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Students join with nation to “Stand for Freedom”

By Merrilee LaVilla and Anna Norman, Guest Writers

On March 14 and 15, a group of college students will be making a 27-hour stand.
This event, called Stand for Freedom, is an effort by the International Justice Mission to raise awareness for the approximated 27 million men, women and children who are in slavery today.
On the day of the stand, students will stand for a consecutive 27 hours, one hour for every one million slaves, in order to raise awareness about modern-day slavery. No student is required to stand the entire time, but a rotation system will be in place to ensure that at least one Shorter student is standing over the entire 27 hours.
According to ijm.org, “International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.”
College campuses across America will be participating in the stand between March 5 and 15. The overall goal of the movement is to raise $270,000 for IJM and spread the word that slavery is real.
According to Hannah Mitchell, sophomore education major and current president of Shorter’s IJM chapter, the goal of Shorter’s campus chapter is to support the efforts of IJM through prayer, fundraising and the spreading of awareness about injustice. One way Shorter’s IJM chapter is helping accomplish this goal is by participating in Stand For Freedom.
After learning about the reality of modern-day slavery at the Passion conference in Atlanta, Mitchell felt led to do something about it and started the campus chapter. The chapter has been in existence since Jan. 29 and meets twice a month.
As its current president, she urges the chapter to be involved with the upcoming Stand for Freedom.
“It’s a really good way to raise awareness,” said Mitchell. “Standing for 27 hours is pretty radical.”
Mitchell isn’t the only one excited about IJM’s efforts. Retha Tarleton, sophomore psychology and Christian studies double major, has joined the ranks.
“I want to participate in the stand for the 27 million people that are enslaved in either human sex trafficking or just regular slavery,” said Tarleton.
The chapter’s advisor and assistant professor of criminal justice Dr. Beverley Spitler believes it is a Christian’s duty to take part in such causes.
“We have a responsibility as Christians to bring the injustices to the public square because they’re not going to go anywhere unless you’re willing to stand up, plant your foot and say, ‘This is wrong, and as a Christian, I am going to let everybody know,’” said Spitler.
According to ijm.org, “What started with a few small groups of passionate university students has grown into a national anti-slavery movement.”
Anyone is welcome to join the cause. Every dime raised by Stand for Freedom will go to IJM to help fund their mission. Interested students can contact Mitchell at hannah.mitchell@hawks.shorter.edu.