In It To End It
Awareness is the essential spark that has led to every good step in the fight for freedom. This is a central attitude driving End It Movement, a coalition of 16 anti-human trafficking organizations that strives to creatively “shine a light on slavery.” The idea is simple yet effective: activists take over the internet on February 22 -- which has been designated as “End It Day” -- every year by drawing a red “x” on their hand, snapping a photo, and posting on social media with the simple message that slavery is real, and they are in the fight to end it.
This red “x” has been shared over 500 million times on social media, giving a contemporary power to the freedom movement and raising up a new generation of leaders. Although awareness alone won’t necessarily end slavery, it has to come before anything else. In the past years, awareness has been spreading like wildfire, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Every year when End It Day rolls around, Campaign Director Jenni Brown says she is surprised to see how many people still haven’t heard that slavery exists. And until each and every person knows, those with a voice will have to keep using theirs to stand up for those without.
End It Movement’s leaders have seen firsthand what the power of awareness can do. Brown recounts one powerful story about U.S. Senator Bob Corker, whose encounter with End It sparked something big. Corker was moved by the number of young people who really cared about ending modern day slavery and recognized his ability to use his position of power to make a real difference. His growing awareness and inspiration led him and his team to dream up the first ever global fund to end slavery, which is expected to launch later this year. It’s designed to be a resource that will partner with people and organizations who are doing all kinds of good work to end slavery.
“Senator Bob Corker would never have known about this movement if it wasn’t for End It and our red 'x', but because of that he’s actually doing something that will lead to the tangible freeing of people around the world.” -Campaign Director, Jenni Brown
As a coalition, End It teams up with other organizations that are working diligently on their specific “pieces of the puzzle.” Brown says that after the first year of End It, when activists raised 3.2 million dollars for the partnered organizations, the power and strength behind unity became clearer than ever. The goals of these groups vary from managing ethical supply chains, to training healthcare workers, to making moves for justice in prosecution, to educating the common public, to providing aftercare for victims, among many others. By coming together as a coalition, they are able to work in their niches while supporting and benefiting from each other. As a result, everyone is stronger because of it.
It comes as no surprise that this movement, which utilizes the passion and voices of young people, began after recognizing the desire to make a difference that many young people carry. Leaders were inspired to start End It Movement in 2012 at a Christian conference for young adults when they raised 3.2 million dollars for a number of freedom-oriented causes. What began as a bunch of individuals doing what they could with what they had has sparked into a large and successful movement, which speaks to the vital importance of every person and every voice. There is no movement toward justice that is too small to create a ripple of change.
You can get involved this year on February 22, wherever you are! Draw your red “x”, share a post on social media with your freedom message, use the hashtag #enditmovement, and rally your friends to do the same. You can hit up End It’s website for more information, resources like t-shirts and buttons to up your advocating game, and even a poster-building tool so you can spread the word in your town. If you’re in Atlanta, Georgia, where End It is based, check out some of their pop-up shops on the 22nd. Investigate which of End It’s partners your passions line up with, or do some research on local organizations in your town who are fighting slavery and see how you can help them the rest of the year. Most importantly, know that your role is vital and your voice has an impact. Together, we are all in it to end it.
About the Author
Mallory Mishler is a Michigander, studying Women’s and Gender Studies and Peace and Justice. She is passionate about using her voice to advocate for the freedom of all people, especially through creative mediums. When not writing, she can be found climbing mountains, caring for her plants, or painting on things that shouldn’t be painted.