Thursday, September 23, 2010

252 Freshmen...

Today was a blast from the past. I went to Richardson High School to speak to Freshmen AP Human Geography students about the issue of modern day slavery (human trafficking).

Instead of lecturing them I decided to do some story weaving. I took four distinct stories.
  1. Meta Story- Modern Day Slavery is real. There are 27 million people that wake up each day and are forced to work against their will for no pay. While we enjoy our jobs, education, etc... there are people all around the world enduring a living hell.
  2. My Story- My neighbor went to Ghana and came back crazy like a pit-bull telling me the stories of kids that live as slaves on Lake Volta in Africa. He tried to get me to run from Dallas to Houston ( I said, "ummm... no) and then asked me to play 50 hours of kickball to which I said, "yes". That spurred me to go to Africa and see firsthand what is going on over there.
  3. Slave's story. Each day 7,000 kids as young as five years old are forced to work on rickety wooden canoes as water bailers, net pullers, boat rowers, and net-untangeling divers for 12-14 hours a day. They sleep on dirt floors in huts and most eat one meal a day at most. They look as though they have seen ghosts, and each passing day represents more of their childhood lost forever.
  4. High School Kid's story- they are deciding now who they will become. Will their lives culminate in stuff? Big houses, nice cars, careers, prominent positions? Or will they decide to make a difference in the world no matter how rich or poor they end up being. I urged them "not to make the mistake of not doing anything because we can't do everything."
I closed with a quote from a Holocaust Concentration Camp Survivor, Else Wiesel that says, "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation"

I thanked them for letting me be the voice for the kids who rely on people like me to tell their story.... then 252 freshmen clapped and cheered a bit. It was a good day!

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