I never thought I would say, “I’m an abolitionist.” I might say, “I’m an author” or “I’m a teacher.” Even “I’m late for dinner.” But never “I’m an abolitionist.” I think that’s because I didn’t really understand what that meant. I’m a 40-something woman with three teenagers, an awesome husband, 3 dogs, a cat and a rabbit. I am president of the junior high parent organization, chauffeur for my non-driving teens and expert whisky drinker. I love to travel, exploring ancient sacred sites during the day and drinking a nice glass of sparkling in the evening. I have authored children’s books, novels (I promise they are coming!) and a book for those of us who need to get off their status quo asses and do what we were meant to do (That last one I wrote for me.). I am busy most days riding (and surviving) the waves of teenage hormones mixed with angst mixed with know-it-all-itis. I make professional phone calls in yoga pants and write while sitting on a couch with dogs piled on top of me.
I am one of the nameless people you see in the grocery store, trying to figure out how you know an avocado is ripe (hint – remove the stem like thing. If it’s green underneath, it’s ripe). I stand in line with you at the DMV and commiserate about the long lines and short tempers. I worry about my kids, wonder if I can wear sparkly eye shadow as I approach 50 (the answer is YES!) and try to come up with new home decorating ideas by spending hours on Pintrest. I might seem ordinary, but my life is anything but. My life and I are made extraordinary because I don’t settle for mediocrity. I say YES to things that challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone. With a mountain of fear, I said, “Let’s do this!” when asked to help end human trafficking. I had no idea how but I did know why. So how can someone who seems so ordinary, become an abolitionist? A Change-Maker? Simple. I had my eyes opened to the fact that slavery is alive and doing very well throughout the world. I listened to an enslaved young woman tell the story of her life in clothing manufacturing. I saw that children who were the same ages as my son and daughters were being sold as sexual playthings 20, 30, 40+ times a day in this country and other countries. I heard that a young child, barely out of diapers was rescued from life as a sex toy. She had the DNA of SIXTEEN MEN inside of her when rescued. I want you to stop for a moment and let that soak in. 4 years old. SIXTEEN MEN. I nearly threw up when I heard that. I wept huge tears full of sadness and mama bear anger. I wept for those children bearing children from rape, for the individuals forced into slavery by lies and greed, for the families torn apart by traffickers. Some things you can never unsee, unhear or unknow. My eyes were opened and I was angry, frustrated, appalled. You don’t have to be a parent to understand that this is so very wrong on so many levels. It’s not just my maternal instincts that get me fired up. It’s my humanity and my heart saying, “No more!”
I began to educate myself more on the trafficking issue. I donated. I read endless articles about the plight of the modern human slave. When my friends Beth and Tim Tiger and Jess Hoertel started Durga Tree International, I knew this is where I wanted to give my time and energy. I still donate, I still read and now I use my gift for writing to help educate people on this horrific crime against humanity. In this way - in MY way - I have become an abolitionist. A Change-Maker. Using my gifts, I am making change happen. Try the word “abolitionist” on for size. I’m sure it fits. One size fits all in this struggle for freedom for all. We ordinary people can have an extraordinary life when we stretch ourselves and live from our hearts. So I confidently now proclaim, “I am an Abolitionist, a Change Maker.” Who’s in? Who will say YES with me in helping to abolish human slavery? It requires nothing but your passion to help others have choice in their lives, some for the first time ever. Use your gifts, whatever they are, to make this happen. And you can even do it in yoga pants.
Think about your gifts and talents because I am coming back to this one…