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.