Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stop Slavery

I'm Blake; I'm a member of 61 Strong. I'm 8 years old, and I'm writing this blog post because I really hate slavery, and I want to do everything I can to stop it.

Did you know that some of the chocolate that we eat is made by slaves? For example: Hershey's, Reeses, Snickers, Twix, M&Ms... many of my favorites! Most of the slavery is happening other places like Africa. Sometimes the slaves are brutally beaten, and they use little, innocent kids. It makes me so mad, so I want to do everything I can to help them.

Some of the ways for you to help stop slavery is for you to stop eating their candy and start speaking out saying, "I'm not going to eat your candy unless you stop slavery." I'm going to start writing strongly worded letters to the slave companies letting them know I won't eat their chocolate until they stop using slaves, and I'm going to make lots and lots of blog posts so people know what's going on, and I'm going to tell my friends. I am going to buy chocolate that doesn't use slaves, like Newman's Own and other fair-trade certified brands. Here is a list of other slave-free chocolate: http://www.foodispower.org/chocolatelist.htm.

You can find out about slave-free products by checking out the website http://www.betterworldshopper.com/.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Do I even see their faces anymore?

That’s the thought that came to me when I was in the midst of feeling sorry for myself the other day. The last few weeks have been trying, to say the least. I couldn’t even begin to describe all that’s weighing on my mind lately, but sometimes it feels like my heart is buried under a mountain of worry and sorrow.

Whenever the cares of this life get to be too much, I do one of two things: crack open my Bible or start working really hard on a physically taxing project. On that particular day, I chose the latter.

As I worked, one thought kept resurfacing in my mind: Do I see their faces anymore? Do I remember who it is this fight is for?

When I began my journey in the fight against human trafficking, I could see the faces of children I’d never met before. I was driven by the thought of them being scared and hurting, motherless, and abused to the point of torture. I would hear their stories and weep.

Now I’m doing what I set out to do: I’m in schools teaching young adults to be safer online, I’m raising awareness for human trafficking, and I’m helping others plug into the fight. But between fighting evil and wading through the everyday trials like bills, sick loved ones, broken dreams, and crazy schedules, I wonder if I’ve forgotten, even just a little who it was I started fighting for.

It’s a tempting proposition, to not be consumed with their pain – to once again be oblivious to anything as heinous as human trafficking. But someone has to fight for these children, our children. Someone has to tell those who would buy and sell human beings that what they are doing is wrong. Someone has to teach our children that bad men use the Internet to steal them from us.

If we all get too busy, too burdened, too tired, then who will see their faces?

Every time someone new joins the fight, they bring with them a fresh energy that bolsters the other warriors. This past week, I’ve had several people come alongside us in the fight, several who are eager to lend their talents and energy to winning the war against human trafficking.

I wonder if they know how much their very presence means, how encouraging it is. I wonder if they know that when I see trafficking through their eyes, as if for the first time, it helps me remember the faces of those we’re fighting for. 


Saturday, March 3, 2012

This Hand is a Movement

I have this friend at church, don’t listen to my dearest cousin, I do have friends. Anyway, I have a friend that was drawing in church one day, as is custom for the kids in our church, and she traced her hand on notebook paper. Next to her hand she wrote, “This Hand is a Movement.” It beats my last hand motto of… okay, I didn’t have a motto for my hand. I do for my legs though: “only run if somethin’s chasin’ you.” (The gym teacher counts as “somethin’”)

So, my hand motto is, “This Hand is a Movement,” because I got to thinking: my hand holds the potential to change the world.

Every word my mind wants to convey, my hand can tell when my voice isn’t loud enough. As thoughts wander through this crazy head of mine, every now and then, one jumps out at me. I catch it, expand it, then share it. Mostly, my sister hears my exciting idea, then rolls over and returns to her place of rest where I’m not gabbing at her. If we all share ideas though, eventually, together, we can come up with the first step to a solution. That, I believe, is the idea behind 61Strong. This is our first step to a solution to ending slavery. We raise awareness, we support step two, the ones who jump in to end the situation for good one bit at a time, and, with a lot of prayer and blessing, we can change the world we live in. 

The world needs changed.

Every generation has contributed to a change. They have all put their best effort behind a cause. Our nation was built by a generation that saw the need for liberty. So at the beginning of American history, their cause was liberty from a government. Then it was liberty from a slaveholder, one they had a good chance at stopping due to a firm foundation in the North as in spirit, not that it was an easy fight. After that it was an end to discrimination and civil injustice. All of these causes were not annihilated, but a dent was surely made. These causes were not completely annihilated because the generation ran out of resources. Then as the generations built their resources back up, they hit again, but not the same spot.

Now, here is a generation that has more resources than any former generations, yet there are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in history.

Pardon me, but what has us twiddling our thumbs? That was a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway. We are so bound up in what we might lose, the challenges we might face, that we choose to look the other way. It’s selfish of us.

We have a world to change. There are many ways to start. Boycotting is one way. If you have to eat less chocolate to pull support from certain slaveholding cocoa plantations, do it with joy. Pull your buck from the slaveholders. Donate to help a slave get on their feet. Speak out against it. And please, please, please protect yourself online, don’t add to the problem.

Use your hands as tools to change the world. My hands make a movement, they have potential to make a difference in the world, but they are just two hands. Get up and do something. Not because this totally awesome writer is chasing you, not because you would want someone to do the same for you, but because modern-day slavery is horrific. It shouldn’t surprise us though, we put the world dictator to bed, but we didn’t check on it very well.

So, now you know some things about me. I have moments where I stare at my hands and think about them, I have a motto for each limb, and I am passionate about stopping this world dictator. “This Hand is a Movement” towards ending slavery.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LiNK Documentary: The People's Crisis

Check out this link to learn more about a movie screening  that we're thrilled to be hosting with the Heartland Nomads from LiNK on March 18th at Faith Chapel in O'Fallon, MO:

LiNK Documentary Film Event on the Crisis in North Korea Hosted in St. Louis

We hope to see lots of our friends and supporters at the event! If you want more info, you can contact us by email. In the meantime, check out the trailer from the movie we're going to be showing:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lunch with the Heartland Nomads

Hi, I’m blogging to tell whoever is reading this that I was lucky enough to meet last month with a few nomads from an organization called LiNK, (Liberty in North Korea). LiNK works to help refugees from North Korea, and also to raise awareness about the problems in North Korea.

There are many violations of human rights in North Korea, including human trafficking and enslavement, torture, and murders that go unpunished. To learn more, check out North Korea 101 on LiNK’s website.

It was very cool to have lunch with the three heartland nomads. It was also inspiring to meet three people who have given up three months of their lives to help others, something that from the outside looking in is very easy to underestimate, but on closer examination you will see that something like that makes all the difference. 

Having lunch with LiNK’s heartland nomads inspired 61 Strong to set a new goal: to raise $2,500 in 2012, enough to help LiNK save one refugee. If you want to learn more about LiNK, click here. And if you have any comments or thoughts on ways that 61 Strong can raise the money needed to save a refugee, please let us know by commenting below!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Car Wash

Our first fundraiser was a success! While I greatly enjoyed the carwash, and we reached a lot of people, I was exhausted.  Here are a few tips if you’ve got a cause you’re pumped about and want to help raise funds or awareness for. 
  1. Be sure to have lots of soft/smooth towels, like shammies (or if worse comes to worse, a torn up sweat shirt) and a dry spot to spread the towels out so they can dry in between cars. 
  2. Sunscreen is always helpful; if you need proof, just ask the back of my neck. 
  3. Bring a cooler that is full of ice and tons of water bottles; it gets very hot and tiring out there after a while.
  4. Be sure that if and when you hold signs, you hold them so the cars see the signs in time to turn into your wash.
Here is a list of things we had with us: Max Wax soap, ripped sweat shirts, large sponges, two small squeegees, and lots of enthusiasm.

We raised $170 and told a lot of people about human trafficking. It felt good to know I took part in helping other kids. I hope you found my short list of tips helpful. If you took part in the carwash, or if you have questions about your own carwash, leave a comment below!


61 Strong started out as a way for kids to help kids, and it’s growing into so much more! We’re so glad you’ve stopped by. Please be patient with us as we add to our ever-expanding site!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be updating these pages with information on human trafficking, including how to spot it and ways to fight it. We’ll also be talking about upcoming fundraisers, tips and tricks when organizing fundraisers, and how to schedule a speaker for your school or group.
So thank you for stopping by, and check back often!