Why We Walk
In preparation for the big DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk, I received a story this week in my inbox. It was labeled “Why We Walk,” and was meant to give some encouragement to the event’s many participators.
I’m including the story below, with one addition: There is another reason why I would walk to end slavery, and plan to do so at the DC event later in October. It is to join physically with the many men, women and children who are currently wandering against their wills.
While we walk the streets getting somewhere important, window shopping, working out, goofing off, or even raising money for a great cause, we often forget that wandering for pleasure is a luxury.
In walking for marginalized people, we can act out with our bodies the migrant life.
The following story was taken from interviews conducted by the organization Free the Slaves:
Rose* is a former slave who is now free. She grew up in Cameroon, Africa, and when she was 14 she left her family to come to the United States, with the promise of education and opportunity.
In reality, she was forced to work as a domestic servant and nanny in the DC area without any pay or respect. For two and a half years she endured physical and emotional abuse from her captors.
Some people in the community even knew of her situation and did nothing to help her. They said they felt sorry for her but didn’t want to get involved.
One day in November she couldn’t take it anymore and decided to make a run for it. She thought she had to hide from the police because her captors told her that American police were corrupt and that she should never call them. Although she almost lost hope, she held on.
Today she is living her own life as a free individual. Rose’s story is filled with heartache and suffering, but ends with hope. Her captors were prosecuted and plead guilty, and they both received nine years in jail.
Rose is living proof that though modern-day slavery exists, there is hope.
*name changed to protect identity
Bedouin children walking in desert – photo by Hendrik Dacquin
If you are interested in supporting a walk to end slavery, or if you would like to participate in one in your city, a simple online search can render a lot of information. Currently a walk is scheduled for NYC on October 9 and for DC on October 23.
Do you have a walk, bicycling event, or run that you participate in for a cause?
Do you tend to give to walks/runs when people you know are taking part?