End It: Shine a Light On Slavery

#EndItMovement

Love is the light by which all are brought forward out of darkness. -LeeAnn Taylor

Today is Shine A Light On Slavery Day. It’s a day to join other Freedom Fighters from around the world to shine a light on modern-day slavery.

END IT is a Coalition of the leading organizations in the world in the fight for Freedom. With Coalition Partners engaged in work on the ground, together they bring AWARENESS, PREVENTION, RESCUE, and RESTORATION.

Learn More about Human Trafficking, Modern-Day Slavery, the Red “X” and the #EndItMovement. Share your #EndIt selfie on social media to join the collective voice and continue to raise awareness. Here’s your chance to get creative while linking arms with others to stand up for justice and freedom for the millions still oppressed and enslaved today.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

 

 

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5 Ways To Fight For Freedom From Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. As the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, it affects every nation across the globe. Every 30 seconds, someone is forced into this type of bondage–modern slavery. –The A21 Campaign

We’ve all heard the expression, “No one can do everything, but all of us can do something“. When it comes to issues like sex trafficking, forced labor, or any form of modern-day slavery, we freeze. Not because we don’t care, but because we feel so absolutely incapable of making any significant or effective contribution toward real change.

Where do we start? How do we start? Once we take the first step, what next? That’s when it helps to look to credible people and organizations who have already started paving a path, and join them on their journey. The A21 Campaign is one of those organizations. I agree with them when they say, “Not everyone can intern or volunteer, but everyone can make a difference.”

The A21 Campaign makes it simple for us by offering Five Ways To Fight For Freedom from human trafficking. One of my favorite pieces of advice is:

“Be yourself and channel your passions for a purpose. No one else has the exact talents and platform as you. Do what you love to help raise awareness or money.”

The A21 Campaign exists to abolish injustice in the 21st century through prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships. Want more ideas on how you can get involved as a modern-day abolitionist? Check out the full list here. Learn more about A21 Campaign’s mission.

It is estimated that the average age of human trafficking victims is only 12 years old. The majority of modern-day slaves are believed to be women and girls. According to A21, only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued. Share the Five Ways To Fight For Freedom with your friends… numbers matter!

Tell us how you are channeling your passions for a purpose and joining your efforts with other freedom fighters on the road to end slavery!

Contact The A21 Campaign or Follow on Twitter

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Forgiveness: The Freedom to Let Go

 

Forgiveness: The Freedom to Let Go is a power-packed little booklet by award-winning author and speaker June Hunt. It begins with a brief intro into the life of a woman who lost her father and sister at Ravensbruck, one of Hitler’s most notorious death camps. Their alleged offense? Protecting the lives of Jewish people who were being hunted down simply because they were Jews. Her name was Corrie Ten Boom. Her story–their story–is told in the movie, The Hiding Place.

In large part, Corrie Ten Boom’s story became so powerful because of her willingness to choose forgiveness. In so doing, she not only released her captors and the murderers of her family, but she released herself.

“When you refuse to forgive, your unforgiveness keeps you emotionally stuck to both the offense and the offender”

The author tackles misconceptions about forgiveness, barriers to forgiveness, root causes of unforgiveness, and the high cost of unforgiveness based around biblical truths. She answers several practical questions including, “How can I release the bitterness toward my offender, who is now dead?” She also articulates the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation, and responds to an argument so many of us can relate to: “I cannot forgive and forget. I keep thinking about being hurt,” along with other common concerns.

“Forgiveness is not explaining away the hurt. It is working through the hurt.”

She says, “Some people never say I forgive you, and they live in bitterness while others find the way to forgiveness and peace.” If you are struggling with issues of bitterness, injustice, or unforgiveness, this little booklet will tell you what the difference is and how you can find freedom.

When we hold tight to bitterness and unforgiveness thinking we are punishing our offenders, in reality, we are punishing ourselves and will remain locked in our own prisons until we find our way to forgiveness.

About the Author

Author June Hunt

June Hunt is a biblical counselor whose award-winning radio program “Hope for the Heart” is heard on nearly 900 radio outlets around the world. She is a sought-after public speaker on topics such as crisis counseling, child abuse, forgiveness and self-worth. She’s also developed a scripturally based counseling course covering topics including depression and anger, marriage, parenting, stress, suicide, and more. Her “Hope for the Heart” booklets have been translated into 27 languages.

 

Look for all 25 of the Hope For The Heart mini-books − These books are for men and women who are seeking restoration from circumstances like codependency, anger, conflict, verbal & emotional abuse, and depression.

Purchase the book: Forgiveness: The Freedom to Let Go

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Celebrating Black History Month

 

Black History Month is a time to recognize and remember the importance of African American history in the fabric of the American story. Following are just a few links that allow us to learn, reflect, and celebrate black history, civil rights, human rights, and the significance of liberty for all people. 

About African American History Month

African American History Timeline in Brief

African American History Month Images

The March on Washington

The Civil Rights Movements

The Civil Rights Act

The Harlem Renaissance

Biographies of Famous African Americans

Black Women in Art & Literature

African American Entrepreneurial Spirit in History

The Meaning and Making of Emancipation eBook

The Abolitionists A PBS Documentary  

Legends of American Visionaries Exhibit: The Tuskegee Airmen 

Smithsonian’s Black History Month

“To be true to one’s own freedom is, in essence, to honor and respect the freedom of all others.”  –Dwight D. Eisenhower

(Photo: by TheRealEdwin, Flickr)

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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NOT FOR SALE: Moving From Awareness To Action Against Modern-Day Slavery

“No longer can we stand by while 30 million people are enslaved”. Thinking about positive change is a beginning—like the planting of a seed. Talking about positive change is taking that idea to the next step, like watering it. But it is not enough to make a lasting difference.  Good ideas, like knowledge and awareness, will never affect true transformation. Like the seed that is planted and watered, without the light of truth and effective nurturing, it cannot thrive and gain the momentum of progressive evolution toward a solution. Not For Sale believes it’s time to shift gears by marrying movement with intelligent action.

So what is Not For Sale’s commitment to breaking the cycle of vulnerability and creating change at the root level of human trafficking and slavery? It is to provide a platform and issue a collective challenge for modern-day abolitionists to rise up and stand with those who are enslaved. To educate, inspire and invite people to move from the awareness phase to the action phase. They join forces to equip abolitionists in their quest to empower those who are enslaved to realize their freedom. That is success—remarkable, measurable success.

“We cannot act solo if we want to make an impact” -David Batstone

What does that collective challenge look like on the ground? Not for Sale combines technology, intellectual capital, abolitionist groups and a growing network of individuals working together for one purpose: to bring an end to human trafficking and modern-day slavery. To creatively, intelligently and strategically work together to literally set captives free.

We are living in a moment in time where the world’s interest and conscience are piqued by the topics of human rights and modern-day slavery. That’s why we cannot allow the sheer breadth and depth of its ugly and enormous reality cause us to become paralyzed to the point of inaction. It will take many moving parts working toward the same goal.

As Not For Sale rightly points out, “We live in a time and place where people are restless to do something”. Their approach promotes a holistic response that will best serve that collective goal. That’s why NFS presents us with opportunities that will bring students/universities, athletes, musicians, artists, communities of faith, justice, technology and business minds together. In order to bridge knowledge to action, they understand that, “The greatest of challenges demand the boldest and most creative initiatives.”

“Ending slavery in our lifetime depends on open-source activism” –David Batstone

Do you consider yourself a modern-day abolitionist? Do you and/or your peers want to learn more about human trafficking or find creative ways to “activate your activism”? Check out the Free2Work, Free2Play, and Free2Walk initiatives. Download the app to find out if the food you eat and the goods you buy are produced by slaves.  If you’re not sure how to apply your interests and skills in the movement, NFS has created an easy online tool to help point you in the right direction.  Consider taking an educational and life changing Immersion Trip, or sign up for The Academy, an abolitionist think-tank where NFS “incubates ideas to create solutions”.   

Hear the heart and journey of David Batstone, banking investor, educator, journalist and President/Co-Founder of Not For Sale in his own words.  

We cannot live in our present time and space and not be aware that human trafficking and modern-day slavery exists to some degree. Neither can we afford to live with our own conscience now awakened, yet stuck in the place of awareness… and do nothing.

How are you moving from awareness to action as an individual, organization or community?

Related Article: The Top Ten Rules for the Lifelong Effort to Become a Smart Activist

Buy the Book: “Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade–and How We Can Fight It” by David Batstone

Connect with Not For Sale on Facebook, online, by email, or follow @NFS on Twitter

Join me on Twitter: @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”
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International Justice Mission: Making Public Justice Systems Work for Victims of Oppression

International Justice Mission (IJM) is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. Through individual casework, IJM confronts aggressive human violence: violence that strips widows and orphans of their property and livelihoods, violence that steals dignity and health from children trafficked into forced prostitution, violence that denies freedom and security to families trapped in slavery.

Collaborative Model

Through a collaborative model, IJM investigators, lawyers and social workers intervene in cases of abuse in partnership with state and local authorities.  By pushing individual cases of abuse through the justice system from the investigative stage to the prosecutorial stage, IJM determines the specific source of corruption, lack of resources, or lack of good will in the system denying victims the protection of their legal systems. In collaboration with local authorities, IJM addresses these specific points of brokenness to meet the urgent needs of victims of injustice.

IJM’s Vision: “To rescue thousands, protect millions and prove that justice for the poor is possible. ™”

Transformational Justice

In the tradition of heroic Christian leaders like abolitionist William Wilberforce and transformational leaders like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., IJM’s staff stand against violent oppression in response to the Bible’s call to justice (Isaiah 1:17): Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

In all of its casework, IJM has a four-fold purpose:

  • Victim Relief
  • Perpertrator Accountability
  • Victim Aftercare
  • Structural Transformation

Defending and Protecting

IJM seeks to restore to victims of oppression the things that God intends for them: their lives, their liberty, their dignity, the fruits of their labor. By defending and protecting individual human rights, IJM seeks to engender hope and transformation for those it serves and restore a witness of courage in places of oppressive violence. IJM helps victims of oppression regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or gender.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”
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Give the Gift of Hope: 8 Powerful Charities that Empower Women

Who doesn’t enjoy the glitz, the glamor and a little bling around the holidays? We all love the associated aromas, feelings and family traditions the season brings. Logs on the fireplace, cinnamon swirls in the air, decorating cookies, flickering candlelight, laughter and music, not to mention ringing in a new year brimming with promise and hope.

Who indeed.  While the idea of a joy and peace-filled holiday season resonates with some of us, it remains only an idea (if that), never given the chance to become a reality for many.  Christmas is a good time to reflect on the provision and blessings we often take for granted. It offers an opportunity to open our hearts and pocketbooks in the true spirit of Christmas: to share, give and tangibly express life and love with those less fortunate. 

Here are 7 Powerful Charities that Empower Women (Children & Communities):

Women for Women International – “Helping Women Survivors of War Rebuild Their Lives.”  WFWI provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. We’re changing the world one woman at a time.

International Justice Mission – IJM seeks to make public justice systems work for victims of abuse and oppression who urgently need the protection of the law. IJM  is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.  IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems.

  • IJM was founded by Gary Haugen. Vision: “To rescue thousands, protect millions and prove that justice for the poor is possible. ™” (www.ijm.org)

Somebody Cares International – “Equip, Empower, Encourage.”  From restoring hope through feeding and re-building in the poorest areas or expediting and facilitating relief in places devastated by natural disasters to ongoing holistic initiatives restoring families and communities in Japan, Turkey, Haiti, and around the globe.  “A true witness rescues lives” -Proverbs 14:25

  • Founded by Doug Stringer, Somebody Cares America and Somebody Cares International work as trusted first responders and ambassadors, along with a global network of chapters, centers, affiliate and partner churches and organizations working together to bring hope and healing to their communities through Prayer initiatives, Compassion outreaches and Cooperative efforts.(www.somebodycares.org)

Mercy Corps  –  Mission: “To alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.”  From initiatives that empower women to child protection, agricultural developmentmicrofinance and unque gift campaigns, and more.

  • Mercy Corps was founded by Dan O’Neill.  Core values: We believe in the intrinsic value and dignity of human life. We are awed by human resilience, and believe in the ability of all people to thrive, not just exist. We believe that all people have the right to live in peaceful communities and participate fully in the decisions that affect their lives. We value stewardship of the earth’s health, pledging to accountably and efficiently preserve and manage its resources. We believe that it is our duty to be effective stewards of the financial resources entrusted to us. (www.mercycorps.org)

Operation Blessing’s Orphan Care – “Compassionate Care for Orphans and Vulnerable Children around the Word” From providing practical needs like an education or a pair of shoes to orphans in Afghanistan and mobile dental care to orphans in Guatemala; or solar power, language lessons, computers and supplies for Bedouin and disadvantaged children living in the Negev desert in Israel.

  • Operation Blessing was founded by businessman and philanthropist, M.G. Robertson. OBI’s Orphan’s Care helps orphans and vulnerable children around the world through health care programs, food and nutrition aid, refugee care, educational opportunities, life skills training, mentoring & advocacy. (Orphans’s Care, Operation Blessing)

Compassion International – “Releasing Children from Poverty in Jesus’ Name.” CI is a Christian child advocacy ministry that today helps more than 1.2 million children in 26 countries, serving women and children with programs like Rescue Babies and Mothers and by providing neccessary needs through their Child Sponsorship program.

  • Founded by Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952, CI’s primary focus is individual child development—an inside-out, bottom-up approach that recognizes the God-given value and potential of each individual child, with the belief that many of the assisted children grow up to become positive influences in their own communities. (www.compassion.com)

Catholic Charities USA – “Working to Reduce Poverty in America”.  It is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies and affiliates nationwide. They provide a number of services that aid women, children and families, including poverty reduction programs, adoption services and human trafficking campaigns.

  • As a professional association and social justice movement, Catholic Charities USA provides help and creates hope for over 9 million people each year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. (www.catholiccharitiesusa.org)

The Salvation Army – “Doing the Most Good.” You can help fight against human trafficking, or choose to help fund housing and homeless services, adult rehab programs, prisoner and elder services, or others that directly impact women and children in any community. 

  • The Salvation Army was founded by William Booth. The “miracle” of Christmas is repeated over and over again through the joy of caring and sharing. The traditional red kettle is an integral part of the Christmas scene, with millions of dollars donated each year to aid needy families, seniors, and the homeless, in keeping with the spirit of the season. The Salvation Army has been providing assistance to women and families with a variety of social and spiritual afflictions for over 100 years. (www.salvationarmy.com)

Remember, Love given freely always comes back as a gift to YOU.  Spread some peace, hope and goodwill to women who need it this year!

As promised, I will be highlighting organizations throughout the remainder of the year that offer unique ways to give the gifts of love, joy and hope to women and girls in need. Share the true spirit of Christmas and spread the love… Share this List with a Friend.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Women, War & Peace’s: “Peace Unveiled” Explores Justice for Afghan Women

Women, War & Peace: “Peace Unveiled”

What do a parliamentarian who participated in writing the Constitution of Afghanistan that guarantees equal rights for women, a young Afghan woman from Kabul, and a former midwife have in common?

A quest for Peace and Justice.

Can you imagine living in a place where women and girls still have to fight just to get an education, religious equality and the opportunity to earn money? A place where mobile phones, video cameras and music, apart from sanctioned radio stations, are banned? Where even today, many women are not allowed to drive or even show their face in public? A place where fear and darkness hover over your every thought and movement and it seems there is no chance of hope for your future?

The HRC (Human Rights Watch) reports that women are often subjected to threats, intimidation and violence in Taliban-controlled areas. And although it is against the law, some still impose the “brutal customary punishments such as baad, where women and girls are given as compensation for crimes”.  Read the full article: “Afghanistan: Stop Women Being Given as Compensation”.

Women, War and Peace’s: Peace Unveiled documents the struggles and efforts that these three women walked through as they united around a common cause–to secure peace and justice for themselves and future generations.  It is the third installment in the documentary special: Women, War & Peace, a mini-series that highlights the powerful role of women in conflict zones around the globe.

The clashing of their fear that the demands of Taliban rule would eradicate the forward movement of women in Afghanistan with an overwhelming desire to see their dreams of a peaceful and prosperous future for them and their children spurred them to action.

In Peace Unveiled, we follow these three courageous women who “maneuver against formidable odds to have their voices heard in a peace jirga and high peace council.”  The film takes you behind Kabul’s closed doors as their case is made to U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.

In 2006, Safia Ahmed-jan, a provincial director of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs was gunned down outside her home in apparent retribution for her efforts to help educate women and girls, according to officials.

In 2011, a woman and her daughter were stoned and shot to death in an area between Kabul and Kandahar by a group of armed men who targeted them for moral retribution, according to security sources. 

It is important to celebrate forward movement, but it is equally important to understand what remains the same.

The United States and NATO repeatedly report that reconciliation talks with the Taliban must contain guarantees that women’s rights will be protected–a clear moral and human rights shift–but it still remains to be seen where the value will eventually be placed and whose voice will be heard in the end.  

So where do we go from here?

Does hope elude the future of Afghan women and girls? Is there still a chance for peace? We hold out hope, yes!  And we will always remain grateful for those who have risked so much to help secure freedom and liberty in this volatile region of the world. But we must continue to pray and take action to help bring about lasting peace and freedom for the women and people of Afghanistan.

Read the Report by Human Rights Watch: “Afghan Women and the Risks of Reintegration and Reconciliation”

Watch the Trailer: Peace Unveiled

Buy the DVD (includes all segments in the Series)

Visit the Website for Women, War & Peace

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women– “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Congo Women: Women of War, Women of Courage


Are the women you know free to work, pursue an education and contribute to society? Do they dare to laugh, sing and dream out loud? Sadly, many women from war-ravaged nations, including the Congo, believe these simple freedoms are unattainable–valuable treasures beyond their reach.

Congo – The Reality on the Ground

Congo ranks among the top 3 most dangerous countries in the world for women. More than 5.4 million people have died as a result of mass murder, famine, and disease brought on by the Congo’s devastating conflict. According to A Thousand Sisters, Eastern Congo is often called “The worst place on earth to be a woman,” as concluded by a panel of gender experts assembled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Sexual violence is pandemic.

“Deep in the bush, what better way is there to keep everyone subdued, than to rape every man’s mother, sister or wife?” –-Dr. Mvuama

Dr. Mvuama treats victims of war and says armed groups raid and loot villages, raping women, children and sometimes babies or men to control the people though terror, according to a VOA News report.

From the mouths of terrorist rebels: “I raped, killed and stole from people,” said one; and, “I killed and raped. I loved being drunk and raping women. I have even killed children,” said another in a chilling statement devoid of any conscience. For the full story, visit Africa Stories. The Journal of Public Health report and UNICEF also collaborate the staggering reports, estimating more than one thousand woman and girls are being raped every day—a rate equivalent to 48 rapes every hour. Many women and girls are also sexually mutilated, infected with AIDS and/or are impregnated by rebel soldiers.

“It is now more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier in modern conflict.” –Maj. Gen Patrick Cammaert, Ex-force Commander for Eastern DRC

Congo – A Higher Truth

When the evils of this world seek to suck the life out of every good, honorable and living thing, we must not cower in defeat or shame. They want us to believe it is impossible, that our fate is sealed–as if to declare victory as they dance on our graves. But as the saying goes, “It’s not over until it’s over”. As long as there is breath, there is life!
Take a stand, raise your voice, hold a sister’s hand and walk together.

“May our prayers never relent until the earth stands at attention and witnesses heaven unleash it’s justice” –April McCallum

Bonds of Love, Bonds for Life

Have you heard the expression, “What you wish you could do for many, do for just one”? It’s about going there together. Here are a few ways you can raise awareness and help create immediate impact for our Congo sisters:

Act & Share:
Run for Congo Women Events – Promote and/or Participate
Write & Blog – Related Article Advocating for Congolese Women
Sponsor a Congolese Sister – Women for Women International
Join Eastern Congo Initiative – Synergy of Women for Sexual Violence Victims
Be a Political Advocate – Use Your Voice for those who don’t yet have one!
In the U.S. Call 202-456-1111 or Send an Email to the White House
View & Share:
Crisis in the Congo, Uncovering the Truth
Congo Story: War, Women and Rape
Who is YOUR Sister?
Read & Share:
Running for Their Lives by Stephanie Riggs, Colorado View Magazine
A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman by Lisa Shannon
No Justice for Women in DRC, Amnesty International
Stronger Women, Stronger Nation – Amplifying the Voices of Women in Eastern Congo, Women for Women International

It takes zero courage to brutalize a woman or child, only cowardice. Those who rise from the ashes against all odds, THEY are the ones worthy of our honor. They are the true heroes, the brave and the strong. They will be loved and learn to love again. And, they will rebuild their lives with our help. We salute you–women of war, women of courage… Women of Destiny!

© By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photo by David Dennis)

Sources: UNHCR, UNICEF, WfWi, VOA News, ABC News, Amnesty International

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