Ending Slavery on Thirty Wheels
Fighting slavery is a lot like riding a bicycle.
Both require many small parts working together in unison.
Both seem impossible at first, but over time goals become easier to reach.
Both can be extremely uncomfortable when you’re in it for the long haul.
But perhaps most importantly, both take us outside of ourselves, require us to think bigger. On a bicycle, we come face to face with the beauty and terror of nature. In fighting modern-day slavery, we come face to face with the beauty and terror of human nature.
And so it is fitting that the largest campaign International Justice Mission has ever held on behalf of the abolition movement is happening on bicycles.
5 Weeks for Freedom (5WFF) is a major awareness and advocacy campaign to support the work of International Justice Mission and to give a voice to victims of modern-day slavery and other forms of injustice.
A team of ordinary people is giving up 5 weeks to cycle 1800 miles of the Underground Railroad – a route that reminds us that change happens when ordinary people do what they can to stop injustice, that the evil of slavery has been defeated once, and that, together, we can do it again.
The 15-member group is biking all the way from Mobile, AL to Buffalo, NY, stopping in cities and towns along the way to talk with churches and individuals, host concerts and advocacy events, and spread the word that slavery still exists, is still an affront to God, and must still be fought with the fervor of our abolitionist predecessors.
The team is a little over halfway done. Today they will bike 90 miles and stop in Louisville, KY, for a weekend of events.
They might be complete lunatics – after all, they are covering 1800 miles on tiny little bicycle seats. Most of them have been baking in the grueling Tennessee heat. One of the riders was attacked by red ants.
But for lunatics, they seem to have a solid purpose in mind. “The whole motivation behind doing this bike ride,” rider Clara Caruthers said during the first week, “is for the struggle that other people are facing.”
Slavery is more rampant today than any other time in the history of the world. From India to New Jersey, 27 million children, adults and families struggle under it’s yoke.
International Justice Mission is a Christian human rights agency that has secured justice for some of these victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression since 1997. Their 5WFF campaign is meant to grow the organization’s support base in funding and awareness.
And just like the riders’ bicycles have many small parts working together, the abolitionist movement needs people from all walks of life. You don’t have to be a lawyer or social worker to stop slavery.
To get involved with 5WFF:
- Attend an event. Join up with the team for a live concert, a Reds game, or for advocacy training in a city near you! You can also volunteer for an event. Here are the remaining event locations as the riders approach Buffalo:
Louisville, KY – This weekend!
Cincinnati, OH – July 21-22
Columbus, OH – July 24-25
Cleveland, OH – July 27
Buffalo, NY – July 30
- Donate $10 by texting FREEDOM to 20222 and help 5WFF raise their $1 million goal.
- Follow the team on Facebook, Twitter or via their live feed.
- Join the Weekend to End Slavery by getting a group together to watch the film At the End of Slavery online.
To learn more about justice and the story of IJM, check out founder Gary Haugen’ s book The Good News About Injustice.