I’ve been busy at work with my team at Raise Their Voice to create space for a two-day event in April called Raise Their Voice: The Trafficked + Exploited.

It’s been a real example for me so far of stepping out in faith and taking a risk.  In the lead up to the production of She Has A Name, as we read the story  before audiences in Canada and the USA and then produced the show for its World Premiere, I was surprised (at first) and then keenly aware how deeply people responded to the play.

Of course the story is imagined, but it reflects the reality of human trafficking.  I was encouraged as a writer that the play received endorsements from people working locally and internationally to combat trafficking who assured me the story rang true and expressed some of the complexity of that world.  For many, it was the first time they learned about the cruel and dark world of human trafficking.

It became very important to me to help create space beyond the production, for people to learn about the local and global reality of human trafficking and also find ways to engage the issue. For people who like the “And now you know the rest of the story” kind of information, that is the impetus behind the event that will launch in 9 days.

I’m amazed at the people who are coming to the event, not only as contributors to deliver workshops and to speak, but the participants as well.  I shouldn’t be.  Since I started to learn about justice issues and address them in my own way, as best as I can, what I’ve come to see is that people have an inherent capacity to care about others.  When people learn about the suffering and exploitation of the most vulnerable in society, the common response is to ask how they can help.

That’s what this event is about.  Learning more.  And then finding ways, in our own lives, in our own ways, to engage.  I consider anyone who responds to these dark and difficult realities, people who find ways small and big to harness their passions and abilities then roll up their sleeves to do something about injustice to be amazing.

a·maz·ing:

causing great surprise or sudden wonder

I decided to look the word up, and it sounds about right, doesn’t it?  I’m surprised by all the ways people find to engage justice issues; I’m surprised by all the reasons they do it.  And suddenly, I wonder: what if more people got engaged, found out, and were not only touched by the reality but felt that in some way they might be able to do something too?  Something that would change the way things are.  Something that would even change them.

People like Graeme Watt, who started an effort to lead young people to change the world.  Or Glendene Grant whose own daughter was lured to the USA and trafficked who now commits her life to find Jessie and prevent such a horror from happening to anyone else’s daughter.  Or Joy Smith, a Member of Parliament who is leading an entire nation into developing a solid plan to combat trafficking.  Burnt Thicket Theatre, which joined a writer in his dream and risked telling a story that many would otherwise not hear.  Ashlea, a creative, entrepreneurial stay-at-home mom who dances upon injustice and won’t stand for the abuse of children. These are just a few of the people who are making the event so special.

And you.

I hope you’ll be there.  You’ll fit right in.  Your heart might break, but it should.

I’m risking something else in all this, too.  The belief that more people will raise their voice for others, and that it will be one of the best things in their whole lives that they’ll ever do.

Raise Their Voice: The Trafficked + Exploited

Read about it in the press:

Changing the world” Red Deer Express, April 6 2011

Erin Fawcett, “Upcoming seminar focuses on human trafficking in Canada” Red Deer Express, April 6 2011

Mother of Canadian victim of human trafficking to speak at April 15 event in Red Deer” PR log, March 31 2011

Red Deer to host event in April with leading Canadian anti-trafficking activists and lawmaker” PR Log, March 23 2011

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