Friday, September 25, 2009

Making a difference is not just for rock stars

By Taylor Mobley
I will be the first to admit that Bono is my hero. Although his status as the lead singer of U2, leather jacket, signature sunglasses, and rock star persona are appealing to a culture that idolizes the concept of “cool,” this is not what endears
him to me.

Bono has a heart. Speaking out for poor who cannot speak out for themselves has become who he is, reflected in his music as well as his lifestyle. He is unashamed. He is bold.

So often I put him on a pedestal, with his product (RED) line, books, and TV interviews. I think to myself, “Wow, he is really changing the world.”

I’ve never been on T.V., but I want to change the world too…

We cannot all be rock stars, speaking out about injustice to millions of adoring fans every night, using only a guitar and a microphone. We cannot all be missionaries or work for the Peace Corps, caring for the displaced in Africa or feeding the hungry in Asia.

Most of us will spend our days in the business world, climbing the corporate ladder or teaching kindergartners how to read.

It is so difficult not to get immersed in the world around us where our only frame of reference when it comes to hunger is the time we spent in college living off of Ramen noodles and Mac and Cheese. We forget so easily about the hunger, poverty and disease that ravages the world.

We must not allow ourselves to forget. To make a true difference on an everyday level, social justice cannot simply be an afterthought. It must become a lifestyle. It does not matter what your job is, where you live, or who you are, you can make a difference. When it comes to changing the world, a dentist in Michigan is just as important as a politician on Capitol Hill.

The fight against injustice begins by simply making people aware of the issues that are affecting people around the world.

For example, I bet you thought that slavery was abolished after the Civil War. As I learned recently at a human trafficking round table at the U.S. State Department, there are 12.3 million people worldwide, adults and children, enslaved into forced labor and sexual servitude.

Some of the most common forms of human trafficking enslave children as child soldiers, sex workers, and forced laborers. Many of these children slaves are either kidnapped or persuaded with false promises of a better life.

The idea of slavery produces certain images in my mind. I picture people shackled and chained, living behind bars, being forced to work. But,in the trafficking system, something more permanent than chains binds the victims to the abusive situation. Most of the enslaved have been abused in such a manner that they believe that they have no other option but to continue as they are in their situation. Those who enslave them create a sense of dependency that kills all hope of escape.

It is so easy to dismiss this crisis because it feels so far away, but the truth is human trafficking exists in the United States. Areas such as Houston and Atlanta are known to have underground trafficking networks.

Not only can you speak out against injustice, but you can also be an example through your choices. Choose to purchase goods that are guaranteed to have been produced without the use of slavery. Get involved with an organization, such a World Vision, that works to combat these wrongs through development and funding.

If you turn away, who will tell their stories? Speaking out against injustice does not require a particular college degree or occupation. It simply requires a bold heart.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yea - you are right. Thanks for being bold enough to right this!