This Saturday, September 22nd marks an incredible milestone in American and world history: the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. On this day in 1862, after the Battle of Antietam, the preliminary proclamation was issued and would go into effect three months later on January 1, 1863. It paved the way for the 13th amendment abolishing slavery in the United States, and eventually, the Civil Rights Movement beginning in the 1950s (read more at civilwar.org). In a broader sense, this day marks the beginning of a new era in the battle for equality and basic human rights, and against racism and the global problem of human trafficking. Unfortunately, those battles aren't over yet. The numbers are incredibly hard to determine because of the hidden nature of human trafficking, but there are an estimated 27 million people - mostly women and children - who are enslaved today. While these numbers are staggering, there are also hundreds - if not thousands - of organizations and groups that are dedicated to ending human trafficking and modern-day slavery, and make an impact every day.
This week, Slavery Footprint is making it easy for us to get involved, learn and share about this global problem. They're live-streaming a concert event from Washington, D.C., and by just tuning in (or better yet going!) you can show your support for the White House's efforts against human trafficking and modern-day slavery, as well as organizations like Slavery Footprint. All you need to do is sign up to view the live-stream event - I know I'll be watching!
I personally became involved with Slavery Footprint after I coordinated and hosted a Call+Response viewing event at Manhattan College, in which over 300 students attended. The more I learned about this cause, and how even I, one person, could have an impact in changing lives, the more passionate I became about it.
How will you, or your kids' history classrooms, honor this special day?