Audacious Abolitionists Fight Back at William Woods University
|2/4/2013||Mary Ann Beahon|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||(573) 592-1127|
William Woods University students, led by a young woman from Odessa, Mo., have been striving the last few months to create what they hope will be an inspiring call to arms for students in the face of injustice in the world.
Kristen Withrow, president of the WWU chapter of International Justice Mission (IJM), has been working with members of Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) and IJM to set up Audacious Abolition Week, a week meant to publicize the harm, and hope, of human trafficking.
The week, Feb. 4-7, will include four events, kicked off Monday night with the Elegantees fashion show. Other events are:
- A walk-through exhibit, assembled by the members of CRU, will open at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Aldridge Lounge.
- The film, “Taken,”will be shown at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Dulany Auditorium.
- Three stories of freedom from modern slavery will be presented at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Library Auditorium.
“Taken” is a 2008 French action thriller film starring Liam Neeson, who plays a former U.S. CIA operative tracking down his daughter after she is kidnapped by human traffickers while travelling in France.
Withrow said that “Taken”first sparked her interest in fighting human trafficking, and also led to the birth of IJM at William Woods.
"IJM was started here about two years ago," said Withrow, explaining that a group of students was moved to start a chapter after hearing a speaker from IJM that CRU brought in. Now IJM hopes to inspire other students to join their cause.
“'Taken’ was the film that first introduced me to human trafficking. That's kind of where I first found my passion for it and realized that it exists in North America and Europe, and not just third-world countries."
She said it is the perfect film to introduce people to trafficking. But putting together these events has been more than just finding a good movie to show.
"Oh, good gracious," laughs Withrow, when asked about preparing for the event. "My inbox is exploding with messages!"
She's been sending emails and making phone calls "like crazy" for the last two-three months, just trying to set up the four events.
One of the events, the Elegantees fashion show, came together as a result of a Facebook contact.
"The designer for Elegantees actually contacted us over Thanksgiving break," Withrow said. "She found us through our Facebook page, William Woods IJM, and started talking to us about doing a show with her new 2013 line."
The clothing was designed by Katie Martinez and has been sewn by women in Nepal who have been rescued from human trafficking.
Withrow said the William Woods IJM is excited to share more of Martinez’s story and "try to inspire the students to think about their education and their career goals and talents and what they're good at and to combine that with something that they're passionate about and see how they can use their gifts to change the world, too."
Despite the work, Withrow says she's enjoyed putting the four events together.
"It’s been so much fun, and I can see that God's blessing is really on it and things are falling into place."
According to Withrow, the message of the week is not one of sadness, but of hope.
"We don't want Audacious Abolition Week to be dark and depressing. So often when people talk about trafficking it’s, ‘trafficking is evil and awful and sad,’ and it is. But if you leave it there, then nothing gets done about it. We want this week's message to be one of hope."
Kristen Withrow, president of International Justice Mission at WWU