Saturday, March 19, 2016

Remarkable Unity in the Battle Against Modern-Day Slavery

Photo credit, Katie Martinez

Don't we all love the peace of a serene scene. Isn't that where we long to be? In a world without conflict. Yet every day the news keeps us constantly aware of a world full of violence and hatred. In America the political situation seems in constant danger of exploding or imploding, and it's not much different in the rest of the world. Besides a litany of murders and other crimes, we hear of North Korea's increasing threats of nuclear war and Secretary of State John Kerry's declaration of genocide by ISIS.

A few days ago, Kerry described how:
in 2014, ISIS trapped Yazidis, killed them, enslaved thousands of Yazidi women and girls, "selling them at auction, raping them at will and destroying the communities in which they had lived for countless generations," executed Christians "solely for their faith" and also "forced Christian women and girls into slavery."
Turning a blind eye has done nothing but make matters worse. So does justifying our hopes for a human savior by choosing Republican or Democrat nominees without integrity. Our only hope lies in  a Savior who helps us get beyond ourselves and accept a more realistic view of the world. His Holy Spirit, can then empower us to work together to value every human life within our communities. As individual lives are transformed, they will transform communities, and in turn that can transform nations.

This past month I've been in meetings with people who live life caring deeply enough about those being brutally exploited to do something about it. Together we are making headway in solving the problem of human trafficking. These Christians come from many different denominations, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, political parties--and all want to contribute to a better world. Instead of focusing on differences, we focus on what unites us--a desire for a more serene scene, where everyone--not just people of privilege--can be safe.

About ten days ago, the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium's Freedom Network met in San Diego at Point Loma University where Jamie Gates, the director of their Center for Justice and Reconciliation has worked strategically with the University of San Diego to research the extent of gang involvement in sex slavery in San Diego County. This ground-breaking work to understand the problems in San Diego will make the solutions more apparent--even in Pomona and Poughkeepsie.

This past week, CARE 18, a collaborative in Los Angeles County, gathered so people from various spheres of society could further their partnership helping each other in this battle. Nonprofits need volunteers, funds, and other resources that people from churches are eager to supply. Law enforcement needs encouragement and services as they rescue young girls from the street. We all need each other to work smarter. It's been my joy to deliver Freedom Bags and street kits from Every ONE Free to the Dream Center. Without this collaborative, we wouldn't have known what needs existed.

Now CARE 18 is exploring ways to help Every ONE Free in Pomona get an outreach center up and running on Holt Blvd, one of the most notorious tracks in the nation.

Working together--that's the good news in this battle. Many people care. Many people of all faiths are getting involved. They're willing to work together in harmony to figure out ways to bring light into the darkness and hope to those in despair. They're working to bridge gaps and bring reconciliation to our neighborhoods. The more individuals that get involved, the more we can learn from one another, and the closer we come to that serene scene--one where every girl and boy will be safe.

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