By Madelyn Bafus, Conference Board of Church & Society, Inland District Representative
More than 100 people, holding battery-powered candles, gathered for the annual Human Trafficking Candle Light Vigil in the atrium of River Park Square in Spokane on Sunday, January 11, 2015 to protest various forms of human trafficking.
January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The vigil was organized by Mabel Elsom, Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator for Lutheran Community Services in Spokane. The group of people listened to speakers and musicians. They heard from Amber Dawn McCall who was rescued from human trafficking at the age of six. They watched a theater piece, “Which Is It?”, written by Jeff Rutherford. In this performance facts and figures were presented, but out of these came people and stories. The actors, Mary Davies and Taylor Pedroza, gave voice to those that don’t have one.
Also during the vigil was a dance performance, “Your Story. My Story. Our Story”. Everyone has a story that defines the life of the one who carries it. The stories of victims are important but they are hard to tell. Once we choose to listen we are changed and compelled to fight for justice and freedom of the oppressed. The vigil ended with a moment of silence.
In attendance were Rev. Mike Graef and members of Spokane Valley United Methodist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church and the Inland District of United Methodist Women. The District UMW’s President, Sharon Stovall’s mother in-law, Charlotte Brecht donated the candles.
This vigil is one way we can lift our voices for the 27 million voiceless people around the world who are enslaved. Please consider putting this event on your next year’s calendar right now. The date is always the same, January 11th.
But in the mean time, pray, keep yourself informed, and speak out for this grave injustice that affects so many children, youth and women around the world.