I often overthink my life. Can anyone else relate? I have always known that I wanted to leave a legacy of loving others through fighting for justice, but I’ve had a hard time knowing where to start. Thankfully, I am fortunate to have had a mentor that got me out of that fear-of-failure headspace by reminding me of how to live out my calling with confidence. She advised me to complete an exercise where I would split a piece of paper into 3 pieces: things I know/what breaks my heart, things I love, and possible plans for my life. By the time I was done, there was not one plan that did not include riding for Pedal The Pacific!
In the category of things that break my heart, I included the exploitation of others, especially those who are vulnerable. First of all, I believe that one's character is really shown by the way that they treat someone else when the other person has absolutely nothing to give in return. I think that we are all called to love others without expectation. Accordingly, it makes me sick to think that some people take advantage of others' lack of power. I had a research project assignment for a human trafficking course, and my thesis concluded that lack of resources was a major component that left people vulnerable to trafficking A lack of privilege results in a lack of power because it limits an individual's array of choices throughout their life. The reality that we live in is that most trafficked victims are vulnerable to predators due to their gender, race, age, or socioeconomic status. Contrary to popular belief, most victims are not kidnapped, but instead deceived and coerced due to the circumstances. Therefore, it is our duty as a society to strive for social justice through equity to create an environment that is equal for all people. Equity equips one with the tools necessary for them to succeed by taking their circumstances into consideration. Fairness brings about equality, but justice prevails through equity. Understanding fairness is important because it is the biggest way to prevent sex trafficking in the first place.
Although, it is important to emphasize that a lack of privilege results in most cases trafficking and not all. I bring this up because we are more likely to ignore a cause when we don't think it will ever happen to ourselves or our loved ones. It is easy to think that sex trafficking is only an international issue or only happens to people who live in extremely unfortunate situations. However, sex trafficking does not discriminate. Shockingly, this is happening in our own backyard, and we need to act now to stop it. There are currently 79,000 adults and minors being trafficked in Texas, and 83% of victims in confirmed sex-trafficking incidents across the nation are U.S. citizens. The books, The Slave Next Door by Bales & Soodalter, and Girls Like Us by Lloyd, both bring awareness to the commonality of trafficking through true stories.
Additionally, it breaks my heart that that we live in a culture that glorifies sex and normalizes the objectification of others. Hollywood movies, magazines, social media, and pornography feed the monster that seeks variety and encourages selfish behavior. The fact that people use other human beings for their own pleasure should not be tolerated! People are NOT for sale.
On a lighter note, the things that bring me joy include reminding others that they are loved, known, and heard. Everyone was created equally, but not every person is being treated like it. It is our responsibility to do something about it because every person is worth it! I believe that love is the most empowering force, and I choose to ride with hopes to create a chain reaction of love! I want to encourage others around me to live a bold life rooted in love. I am excited that part of our proceeds go to The Refuge Ranch, where survivors can have a safe and loving environment as they heal. I also really value community and the opportunity to learn from others by their own stories. Therefore, I am excited to go on an adventure with fourteen girls from all across the nation with diverse personalities who share a common vision.
I ride because I am determined to live a purposeful life that sums up all the things that I know, that bring me joy, and act in a way to change the things that break my heart. I am currently an International Relations and Global Studies & Communication Leadership double major at the University of Texas. After graduating with my bachelors degree in the Spring of 2021 I plan on attending law school for the next three years. I want to spend the rest of my life advocating for victims of trafficking, raising awareness through education, and having a hand in preventing this social issue in the first place! I hope one day to be a human rights attorney and practice law with a trauma informed lens. I know that I am not promised tomorrow, so rather than waiting for a law degree to make an impact, I choose to act now with simply my own two feet.
The good news is I know that Jesus has already won the battle that we are fighting. Therefore, I can confidently say that I believe that we can live in a world without sex trafficking! A bold statement like this sounds overwhelming, but we have to start somewhere, and I choose to start on a bike. For someone who did not even own a bike before this, you can say this is wild (but hey, it’s a great conversation starter that can give me the opportunity to share our mission). I think this ride is such a wonderful opportunity to bring about awereness through conversations about sex trafficking, support survivors healing journey, partake in the prevention of this social issue and never stop advocating until all are set FREE! LET’S DREAM BIG TOGETHER & DO THIS THING! Who is with me?!