This weekend Love146 is at the Generation Conference, a conference in up-state NY with several youth groups from churches throughout New England. Rob is speaking at the conference tomorrow. I came up early to set up our table and hang out with students. WOW! It has been a long time since I was in high school. High Schoolers are amazing. They are full of life and energy. They are idealists... I almost forgot! It is kind of fun (and a little strange!) to be brought back down memory lane.
The conference is focusing this year on how students can “live to make a difference.” The hosting church is putting a lot of energy and effort into growing support throughout the region for us. They ordered over 1600 Love146-patches for the conference. They are using them as the “badge” each attending student has to show to get into the conference center.
Last night every student that walked by me wore a patch. It was both beautiful and eerie to see hundreds of youth all wearing her number at once. Some of them knew what they were wearing. They would come up to the table and say things like, “I love you guys!” or “I think what you are doing is amazing.” Most of them however just wore the patch as their badge of entry, not really knowing what it stood for.
As the evening continued and they showed a little video about the reality of slavery on our planet, awareness began to rise in the room. Someone told a brief story of 146… consciousness awoke just a little bit. After the main session finished, many students just stopped by the table now curios about Love146 and the issue. They were beginning to see the meaning of the patch.
I am sure as the weekend continues awareness will continue to rise. After Rob speaks on Saturday there will be a flood of passionate abolitionists in the making, each having a deeper understanding of the patch that they wear. Many will continue down this journey of the modern day abolitionist movement. The meaning of the patch and understanding of the issue will deepen further along the way, as it takes over the crevasses of their hearts.
I couldn’t help but think of the thousands of children and teens who literally wear a number…the 1.2 million who will have a price tag placed on them annually, literally bought and sold. I wondered what it is like as their own consciousness rises to the fact that they wear a number and have a price tag that binds them. What emotions, thoughts, fears they might have today… and I prayed for freedom.
My hope rose yesterday at the thought of what could happen when the number of children, teens and people who choose to wear the patch in solidarity and fight for freedom with their lives overpowers not only the pimps, traffickers and exploiters in the world but those who wear any number and are bought and sold for any price. That is the reality of a movement. That is the reality of the world shifting, changing and choosing to amplify the voices screaming “freedom.” ABOLITION AND RESTORATION!
NOTE: Above is a glimpse of people being added to the movement. In some of the pictures you have to look close to find the patch, but it is there.