From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, students in the Campus Center took turns standing up for the freedom of their neighbors around the world who are unable to stand up for themselves.
The ACU chapter of International Justice Mission joined with other campuses across the nation in IJM’s #Stand4Freedom social media campaign, designed to raise awareness against social injustices occurring around the world today. Volunteers at the IJM table in the Campus Center were asked to remain standing for the duration of their shift during the 12-hour event.
Parker Pollard, student director of the IJM at ACU, stood at the table Thursday evening.
“It’s a solidarity movement to stand with people who don’t have freedom,” Pollard said, “and so we’re standing for that freedom.”
International Justice Mission is a non-profit organization designed to facilitate justice in all aspects of life, from human trafficking to slavery to criminal activity.
IJM recently helped write a bill that is in the process of passing through Congress. The bill, titled End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015, would create a general fund for other non-profit organizations to receive better monetary support for the work in which they are participating. Students were encouraged to write letters to Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Randy Neugebauer emphasizing the importance of passing the bill. A petition was also available to sign.
As of Thursday night, 97 letters had been written and 102 students signed the petition.
Pollard, senior international studies major from Rowlett, said he was happy with the reaction from the student body.
“We’ve seen a generally good response,” Pollard said. “I think one of the challenges for a non-profit is trying to actively engage with the student body. Especially at ACU, we have so many organizations that try to get in freshmen and sophomores’ faces about being involved, and it’s trying to set yourself apart from that. This has been one of our more successful campaigns.”
Jennie Magner, junior art major from York, Nebraska, helped organize the event on campus.
“Stand4Freedom, more than anything, is just an awareness campaign,” Magner said. “A lot of times we are not aware of what is happening around the world. Things like trafficking and enslavement, we as Americans don’t tend to see, so it’s just to bring that into a broader light.”
This week is Justice Week at ACU, and although the #Stand4Freedom campaign is not officially a part of Justice Week, Pollard said the timing of everything fit together nicely, including Justice Week, the IJM campaign and the bill moving through Congress.
Magner said she believes it is important every student understands the impact social injustice has on the world.
“I think every discipline can connect to social justice in some way,” she said. “And as Christians, we are called to look out for the interests of other people and seek justice and mercy.”