2020 Blog

Bigger than us

The training is tough, the hills are brutal, but in the moments I want to give up, to get off the bike and go home, I remember that it is worth it. At the end of the day, it’s not about me or the miles, but about fighting against domestic sex trafficking.

Hello!! My name is Audrey, and I am a freshman at the University of Missouri - Kansas City studying nursing! (What a time to enter healthcare!) Growing up in the suburbs around Kansas City, I am privileged to have the opportunities and the support that I do. I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from, if I can get an education, and if things will work out financially. In larger terms, I am very lucky to live the life I am living, and I feel responsible to recognize the standpoint in which I come from and use it productively.

I first heard about Pedal the Pacific through Instagram, specifically from Audrey Fleenor who was a member of the 2018 team! Audrey and I went to the same high school and I was a freshman when she was a senior. Watching her complete the ride and fight against something as big as trafficking while coming from Kansas City awoke a voice within urging me to use the privilege I have for something larger than myself.

I could have never imagined that I would be a part of Pedal the Pacific, but I am so so thankful for the opportunity to join this loving and supportive community. The training is tough, the hills are brutal, but in the moments I want to give up, to get off the bike and go home, I remember that it is worth it. At the end of the day, it’s not about me or the miles, but about fighting against domestic sex trafficking.

Since beginning this journey, I have seen the impact bringing an issue to the attention of others can have; my mom and I attended “The Apathy Effect Exhibit” this fall, an anti-trafficking walkthrough that showcased real stories of young girls who were forcefully trafficked and abused. Following the heavy experience, my mom and I spent time talking and processing what we experienced. I remember telling her how when I applied to Pedal the Pacific, I had a difficult time articulating to others the full weight of what led me to fight against trafficking, but the exhibit helped express why I began this journey in the first place. As a result of sharing tough realities many face, my mom has joined the fight with a unique perspective of a middle school teacher in the presence of young individuals on a daily basis. We may not have all the “right” words to say or be an expert in the subject, but by conversations and experiences, we can share the importance of the fight and invite others to join us.

I want to encourage you to look for a need and fill it. Look for injustice and fight for it. See where you can help and do it. One voice sparks others and cultivates change in ways so much more than we can ever imagine. I heard a quote recently and it keeps ringing through my mind: it goes something like, “we lie to ourselves and bring ourselves down more than anyone else can.” Fight the internal voices telling you something is too big, too far off, or too irrelevant and go for it! Imagine the change we will make when we all take a leap of faith to fight against injustice.

We ride not for ourselves, but for the opportunity to raise awareness about the realities of sex trafficking and to put an overdue end to human trafficking. We ride to support organizations like The Refuge for DMST and NCMEC who continuously lay the groundwork in this fight to end exploitation. I encourage you to join us in the fight! (P.S. applications for 2021 are open, so take this as your sign to apply :))

Big Love,

Audrey

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