When the Red X Fades #EndItMovement
I got out of the shower and glanced down at my right hand where the remnants of a red ‘X’ are still slightly visible.
And in a way I was relieved to let the red ‘X’ fade away. The X drawn on with red lipstick (I had nothing else in my house!) just before going to bed, washed off quickly under hot water.
I was relieved, not because I am not a freedom fighter, and not because I don’t value the fact that people of influence are putting red ‘X’s on their hands today and drawing attention to the issue of modern day slavery.
This all needs to be recognised for what it is.
A huge change from what was.
A change in social participation, perception, and understanding.
Four or five years ago, trying to get people talking on social media about modern slavery and human trafficking was difficult. Today the conversation is different.
Now thousands of people are acknowledging the issue and urging others to be part of ‘ending it’.
But today I simply didn’t want to get caught up in a social media campaign without thinking about those people who live with the reality of exploitation and abuse every single day.
I have been physically working alongside many survivors of exploitation. And I have grown and changed a lot through it. My language and opinion has been changed. My drive to see it end has even wavered and faltered. Most days I question if we can ever see something real and long-lasting out of our efforts.
That’s the reality of being so close to an issue. It sears your heart, and leaves you questioning.
Today I realised I was relieved to wash the issue off my hand. I know it is important, needed and valuable for people to utilise social media and celebrity platforms to say that human slavery is not okay and needs to end. But what I realised staring at that red ‘X’ is that it hasn’t ended quick enough for many people I know. For some, the conversation has come too late.
I realised that washing off the red ‘X’ is me still grieving for those which freedom is no longer option.
I know many people want to hear the happy stories of the one whom we helped who made it all worth it. Unfortunately my heart can’t remember the one or even the one-hundred who have experienced freedom without remembering the others. The ones who didn’t make it.
A red ‘X’ is a declaration, and an important one. It is also something we can put quickly put aside when another more immediately pressing issue comes up. It is something we can apply hot water to and wash away if we want.
Let us not forget the real, human lives for which the ‘X’ represents. Those who cannot wash their troubles away.
Let us remember that evil is still present and prevalent in our culture.
Let us acknowledge that human trafficking will not end with just a red ‘X’. It takes action. It takes generosity with our money, our time, and our prayers. It takes individuals willing to be present in the mess and hardship of those around them. It asks us to enter into hard spaces and difficult questions.
Sometimes we come out triumphant – seeing freedom in the life of someone we have come to love.
Sometimes we come out grieving – facing loss and recognising the red ‘X’ came too late.
Both are important to remember as we engage in this issue. We must hold joy and sorrow in open hands still close to our hearts. And if those hands have a red ‘X’ on them, fantastic.
May it simply be another reminder of what we are called to fight, even as it fades away.
Thank-you for your dedication.
I am grateful for your commitment and care.
Both online and in your real life.
You can learn more about the red ‘X’ social media campaign at http://www.enditmovement.com