Washington DC kind of begs you to dream big. The streets are often quite literally lined with monuments to individuals, team, and entire armies of people who did something temple worthy.
“Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime,” – Longfellow
And, whether you like the events and/or players or not, world changing things still happen here every day. International Justice Mission is doing a lot of those things. That was my main takeaway from IJM’s Orientation week. They are actually superheroes, and they’re letting me be their sidekick.
Slavery has become a trendy charity topic, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with that. But the reality of violence against the poor is such a massive and still largely unaddressed problem. According to IJM’s numbers, in South Asia, the part of the world where nearly half of the world’s 30 million slaves are held, slave holders are more likely to be struck by lightning than brought to justice. And “slavery” here doesn’t mean just a really bad job with a mean boss. This is slavery on the brutality level of the worst of 19th century American slavery. People are reduced to commodities every day, trapped in endless debt, sold between masters, and forced to bear atrocities I actually don’t want to write about.
These delightful statistics were part of our first training session last Monday morning at 9am. Conversations like these will wake you up. Generally, that was the effect of the entire week. People that worked for IJM led sessions from 9-5ish every day that hit the room of 80+ assembled new employees, headquarters interns, and field office interns like overdoses of good coffee (honestly coffee all tastes the same to me but whatever). We learned so much about all of the different types of cases IJM handles: forced labor, sexual violence, human trafficking, illegal land seizure, and even some citizenship rights abuses.
IJM is fighting a modern day abolitionist movement on so many fronts. The goal is sustainable, systemic change in some of the most unequal societies on the planet. This is superhero level work, though it looks far less glamorous than one might hope. It looks like long nights with reams of paperwork. It looks like 48 hour sit ins at police stations and government offices, begging people to take action. I’m ok with that.
Anyways, I don’t have a ton of updating to do. I was just so very fired up about the week that I wanted to get this blog back up out of the dark recesses of the internet. (Oh also I did get to have some fun! I met a ton of lovely, passionate, inspired people, and we explored the whole DC thing.)
Also here’s this, just because: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R2aW03pwL0