The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Enslaved, but not forgotten: students hold 24 hour stand against slavery

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Photo by Shelby Knowles

Students completed a 24 hour praise and worship at Rudder Plaza to raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking. 

To send a message in support of victims of slavery, Aggies occupied Rudder Plaza for 24 hours — from 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

“Thirty-six million still enslaved,” read one cardboard sign. “I stand for freedom,” read another. The signs accompanied the effort on the part of the Texas A&M chapter of the International Justice Mission to raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking.

The Stand for Freedom event, held in conjunction with other IJM chapters, symbolizes a day in the shoes of a modern slave, which is reflected in the event’s theme — “one day for their every day.” 

Students took pictures with signs and posted to social media to send the simple message that they stand for freedom. They also sang worship songs, listened to a concert, prayed and signed a petition in support of the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act.

“Just being here is one way to tell those girls, ‘Hey, I am praying for you and I am going to do what I can to at least stand for you,’” said Christina Cook, nursing junior. “If that’s all I can do, then I want to do that.”

Taking pictures, speaking about the existence of human trafficking and worshipping through song for 24 hours became the focus of the event. The singing and the brightly lit display attracted students to the cause. However, when not as many students walk by, the focus is drawn to singing and praying.

From 2-7 a.m. the participants did exactly that. Liz Harris, events coordinator and international studies senior, said a new prayer subject was introduced every hour, “to slightly meditate on but just be really praying over and keeping mindful.”

The push for prayer plays a key role in the IJM by allowing the organization members and their audience to have a positive outlook on the fight against human trafficking.

“This is such a dark subject and this is such a difficult thing to talk about that we don’t want people walking away feeling discouraged and hopeless,” said Hannah Seela, community outreach officer and psychology sophomore. “One of the main aspects is finding hope in God and Jesus to free people.”

Displayed examples of stories and statistics brought to light the reality of modern day human trafficking. Along with the stories and facts presented, painted handprints marked each of the five letters of the display that spelled out “STAND.”

Allison Booth, IJM member and history and sociology junior, said awareness surrounding the current state of human trafficking in the world is on the rise, which was reflected through the “STAND” display.

“We just wanted a visual representation of the growth of this movement as more people become aware,” Booth said.

Through all the activities, members remained mindful of their main cause, Seela said. 

“Our primary objective is just to raise awareness and our campus’ collective consciousness,” Seela said.

 

 

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  • Reveille joins the 24-hour stand in Thursday afternoon.

    Photo by Jena Floyd
  • 24-hour Stand In

    Photo by Jena Floyd
  • Hannah Seela psychology sophomore and Carissa Elk nutrition junior raise awareness during the 24-hour stand in Thursday afternoon inside the MSC.

    Photo by Shelby Knowles
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