Photo: Rebekah Makutuya and Lauren Thurman join HSU Six White Horses, Shine, Casper, Powder, and Napolean as they Stand for Freedom against slavery
“It is such a blessing to see their hearts in it,” says Rebekah Makutuya, a Hardin-Simmons University junior nursing student from North Richland Hills, Texas. Rebekah is referring to the number of HSU students and others on campus who have stopped by the Stand for Freedom booth she is manning near the campus pond.
Rebekah is one of thousands of university students involved in the Stand for Freedom movement, part of a world-wide, human trafficking awareness campaign hosted by the International Justice Mission (IJM).
“More children, women and men are held in slavery right now than over the course of the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade: Millions toil in bondage, their work and even their bodies the property of an owner,” according to the information on the IJM website, http://www.ijm.org/stand/.
Rebekah, along with Lauren Thurman, an HSU nursing major from Cedar Park, Texas, took charge of the booth set up at HSU all day yesterday and are both there again today, Thursday, March 7, 2013, until 5:30 p.m.
Laptops are set up for students and faculty/staff to sign a petition to be sent to President Barack Obama to help raise awareness of modern-day slavery. Also, individuals stopping by the booth will have the opportunity to donate to the goal of raising $2,700 to aid in the efforts of the IJM.
“There are 27 million slaves in our world today,” says Melissa Milliorn, HSU associate professor of social work and department head. “Stand for Freedom brings attention to those people in slavery by mobilizing college students world-wide to literally stand for 27 hours; in lieu of the 27 million slaves that are around the world. We are encouraging the HSU family and the city of Abilene to come out and show their support.”
Yesterday, HSU students, faculty, and staff donated over $1,000 and Rebekah says more than 200 students stopped by throughout the day to stand.
Rebekah says the turnout has been amazing, “Many of the students are taking mid-term exams right now and have to leave to go to class. But their willingness to come and stand and donate their money really shows the heart of our campus, so many students are eager to plant a seed.”