Monthly Archives: August 2011

HELLO my name is…Lance Moore!

Greetings from the Red Thread Movement at Boise State University,

My name is Lance Moore, and I am a Boise State student that has been swept up into the passion of social justice thanks to a belief/drive in one very simple yet complex idea, people. Not just people, but a compassion for those who have gone through circumstances that would make Faith a difficult perception to hold reverence in.  However, as all great ideas tend to do, they begin to inspire and spread as if they were a brushfire set ablaze for all the right reasons. This is what the Red Thread Movement has done for me, and it is the reason I have started the Movement here at BSU.

With this is mind, I recently set out to jump through the hoops that come with status as an “official” student organization in the framework of a college institution. I met with the coordinator for Student Organizations at the Student Involvement Leadership Center to see what I would have to do to make Red Thread a part of the culture here at BSU. It started simply enough, I was given document after document, required to write a constitution modeled after the original Red Thread constitution, make official a list of officers, and continue on with the extensive paperwork that threatened to blunt, shall we say, my resolve for the entire thing. Even after I had done all this, I was told that I would have to get permission from multiple heads in this institutional arena in order to get the go ahead to sell the products of Red Thread (i.e. bracelets) to fundraise for the women of Nepal. I was absolutely baffled by the opposition I was receiving.

(Note: This process differs by campus.  Some students have established the Red Thread Movement as an official student organization at their university within days.  It is a good idea to check with an advisor at your school to learn more about the necessary steps to take at your institution.)

It was at this time that Fate would seem to step in at a beautifully opportune time. During this process of attempting to get Red Thread off the ground here at Boise State, I met an individual who just so happened to be the state of Idaho’s representative for the International Justice Mission (IJM), which is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression. I would soon come to find that this marvelous lady had just gotten IJM through all of these aforementioned hoops that I was having trouble with and was looking in the upcoming semester to hit the ground running. She had established IJM BSU as an official student organization. After some initial emails, we decided to have a meeting to share each other’s strengths and ideas regarding human trafficking and how it has become one of the quintessential evils of our beautiful world and its people.

To make a long story short, after my discussion with IJM BSU, I met with a group of friends who had been battling alongside me to bring Red Thread Movement to the BSU campus, in order to iron out what we needed to do next. We ended up deciding to join forces, as it were, with IJM, therefore becoming a potent and powerful additional arm to the IJM arsenal against human trafficking at BSU.  In doing so, we bypassed the university’s standards necessary to make Red Thread an official student organization and guaranteed that we would be able to make a difference quicker than we had originally thought.

Since this time we have had many co-IJM/Red Thread meetings to plan for the upcoming fall semester, and to put it quite mildly, it looks like we are going to be having quite a voice. We have scheduled two major events for this semester in order to get the IJM/Red Thread name out there, before we start really focusing on fundraising and drawing in more attention from outside sources.

Our first event will be taking place in September for a local photography company that is putting on a local fashion show to raise money for those in the Boise Community that have been affected by any and all types of violence. They have asked us, IJM/Red Thread BSU, to give a segment on the human trafficking occurring in Idaho and on an international level. The promotion of awareness in a national and international sense is the primary goal of IJM/ Red Thread BSU. At this event we will be setting up booths with posters, flyers, and bracelets to raise funds for the IJM/Red Thread cause and, most importantly, for the victims themselves.

Our other event will be taking place in October and promises to be something on an even more grandeur stage than our first event. We have rented out the Special Events Center, which holds about 300 people, to have an evening where the human trafficking documentary called “Sex and Money” will be premiered on our campus. It will not only be premiered, but headlined, by the five journalists who made the film itself as well as representatives of state law enforcement and state official that will make up a panel, allowing for our guests to have their questions answered after the documentary is seen. IJM/Red Thread will be co-sponsoring this event and will have quite a spectacle planned for the students of Boise State University.

Obviously with events of this magnitude, we have set aside much time in the promotional aspect of these projects. We have planned to hit every root of the campus, in order to ensure that the issue of human trafficking is heard throughout the student body and, I dare say, our community. We have met with professors who have teamed up with us and will be offering extra credit for any student who decides to attend our events. Also, we will be meeting with other student organizations as well as our on-campus Greek system to support our cause. There will be posters, weekly social media notifications as the events draw nearer and nearer, and a little help from our local news station to bring it to everyone living in our community.

This is how Red Thread has begun at Boise State, although it had its rough bouts and frustrations. More and more now I am consistently seeing the power of cooperation between people and how essential it is in order to make a simple idea a force. I once heard it said that individuals can be great and inspire, but it takes the world itself in order to change something that is in turn wrong with it. I have come to believe this most ardently, and I am eager to see where this goes and what we are capable of doing here at Boise State alongside IJM.


@aplusk & #twitter<3

Dear Ashton Kutcher (on the off-chance that you’re ever going to read this),

I don’t fully understand tweeting, #’s, and @’s, but I have never loved Twitter more in my life than I did today!  Thank you for retweeting Polaris Project’s Chalk It Up video and for using your influence on social networking to raise awareness about human trafficking.

-B

*The Chalk It Up blog post from a few weeks ago detailed an idea that originated amongst the 2011 Summer Fellows at Polaris Project, including myself.  We took to the streets of Washington, DC this summer and filmed our sidewalk art activism.  Check out the video link below, recently retweeted by Ashton himself, and replicate it in your community!

Chalk It Up 

For more information about these other great organizations countering human trafficking, click the links below:

Polaris Project

Demi and Ashton Foundation


HELLO my name is…Brandon Taylor!

Brandon Taylor

Just this past spring, the Minority Organization of Architecture, Art, and Planning (MOAAP) at Cornell University took a grand idea under their wing as they helped launch the first ever Red Thread Benefit Formal.

MOAPP leadership

With help from Cornell’s Big Red Relief, the event informed the Cornell community about how they can make a difference in ending sex trafficking in South East Asia. Throughout the month of April, MOAAP and Big Red Relief took time to sell the Red Thread bracelets made in safe houses in Nepal by rescued victims of sex trafficking.

Students from MOAPP and Big Red Relief

Each bracelet sale went to support efforts in Nepal rescuing up to 200 girls a month from human trafficking; therefore, every Cornell student who helped to support the event made a huge difference in many lives not only through a small donation, but also through learning more about such an important crime that is preventable.

Cornell students at the Formal

The Red Thread Benefit Formal was formatted to educate, entertain, and empower the Cornell community. The evening consisted of dancing and singing ensembles, a catered reception, a keynote address by Brittany Partridge, and a presentation given by Cornell University Professor Andrea Parrot, who is known for her research on women’s health and violence against women around the world.

Brittany Partridge, Red Thread Co-Founder

All in all, the focus of the performances and speakers were to glorify the beautiful power that women hold and refocus that energy to help the many young girls who have lost sight of that. Collectively, the Cornell community raised over $1,100 for the cause and were proud to donate all of those funds to the Red Thread Movement.

Sitara performing at the Formal

In the coming academic year, MOAAP will continue to sell the Red Thread bracelets at Cornell and educate more of the student body on this growing movement. Raising awareness and promoting advocacy non-profit organizations, such as the Red Thread Movement, is the best way to collectively and safely work to put a stop to human trafficking. We stand for those who feel silenced. We wear freedom.

Absolute A Cappella performing at the Formal


Made by Survivors

Made by Survivors: Fighting Slavery with Education, Empowerment, Employment and Hope

By: Sarah Symons

Short Made by Survivors Video

Made by Survivors, a new partner with the Red Thread Movement, is a nonprofit social enterprise working in Nepal, India, Cambodia, Thailand, Uganda and the US since 2005, helping survivors of trafficking to create bright and slavery-free futures.  The mission of Made by Survivors is to ensure permanent freedom for survivors and their children, as well as women and children at extreme risk, by giving them the tools to protect themselves: economic empowerment, awareness of their rights, and education.  Through our school sponsorship, job training, and employment programs, as well as construction projects to provide housing, clean energy and safe water to survivors in shelter homes, MBS is changing the lives of over a thousand survivors.

Made By Survivors is excited to partner with the Red Thread Movement because we share the vision that survivors are not defined by the horror and abuse of their past – each woman or girl has her own unique dreams, talents, and potential, and deserves the opportunity to reach her full potential in a healing and nurturing environment.  We are amazed by the progress survivors make in the programs:  those recently rescued may be angry, withdrawn or severely depressed and traumatized.  After six months they are smiling shyly, laughing out loud, and beginning to believe a future is possible for them.  After a year or two, they are solving problems, helping others to escape or avoid slavery, speaking out about human rights, and challenging us to match their energy and commitment!

Made By Survivors needs help from students to keep our courageous survivors moving forward.  We have recently launched two pioneering programs in South Asia teaching survivors to become artisan goldsmiths – 50 young women in Mumbai and Calcutta are now practicing this highly respected trade with great skill and creativity.  Students can help by selling stylish and meaningful jewelry and other products (such as bags or holiday cards) made by our survivors, at  Red Thread events on their campuses, in sororities, dorms or student clubs, or just by hosting a social justice holiday party in their dorm rooms.

Student groups can keep a percentage of profits from the sale of MBS products for the group’s activities, or to donate to Red Thread or other charitable purposes.  The remaining profits go back into programs helping women and children survivors of slavery to rebuild their lives.  Cool and unique products that change lives, raising money for worthy causes – it is truly a win-win situation!

 

Contact Brittany@RedThreadMovement.org if you would like to get involved with MBS!

For more information: www.MadebySurvivors.com


Chalk It Up!

Fact: Slavery still exists.

…in America!

And it’s called human trafficking!

Did you know that there are more people in slavery today than there were at the height of the transatlantic slave trade?

Shocked?

That’s more than 12 million people worldwide being exploited by forced labor and sexual exploitation.

Haven’t seen it?

Well…maybe it’s because we haven’t been paying close enough attention.

It’s estimated that 100,000 American minors are in the commercial sex trade in the United States.

Not only that, but the 24/7 National Human Trafficking Hotline (1.888.3737.888) operating in Washington DC has received more than 25,000 calls related to human trafficking since 2007.

Think this is just another issue and it doesn’t pertain to you?

Think again.

Even if you’re not a victim or a ‘john’ purchasing sex, you purchase a lot of other products.  They may not be people, but they were made with slave labor.

So what can you do?

Here are a few things to get started:

1. Get some chalk and some friends, and go into your community and scrawl these statistics on a sidewalk.  It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s effective.

2. Start considering Fair Trade products when you buy.  We need to stop demanding slave-made goods.  Learn more about your slavery footprint!

3. Join the Red Thread Movement!