Colleen Myers, attend raves and pass out kandi—beaded bracelets with the letters PLUR on them—to thousands of kids. At the same time they watch for the most vulnerable girls, who are searching in all the wrong places for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. Some find it for a few moments during drug-induced sex, while others increase their risk of becoming enslaved by pimps. Gang members watch and wait for a girl who may be isolated. Perhaps she bought a counterfeit ticket online. Perhaps she got kicked out due to an Ecstasy overdose. She may be alone and terrified in a dark parking lot.

At least until Rob and Colleen Myers or their team members appear. These genuine superheroes are fearless, determined, and, kind. Even when a girl is puking her guts out after overdosing on E—a woman on Plur Life's team holds her in loving arms, strokes her hair, and tells her, "You are precious."   

After the girl gets the drug out of her system, she may want to know more. The kandi on her wrist directs her to Plur's web site. When she visits, she'll see Rob (in a video) describing how to find the ongoing peace, love, unity, and respect offered by Jesus Christ. She'll also discover how to stay in touch with those who care so much.

Do you care enough to make kandi (they need thousands upon thousands of these beaded bracelets)? Or to volunteer or donate? It's one way you can fight against the travesty of modern-day slavery.

P.S. Rob recently said they are now seeing pimps trafficking girls into the rave to meet the demands of the many young men who attend. Please spread the word to young adults--prostitution is not a victimless crime. Most of these girls started in "the life," between 12 and 14 years of age. They are children unable to give consent for sex by law. They are victims of a terrible crime.

THANK YOU for making this team effort possible. We handed out around 2,000 kandi and so far we have shared the Gospel with 486 hits on our website from this outreach! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful for Those Who Teach and Inspire

Yesterday, I finished a social justice class at my church. I've been around this issue for quite awhile and didn't really expect to learn much new. I attended the class mainly to support its leaders and because it seemed like the right thing to do. What I didn't realize was how much insight could be brought to the issue of modern-day slavery through a book study and interaction on the discussion questions.

Each week we read a chapter of In Our Backyard by Nita Belles. Then we brought our own unique perspectives to the issues. Those new to this travesty were astounded by the magnitude of the problems. They can be overwhelming even for the most ardent abolitionists.

The book reminded us of the importance of one human life by quoting Eleanor Roosevelt . 

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home--so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individiual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works.

We treasure our human rights and many of us will give thanks for them this Thursday. But all around us are individuals whose human rights are being trampled. In some small way (or maybe even a bigger way) each of us can make a difference. 

Yesterday our group's leaders, Jeff Snawder and Tamiko Chacon, encouraged a discussion about how we might be involved. One person's heart breaks for the small children being trafficked, some as young as 3 & 4 years old. She's not sure what to do about it yet, but over time the answers will come. Another one has contributed through business means and may explore how to those in poverty keep from being at risk. A third wants to work with survivors. 

There was discussion about reaching out to pimps and Johns--and even more consideration of ways to help young men learn to respect women so that becoming a John will be unthinkable. A decrease in demand will decrease the need for a supply.

 As for me, I'm more motivated than ever to continue building awareness because every girl who recognizes a trafficker's lies will be one less girl subjected to this nightmare. (If you are so inclined, you can help with increasing awareness simply by cutting and pasting a link to  this blog along with a comment on Facebook.)

Every person can make a difference. The place to start is with learning, and there's no better way than to start with a book. In Our Backyard gives a great overview of various forms of slavery. I learned more than I'd expected, especially about the Stockholm syndrome and how that makes working with victims so difficult. And, I'm grateful. Our interactions on this book made me even more passionate about exposing the lies behind the evil.

One woman (who didn't attend our class) started a book study at her work. Are there people who might like to study the book with you? It's an easy read and the questions generate such good discussions, an eagerness to learn is all that's required. How might someone who's a modern-day slave be thankful you took the time to learn more?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's a Beautiful Day at Mt Sac

Yesterday dawned clear and bright, but the topic being discussed at Mt Sac was dark and gloomy. The evil of human trafficking is black as night. Still a few rays of light and hope bursts forth among the efforts of those fighting to abolish it. More than 400 students cared enough to get up early on a Saturday morning to learn about modern-day slavery--the dangers of it and what's being done to eradicate it. Teachers who gave extra credit for attendance deserve extra credit for the great turnout. There was an overflow crowd with people waiting to get in!

I represented Transform LA and Traffick Free Pomona. Other speakers included several representatives from LINK: Liberty for North Korea, Jocelyn White representing International Justice Mission and Karisma Kim representing Kids Making Change. There were a few discussions afterward about an ongoing relationship between Traffick Free Pomona and Mt Sac. Creating partnerships to abolish modern-day slavery makes for a beautiful day.

Students were promised the links to my two You-Tube videos. It was disappointing that we couldn't get them to play during my presentation. The first is the trailer for San Bernardino County's documentary.

The second is from GEMS.

For anyone who wants to continue learning more about what's happening, please subscribe to this blog and we'll do our best to keep you informed. And, please keep us informed about what you're doing to make it a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

If you're a Mt Sac student (or attended the event), what was the most interesting thing you learned in the seminar?