By LINCOLN DAVIDSON
Davidson College students held a “Stand for Freedom” overnight at the Alvarez College Union to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking. From 9am Wednesday to noon Thursday, students stood continuously for 27 hours to show solidarity with enslaved people around the world.
Stand for Freedom was organized by the Davidson College chapter of International Justice Mission, a human rights advocacy organization. Also involved were the Davidson International Association, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Half the Sky, and Better Together. Altogether, more than 40 Davidson College students stood for some part of the event.
Taylor White, a senior at Davidson College, said she was inspired to do something to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking while attending Passion, an annual international Christian youth conference, earlier this year. She approached sophomore Becca Surrat, who leads the college’s International Justice Mission chapter, and the two decided to host a Stand for Freedom. More than 500 similar events are being held at universities across the United States this week.
The goal of the event is to “stand up” for those throughout the world who have no voice or ability to stand up for themselves, Ms. White said. More than 27 million people are currently enslaved worldwide.
“I’ve been so impressed and am so thankful to the entire campus and all the organizations that got involved for their support of Stand for Freedom,” Ms. Surrat said.
During the event, participants engaged students passing by in a conversation about human trafficking. In particular, organizers looked into slavery in Mauritania, where an estimated 10-20% of the population lives in slavery.
Gaby Baldeon, a senior involved in the Davidson International Association who spent several hours Wednesday evening standing for the event, said even a small contribution can make a big difference. “I encourage people to check out the International Justice Mission’s website, which has weekly challenges people can follow to help raise awareness,” she said. Challenges on the website include only purchasing Fair Trade products for a week or recording a video message to slaves around the world and posting it to a video sharing website.
The event concluded at noon Thursday with public prayer and ice cream to thank participants for their support.