Saturday, April 25, 2009

the collective SHOUT...

so at the anti-slavery organization i work for, love146, we have this term we call the collective shout. it is one of the things that we think needs to happen for this horror to end. we define it as one voice added to another added to another getting a bit louder and a bit stronger until all that is heard everywhere is "ABOLITION & RESTORATION."

my voice joined this shout about 4 years ago. sometimes i have screamed it and others i have whispered it but ever since i heard stories of children being forced into sexual slavery i haven't really been silent about it.

well this last week i didn't shout, or whisper but tweeted to bring abolition. for those that don't know twitter is this strange social networking site where you can "tweet" to your friends about what you are doing, ask them what they are doing and share "thoughts" (the catch is that each "tweet" can only be 140 characters). i signed up to have a twitter account for the first time on wednesday afternoon (you can follow me if i stick with it at @believe146). why?

hugh jackman, aka wolverine from x-men, sent out a twitter about 10 days ago that said he would give $100,000 to a person's favorite charity IF they would have to convince him of course by using 140 characters or less. so in the last week hugh received thousands upon thousands of tweets from all of these amazing people highlighting some of the most amazing work that is going on in the world today.

we decided to join in and tweet for love & abolition. kind of last min and a bit of an experiment for us, we jumped in with a strategy to get people to tweet hugh at 1:46 EST for a couple of days. we were AMAZED. hundreds upon hundreds of people tweeted and tweeted and tweeted. shouted and shouted. love146 was followed that day by thousands upon thousands of people. we had spikes in our web site. clever slogans came and made their appeal to mr jackman. people tweeted for us all through the night. the "twitter voice" for abolition was much much louder than we were expecting. we were shocked. a collective shout could be heard.

i sat in the office friday listening to the ryan seacrest morning show (were hugh would announce the winner). and...we didn't get it...two amazing organizations ended up splitting the prize because hugh couldn't decide between the two (charity water & operation of hope). both organizations i am extremely grateful exist and got some $ friday ... kids need clean water and deserve a beautiful, sparkling smile...

although grateful that the kingdom is being built through this there was this feeling of "shucks" and a sense of just being bummed out. the work of abolition is hard. it isn't cut and dry like digging a well and watching thousands of people get clean water from it. YES we have stories of hope and restoration. we have seen children who shouldn't smile ever again play, dance and embody joy in the flesh. but the fight to end this feels tricky and SO much is required. we need a people who challenge current systems and structures, who change the way they spend money, who challenge sexual addiction, pornography and the reason why we place so little value on a child. we need business men & women to be a voice to their co-workers, families to radically engage the foster care system. we need a social movement and change where all take a stand and shout, scream, tweet and live "ABOLITION." it can be done. i am sure of it now but the road is long and i am beginning to see that it requires much more than even i want to give sometimes...oh, jesus, help me, help us. sustain me, sustain us!

i read this quote the other day and i wanted to pass it along to all of you who shouted with us this week AND who have shouted with us over the years and will continue to do so even if hugh jackman isn't doing some charity giveaway! i found it in a book, the impossible will take a little while (a collection of short essays, poems, etc all with a focus towards social justice, social change and hope). in one of the essays a women is telling a story about a conversation she had with her friend. her friend works in suicide prevention and had been walking alongside someone for awhile who had just completed suicide. sad, frustrated and "bummed out" (much more so than i was on friday!!) her friend looked at her and made this statement:

"you know i cannot save them. i am not here to save anyone or save this world. all i can do-what i am called to do- is plant myself at the gates of Hope. sometimes they come in;sometimes they walk by. but i stand there everyday and i call out til my lungs are sore with calling and beckon and urge them toward beautiful life and love"

here's to some sore lungs and staying planted at the gates of Hope...even if mr jackman didn't send his $100,000 through the gates... PEACE & ABOLITION!!!

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