On April 9, ENDIT904 will host Shine A Light on Slavery Day.
April 8, 2013
There are 27 million slaves in the world today.
From Africa to India to our own state of Florida, human trafficking has become a huge and powerful industry involving millions of innocent people—children stolen from their homes, women manipulated and kidnapped, young girls in poverty given away for the hope of a better life, only to find themselves trapped inside a world they never imagined existed.
A group of Flagler students wants to do something about it.
On April 9, ENDIT904, a local expression of the international END IT organization, which aims to eliminate human trafficking, will host Shine A Light on Slavery Day.
Beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Gamache-Koger Theater, the event will kick off with a presentation by Yannie Steiger titled, “Not for Sale: A Prophet’s Response.” A 27-hour Stand For Freedom will follow the presentation on West Lawn, from 7 p.m. on April 9 through 10 p.m. April 10. There will be bands, speakers and interactive stations during the event as well.
Their mission is to create awareness—to shine a light, as they put it, on the reality of slavery today and engage the Flagler campus and community in the cause for freedom.
ENDIT904 was started by the newly formed student club Love146 Task Force, a division of the organization that works toward the abolition of child trafficking and exploitation.
“We decided to plan an event for International Shine A Light on Slavery Day,” said Savannah Morton, vice-president of Flagler’s Love146 Task Force. “And after much collaboration and a huge group effort, ENDIT904 was created.”
In addition to the event on April 9, the ENDIT904 team has big plans for St. Augustine. The city has a rich but intimately intertwined history with slavery, one that attracts nearly 3.5 million visitors from around the world every year. Because of this, Morton and the rest of the team see the potential of St. Augustine being an active role in combating slavery both locally and abroad. They are currently working on partnerships with various organizations in order to help those enslaved.
“This is important to us,” she said. “Slavery is wrong. You know it. We all know it. As a country, we’ve officially recognized it since 1863. But so many don’t know that it still exists so largely today, even in our own state and community.”
The ENDIT904 team wants everyone to know about the people living in the shadows—in brothels, factories, quarries and other businesses. They believe the more people who are aware, the louder the collective shout.
“One day, when we’re old and have children and grandchildren who learn in history class that there were more slaves around the world in our day than any other time in history, they will ask us if we did anything to stop it,” Morton said. “We want to be able to tell them that we did everything in our power to bring an end to it.”