To this day over 27 million people are enslaved. This past summer I had the chance to visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. With every step I took deeper inside I became more overwhelmed. How could an event like this have happened? And we did nothing to stop it? I reached the end of the museum and faced the one word that would mark this moment as significant in my life. BYSTANDER.
The ones that saw it and did nothing.
The ones that heard of it and moved on.
The ones that had every voice to speak and yet still to this day remained silent. Bystanders. These people were some of the greatest influencers in the history of slavery simply because they let it keep growing.
As I stood there, struck by this one word, something began to stir in me. Deep inside my soul I knew slavery still existed. Syrian Refugees. Men sold in Libya. Women in Thailand trafficked for sex. Innocent children sold to pay a debt. Have I become a bystander? No. That day I made a commitment to myself that I would not let slavery pass by me unnoticed. I would stand in place of those that are weak and speak up for my brothers and sisters who have been silenced. This was the beginning of the Bystander Run.
The Bystander Run is simple. Together we’ll run from Miami to West Palm Beach; 100 miles in 2 days. The run will be broken up into 27 legs, each one representing one million people currently enslaved around the world. Team members of the Bystander Run will switch out at each leg. Our course will take us from Freedom Tower in Miami, where many Cuban Refugees begin their life in America, to the Holocaust Memorial at Miami Beach. We’ll run past the Fort Lauderdale airport where international flights carry enslaved people each day, and finish our run in West Palm Beach, the city I call home, to remind us that change can start with just one person in their own backyard.
The fight I’ve chosen is big, but it doesn’t stand a chance against a united front.
We can’t do this alone, so will you join me?