As advocates for justice, one of our fights is against modern slavery, also known as human trafficking. One action to take to support the end of slavery is the annual fundraising walk in Washington DC hosted by Stop Modern Slavery. This year the funds raised totaled more than $85,000, benefiting fifteen different anti-trafficking organizations!

My Experience

Something that sets apart those who have visited Washington DC from those who haven’t is a deep rooted awareness of how huge the National Mall really is.  The Mall is a huge green of land around which everything pertinent in the Nation’s Capital is situated. Especially everything a tourist would visit- most of the memorials, the Capital, the White House, the Smithsonian Museums, etc. . . Honestly, on a map it looks so easy to walk from one end to the other. And it is easy to navigate. But it takes for.ev.er. And the public transportation isn’t ideal at the Mall, either.

I will confess from the start of this post that I didn’t actually walk The Walk. But I did walk the Mall to get to the walk. I drove around for over 1/2 hour to find parking, eventually I finding some a few blocks out from the Capital building. But the Stop Modern Slavery Walk was on the North side of the Washington Monument. Which for me, pulling a wagon with two kids in it, was another 20-30 minute walk to get there.

Guess what else was going on at the Mall that day? Well as the Mall is so huge, on the way there I walked by a Chinese Expo of sorts. I don’t really know what was going on as everything was only in Chinese, including all the information signs. But there was high-pitched singing and colorful dancing! Then I began to think that our government was suddenly very pet-friendly, as there were water dishes out all around the Mall. I eventually ran into a huge set-up for a dog walk with Cesar Millan. My ignorant-self was unaware that Cesar Millan is the renown Dog Whisperer. Good to know.

Eventually, I made it to the Stop Modern Slavery Walk, and got my cool red shirt created by Freeset, a fair trade business helping women out of sex trafficking. My shirt is very soft, very red, and fits great. The walk was worth it just for the t-shirt.

Really! I had people stop to talk to me on the way back to my car, asking about modern slavery just because of that shirt. Well, I was also told that my kids were enslaving me, as I dragged them in a wagon across the Mall. But still!

The event itself was interesting but just okay. There were a lot of speakers which were hard to hear, but unless you are new to being an advocate for justice, it wasn’t really new information or an emotionally charged passionate rally. The rows of tables were pretty cool, you could actually talk with different organizations about what they are doing to stop slavery or buy goods that help survivors.

My kids liked the face painting table. I did too, as I actually got to talk to a few people there. I eventually met up with some friends, but had to leave before the actual walk around the Washington Monument took place.

But I was okay with missing that. I fulfilled my duty of exercise and awareness-raising walking down the Mall in my red shirt.

Things To Know Before You Go:

  • If at all possible, take public transportation. I drove downtown with the awareness I would have a very hard time finding parking.
  • Don’t do this by yourself, it is a good group activity to embrace a deeper passion to end slavery.
  • You can network a little at this event and learn about organizations, but I didn’t feel like it was the best environment to connect with other activists you didn’t already know.
  • Unlike other events, you can bring your kids, even though The Stop Modern Slavery Walk isn’t catered to them.
  • The walk is NOT in the morning, and it isn’t at noon. In fact, you can get there close to 3pm and still see everything and be there before the actual walk begins. Unless you want to listen to everything going on at stage, there is no reason to come at 11:30am.

I feel like the benefits of the walk are that it creates awareness, deepens solidarity, and raises funds for  organizations that are essential in the fight against human trafficking.

And they give you a pretty nice shirt.

Action ideas:

1.) If you want to be part of the Stop Modern Slavery forum, join here (I am part of the Virginia branch).

2.) Stay tuned to SMS on twitter, facebook or www.smswalk.org to hear the news for when you can start signing up for next year’s walk.

3.) Start prepping a group of people to do the walk with you.

4.) If DC is too far for you to travel to, search for similar walks around where you live. Or you can even host one yourself (let me know if you do)!

 

Related Posts:

Human Trafficking in Virginia: Is There Hope Tonight?

Action: Using Slave-Free Tomatoes in Your Chicken Tortilla Soup

Action: Letting Your Leaders Know You Don’t Like Slavery

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