Chapter 14: You Have Advocacy Power
It falls to each of us—and like-minded people everywhere—to wage an unceasing campaign to eradicate human trafficking from the face of the earth.
Christopher H. Smith, U. S. House of Representatives
When discussing the topic of advocacy in my local community, I encourage interested parties to review Chapters 4-7 and remind themselves that anybody can be an advocate; there are no excuses for not being an informed citizen and taking appropriate action; in many ways, we (particularly people in the church) do need thicker skin to confront the harsh realities of a fallen world and we do need more compassionate hearts for those who are vulnerable and less fortunate than us. Finally, we simply need to commit to doing our part, whatever it takes to end human trafficking.
Once we make the decision, then we can consider advocacy work. An abolitionist is someone who takes action to officially end or stop something (specifically slavery). The main way we can advocate to end modern-day slavery is on own knees through prayer. I was so hopeful and humbled by the opportunity to advocate in this way at the International Justice Mission’s Global Prayer Gathering last week. (I will share more about that in tomorrow’s post.) Prayer is the anchor of any biblical justice movement. By reading this book and hearing IJM’s stories, I am reminded again and again that our prayers are indeed acts of spiritual warfare against this evil of human trafficking.
How can you exercise your advocacy power?
1. PRAY: “Prayer is the primary tool of the Christian activist. Prayers of discernment, prayers of intercession, praying the Word of God—these are the fundamental ingredients for change. Hearts are moved and evil is arrested through the power of our prayers. In prayer we become compassionate abolitionists (163).”
2. BE IN THE KNOW: “Get to know your local faith-based organizations that are involved [in anti-human trafficking efforts]. Visit them and their programs. If you have a local faith-based organization you think should be involved [including your church], urge them to do so (159).”
3. EDUCATE YOURSELF: “Take time to be informed and research things for yourself. Ask hard questions and look deep. And talk to your clergy. Get to know them. Tell them your heart and partner with your faith community. If services are not available in your community, if nothing is happening, then you do it (159-160).” Amen, sistas!
4. TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO LOBBY
“Lobbying is about relationship (161).”
I recall my first lobbying experience last summer. Initially, the idea of lobbying was overwhelming. However, IJM prepared me so well for the experience. Besides, I was having a conversation with a congressional representative about stuff that I really cared about. Once I came to that understanding and was comforted in the fact that I would not be taking this critical first step alone, I welcomed “Lobby Day” and the team of passionate North Carolina representatives who lobbied with me. I am looking forward to returning to the Hill again this summer to lobby with the International Justice Mission.
You can join us at the IJM Advocacy Summit on June 9-10, 2014 in Washington DC. Register to be a force for freedom!
Blessings, © Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2014
Refuse to Do Nothing Book Discussion
Chapter 1: The issue of Human Trafficking
Chapter 2: We’ve Done This Before
Chapter 3: So you want to be an activist?
Chapter 4: Take Action #HumanTrafficking
Chapter 5: Be Brave, No Excuses
Chapter 6: Stop the Violence
Chapter 7: Not in My Backyard
Chapter 8: Sex for Money
Chapter 9: Be the Nosy Neighbor
Chapter 10: Congo, Your Phone, and Child Slaves
Chapter 11: Chocolate, Not So Sweet
Chapter 12: You Have Purchasing Power
Chapter 13: You have Relationship Power