Shining a Light in Her High School: Rachel Koh
There are times that we let things get in the way of our influence. There are times when we use excuses like, “I don’t have enough time,” or “I don’t know enough,” or “I’m not old enough.” These thoughts can get in the way of raising our voice when we see something unjust, but today we want to let you know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Whatever time you have to give, whatever knowledge you have, however old you are - you can be an advocate fighting against trafficking.
Rachel Koh, a high school senior in Virginia is an advocate who hasn’t let her age or her busy student schedule keep her from making a difference. Her high school career has been filled with swim team, field hockey, student government, the school yearbook, church and more. But even with a busy schedule, one thing Rachel always makes time for is being an advocate.
When Dressember first started 5 years ago, Rachel was only in 8th grade, but she remembers that a high school friend at church introduced her to the topic of human trafficking through the Dressember campaign. Two years later during her sophomore year of high school, Rachel decided that she wanted to take part in Dressember so she took the first step and joined a team.
Originally, her goal was primarily financial in focus. She wore dresses and participated to help raise money. However, as Rachel started to research human trafficking she realized that being an advocate is so much more than just wearing dresses and raising money.
When the Dressember campaign came around this past year, Rachel was ready to make an even bigger impact. She started preparing her team a couple months in advance, inviting her friends to join. By the time that December rolled around, there were over 45 people who had joined her team including students from several high schools in Rachel’s area. I asked Rachel how the news had spread and how she talked about human trafficking with others. She said that the main platform she used was Instagram.
Rachel explained, “I posted a human trafficking fact everyday. I tried to make facts relevant.” These facts and Rachel’s passion caught people’s attention. She even had people that she didn’t know sending her messages over Instagram, asking her about human trafficking, Dressember and how they could help. Rachel said that after experiencing so much positive feedback and interest, “It gave me more motivation to want to do something about human trafficking.”
Rachel and her friends were so excited when Dressember announced its first annual 5K, and they wanted to created their own 5K event in Virginia. Unfortunately, not everything could fall into place to make that happen, so the team put their heads together and came up with a different idea to make an impact: a good old fashioned bake sale. They sold homemade treats and goodies on May 19th, the day before the Dressember 5K, and raised over $600!
So what is to come next for Rachel and her friends? She says that some of them have already started to plan for the 2018 Dressember campaign, as the word about human trafficking has continued to be spread to more friends and family members. Some future hopes include partnering with different Dressember teams for some events this coming winter! As for Rachel, she is beginning to look into colleges, and is thinking about majoring in communications. A dream job would be to work for International Justice Mission as a journalist, documenting not just the atrocities of human trafficking but also the hope of the victories against it.
Rachel says that she continues to cultivate her passion for victims of human trafficking through learning about personal testimonies and stories. “I get a drive to want to do something about human trafficking through reading personal stories about what [survivors] have had to go through.” Rachel also says that for her, faith in Christ is what motivates her to spread passion and advocacy. “What God’s heart breaks for, ours should break for. This breaks His heart. If I could summarize why this is so important to me, it’s Micah 6:8.”
I asked Rachel, if she could sum up her teams advocacy with one word. She replied, “Determined. We can see what type of brokenness is around us, and what needs to be brought to attention. We are willing to take any chance or opportunity to end it. No matter how small the steps are, it is making a difference.”
Dressember family, friends and fighters, no matter how young or old you are, no matter how much you know or how much you have to give, the little bit you do is still worth it. Any chance, any small act, any opportunity is a chance to help end human trafficking. Join Rachel, her friends and the rest of the Dressember community today to spread awareness and passion for victims of human trafficking.
Raise your voice against slavery this December!
Commit to wearing a dress or tie every day in December. You'll challenge yourself, expand your knowledge on modern slavery, and be equipped to lead your community in the fight to end human trafficking. Registration is open for Dressember 2018 and fundraising has already started! Be a part of the impact for our local and global partners by creating your campaign page today!
About the Author
Amanda Kinney is a recent graduate of The Master’s University and calls Southern California home. She enjoys long walks, rain, photography and all things peppermint. On a daily basis she can be found eating vegan food and talking with her peers about ethical issues. She is enthusiastic about joining the Dressember team and plans on being a lifelong advocate against slavery.