Wednesday, June 1, 2011

“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope…”

“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”     ~Robert F. Kennedy

A huge step in the battle against human trafficking in Massachusetts occurred yesterday.
You may have heard of the numerous bills before the MA State Legislature regarding modern-day slavery in it’s various forms.  Perhaps you caught a bit of the press conferences given by elected officials on the subject.  Maybe you simply know that human trafficking grows daily as a black market industry both internationally and domestically.  Perhaps you had no idea up until this point that slavery even still exists…

It does.  And the MA Legislature appears ready to finally take a stand (somehow, we’re one of 5 states that still has not legislatively addressed the issue of human trafficking).  The MA House of Representatives voted on HB3470 today and passed the legislation 146-0.  You saw that correctly…0.  The decision came unanimously.  As someone who spent many years in the political world, allow me to affirm how incredibly rare an occurrence that is.

Yes, the Senate needs to take action; yes, there are other bills in the legislative mix; yes, the process continues.  But this step reveals much hope for survivors and the Commonwealth, and it’s about time.
I rejoice for this progress, but personally and emotionally, the vote hits a deeper chord.  My entre into the world of battling human trafficking came through working for a phenomenal organization called Love 146.  The organization and the people behind it remain my role models to this day.  Their name came from a trafficked child who refused to give up.  She unknowingly shaped their organization and consequently shaped my life.  Somehow, her hope and perseverance has made the number 146 forever unique to me and many others.

Thus, when I heard about the vote in the MA Statehouse today, the unanimous nature of the vote struck me far less than the number…146-0. The girl numbered 146, who showed such strength and hope in the face of certain despair is unknowingly honored in the number of votes for anti-trafficking legislation half a world away.  Her fight remains our motivation and hope for justice for all human beings subject to the gross injustice of modern-day slavery.

#146, I may never have the opportunity to meet you, but you’ve impacted my life and worldview; your ripple of justice affects many and I hope you come to know the extent of your influence someday…including from legislators who may have no idea of your existence.

For all of you out there subject to the evils of modern-day slavery: we’re not giving up and we’re here for you.  Don’t you ever give up hope.  Let’s keep the ripple spreading.

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