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At UNBOUND, “We Will Not Bend Until Slavery Ends.”

Photo: Moira Pannepacker (center)

My name is Moira Pannepacker and I am a sophomore at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.  I am so thankful to be a part of a college campus that is aware of, and educated on social injustices such as human trafficking.  Although Loyola has broadened my involvement on this clandestine issue, I first became aware of it my senior year of high school.  Going to an all-girls academy, we were taught to value the power of a single voice - especially that of a woman, and to fight against those that silenced them through abuses like slavery. That is what I strive for, along with many others: to eliminate the abusers and give voice to the survivors.

My education on human trafficking continued as I involved myself with college life and joined the Free the Slaves club.  FTS is a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. that focuses its efforts on ending modern day slavery, and Loyola is lucky to have a college chapter on campus started by alumnae Danielle Melfi. My collaboration with other club members and passion for the issues discussed led me to be one of the leaders of Free the Slaves this year.  With Danielle as my constant mentor, I looked forward with excitement and apprehension to a year of getting my peers educated on this issues that no one seems to talk about.  

The opportunity to get involved arose at the start of the semester when Jessie Emelander from Hovde Foundation reached out to our college chapter and asked if we would like participate in the UNBOUND Anti-Human Trafficking Walk by running the children’s tent.  We jumped at the opportunity to spend time doing arts and crafts with kids at the walk and being representatives of Loyola.  So on October 5th, with our face paint and markers packed, I, along with three other Loyola students, made the journey to Lincoln’s Cottage. 

Words cannot describe the feeling of being intimately gathered for a common cause like human trafficking.   The empowerment, mixed with frustration and passion, was felt by all especially through the words of survivors.  We applied paint to smiling faces for hours, kids and adults alike.  When asked bashfully by teenagers if we were allowed to paint their faces we responded that “this day is for everyone.”  Boys, girls, kids, adults, Americans.  Slavery is a world issue that needs world attention. 

 

UNBOUND made me feel like a part of something greater than myself, greater than even some Loyola students.  Those gathered walked together, talked together, danced together, and our hearts beat as one, literally.  To sum up my first UNBOUND experience, I call to mind a quote from my favorite poet Maya Angelou, “Love recognizes no barriers.  It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”  Therefore, let us join in the chant - “We will not bend until slavery ends.”