Friday, May 27, 2011

Guest Post: How I Started My Abolitionist Journey



John Burger is a graduate of Brigham Young University, where he received a BA in Communications with an emphasis in Advertising. During the day he sells watches as the Online Marketing Director for Precision Time. At night he fights modern slavery as AbolitionistJB. In between he enjoys his time at home in Dallas, Texas, with his gorgeous wife, three little kiddos and two chickens. Chickens, that's where it's at these days. His eternal church calling is with the Young Men and he still dreams of dunking a basketball. You can learn more about John's abolitionist work here or you can email him directly at abolitionistjb at gmail.com.

A little over a year ago, my wife and I came across the website http://www.love146.org/. Love146 is an organization that combats the slavery of children. We started reading through their site and were surprised to learn that slavery is still rampant with over 27 million slaves worldwide. That's more slaves than anytime in history, including the transatlantic slave trade. The Department of Justice estimates there are over 300,000 slaves here in the United States with nearly 15,000 people trafficked into the U.S. each year. These statistics blew my mind.

As we continued through their site we came across a video titled, "Imagine." This video didn't just grab me, it shook me. This was my call to action.


Imagine from LOVE146 on Vimeo.

If you have some tears in your eyes and feel a bit of anger, I know what you're going through. Just prior to finding this website I didn't even know that slavery still existed in such a large capacity. If I, an "educated" college graduate, business professional, former missionary and father of three was not aware of the magnitude of slavery in our world today, then there must be thousands of others out there just like me.

Over the past year I have continued my day job, while spending many nights and weekends doing my small part to combat slavery. I began by reading books to understand where and why slavery occurs. Next I started the AbolitionistJB blog and began writing, tweeting, and posting on Facebook. This grew into opportunities to meet with non-profit organizations, interview former victims of slavery, interview celebrities, garner petition support to change human trafficking laws, help raise money for non-profits and raise overall awareness. It's been a wonderful journey filled with happy and sad stories.

I share this for two reasons. One, to raise awareness of this particular issue. Two, to hopefully inspire you on a similar journey. It may not be specifically for this cause, but there are a lot of evil things in this world and opportunities to serve. Yes, life is busy. It's a juggling act between family, work and church service. Throwing abolitionist work into the mix makes things a little crazy and usually means sacrificing some sleep. But, doing this has helped me appreciate and love my family even more. It's helped me in my job and my church callings. I have had chances to share my testimony of the Savior with others and work with great people of a variety of faiths. It doesn't get much better than this. Whatever the cause or the opportunity to serve, you can make a difference.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

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