Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Challenge - Go for a Run in Jacksonville

We were on a trip overseas not that long ago and were invited to an "international" gathering through the local consulate. At this party, we fell into conversation with a man from Angola, a Portuguese Angolan (i.e. white Angolan). He was chatting with us and a Brazilian couple about how he and his family had lost everything and were forced to flee to South Africa because their "slaves" revolted. He said this not once, but several times in English. One of the Brazilians stopped him, and asked in Portuguese, if he had used the correct word in English. The man angrily snapped back in English, "they weren't our servants, they were our slaves! They had no right to revolt against us!" Then there was silence. Stunned silence.

It never really occurs to you as an American that there are slaves. There were slaves, back in the 1800s, but not now. We as a nation elected our first African American President, and our First Lady has ancestors who were slaves. That's how far we believe ourselves to have come as a country and as a society.

But what if you were to meet someone who was a slave, what would you do? You would more than likely be moved with some sort of compassion towards them. But what do you do when confronted with the slave owner? The angry, arrogant, unrepentant slave owner? Really, what do you think you would do? Because we can tell you. You can't do anything, but stare at him in stunned silence, and that moment is heartbreaking. That moment also feels like an eternity and eventually you walk away feeling a deep anger and shame that you did nothing.

The sad truth is that slavery still exists, and in our view, it is a more insidious kind of slavery (as painful as that is to write) because it is primarily comprised of the forced prostitution of girls and teens. We hear about these sorts of things, and think it's only on the other side of the world, and again what can we really do?

Well, on Saturday November 7, you can take part in a fun run in Jacksonville and be someone's "freedom". It's simple enough. And don't tell us that it isn't, because nearly every Gator reading this has been to the Florida-Georgia game, and will probably be there next weekend, and will stand around in a parking lot for far less nobler reasons. And don't quibble with us because that's the Saturday of the Vandy game. Really, the Vandy game?

And if you can't attend, or won't be able to be part of the run, then at least donate.

Don't at the end of your life think or say to yourself, "I could have done more. I could have saved more...I threw away so much money. I didn't do enough..."

Do more than helping someone out this time. Save a life.

Don't believe in Hope, give it to someone.

And if you want a glimpse of what that might be like, watch the video below. And even though it may seem callous to say it this way, the hope you can actually give may be cheap to you, a few bucks or half a Saturday, but it is everything to these women.

Please go for a run, and help save a life.

And we'd like to encourage some of you at UF to step up and form a Gators against Trafficking. For info on how to, click here or here.

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