Reflections on Passion 2012
Guest contributor: Hannah McNair is a college student majoring in religion who attended Passion 2012 with a group of young people from her community. The following are her reflections about this powerful event dedicated to raising awareness and funding for ending human trafficking. Thank you, Hannah, for sharing with us!
Who wants to talk about people in slavery, whether bonded or serving as sex slaves? The topic of girls between 4-25 being trafficked, molested, and raped 16 hours a day does not create pleasant conversation. However, Passion 2012 made more young people aware of the 27 million humans that are enslaved around the world, a statistic which in the past few have dared to discuss.
Louie Giglio founded The Passion Conference 15 years ago for college students and some high school seniors between the ages of 18-25. Do Something Now, the partner organization with Passion Conferences donates 100% of funds raised by students to human trafficking prevention and rescuing organizations. Passion 2012 featured Christine Caine and several other leaders of different organizations whose goals are to abolish slavery and fight against human trafficking.
The conference centered on fighting against human slavery and trafficking. Do Something Now designed and created a project that was completed over the course of the conference: a 103 feet high constructed hand in the International Plaza of downtown Atlanta with 27,000 white flags made by rescued slaves in Asia strung around the plaza, each one representing 1,000 humans in slavery. The hand was made from items that bonded slaves or child laborers typically create such as Christmas ornaments, denim jeans, soccer balls, and shoes. When students made a donation to Do Something Now, they received a small white flag to attach to their lanyard which allowed them this gave them to enter the International Plaza and get their flag stamped plus sign their name or write a note of encouragement to people in slavery. These signed items made up the hand in the Plaza.
Students who attended the four-day conference donated $2,566,000. An anonymous couple who also attended donated $500,000, bringing the grand total to over $3,000,000-three times the conference’s fundraising goal!
On the last night of the conference after the final session, the over 42,000 students in attendance received candles and proceeded to gather silently under and around the hand in the Plaza where they waited until all the candles where lit. Once the hand was lit the students erupted into shouting and singing, glorifying God for the freedom that He is going to bring to the captives. It was amazing to see that many college students be so passionate against injustice.
The conference was not only a big event where students met together and got excited about something and left. It has impacted us to make a difference and spread awareness on our campuses and to the people around is. It left a seal on our hearts to fight against slavery day in and day out.