Justin Dillon is an artist, entrepreneur, public speaker, and abolitionist. He is the founder and CEO of Slavery Footprint, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending forced labor, human trafficking, and modern-day slavery through increased public awareness, action, and advocacy. The following is a guest blog post featuring his latest way you can help end the slavery of more than 27 million people in the world today called “Be Here Now.”
On March 7th, 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. lead hundreds of nonviolent demonstrators on a march to Montgomery, Alabama in an effort to obtain equal voting rights for African Americans.
On June 5, 1989, a man stood in front of a line of tanks the morning after the Chinese military forcibly removed protestors from in and around Tiananmen Square. The photograph of the event is widely considered to be one of the most iconic images of the 20th century.
On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall was inundated with people from both sides. They began to chip away at the wall and when it tumbled down, so did an era once defined by political and social oppression.
History is made by people like you, risking everything and stepping in. If you think you would’ve taken a stand against injustice in the past, prove it and Be Here Now.
One of the greatest fights for human rights is happening at this very moment. Did you know that there are 27 million people currently trapped in slavery, forced to work without pay and unable to walk away? In India, boys as young as 4 are forced to work in sweltering kilns, forming and shaping bricks in dangerous conditions. In the Ivory Coast, an estimated 200,000 slaves are busy harvesting 40% of the world’s cocoa beans. And in Thailand, brothels are filled with young women who were promised a better life only to find themselves trapped in exploitation… The good news is, Made In A Free World has created an innovative new way for you to do something about it.
Thanks to a generous grant from Google, Made In A Free World has produced a video campaign called Be Here Now. The idea behind the campaign is simple: If you think you would’ve stood up against oppression in the past, then you should be here now. Once you arrive at the site, you’re prompted to upload your picture into one of three different scenes. Your face then appears directly inside of the historical footage so that you can feel what it would’ve been like to participate in these groundbreaking battles for human rights.
As a pledge of your commitment to “Be Here Now”, the site asks you to stand up against modern-day slavery by completing one, or all, of the three actions highlighting the work of Made In A Free World’s coalition partners. One of the slides asks you to “Advocate for Kids, not Criminals”, which you can do by signing a change.org petition on behalf of Polaris Project. As the petition explains, “Polaris Project is trying to make 2013 the last year a 15-year-old can be tossed into jail and treated like a criminal despite being a victim of commercial sexual exploitation.” Next, you can click over to the Freedom Commons, a microsite created by International Justice Mission, to ask President Obama to make freedom a reality for children and families around the world waiting for rescue. The third and final action you can take is to visit the Made In A Free World site that features a video and campaign, #ImWithLincoln, which urges users to ask their Senators to recommit themselves to freedom by doubling the spending used to address human trafficking.
“If you think you would’ve been there then, Be Here Now.” This is your moment to be a part of one of the greatest fights for justice of our time.
Visit beherenow.org to make history.