by Abigail Wisniewski
Concordia’s International Justice Mission chapter, Lighthouse, teamed up with the chapters of University of Nebraska—Lincoln and Nebraska Wesleyan to recognize Justice Week, a week meant to raise awareness and money to fight the battle against sex trafficking and other global injustices.
“This week is about speaking up for those who have had their voices taken away, their dignity stripped and their lives threatened,” UNL chapter president Brianne Schluckebier said. “More people need to realize that slavery isn’t a thing of the past, and sex trafficking is extremely prevalent.”
Justice Week kicked off with a nationwide “Stand for Freedom” movement. Students in IJM chapters across the country stood on their campuses, hoping to spark the curiosity of those around them and inspire them to stand against sex trafficking.
Students from all three campuses were invited to join together for a candlelight vigil and worship service as well as a Remedy Drive concert at the UNL campus. The week concluded with the Run to Restore 5K in Seward hosted by the Concordia chapter.
The collaboration between schools is meant to show how widespread the issue of sex trafficking is and to encourage a united response.
“This is not just an isolated cause,” said Brett Hall, a representative for Wesleyan.
Lighthouse was founded in the fall of 2015 by Concordia sophomores Laura Soundy, Liz Schmidt and Andrea Anderson and junior Elizabeth Rasmussen. The four women share a passion for ending global injustices.
The chapter’s slogan “Illuminate to liberate” displays the group’s desire to bring light to the problems and inspire people to take a stand against them.
“The kingdom of God is all over the world,” Soundy said. “Our God is a god of justice. I believe we are called to help in that way and seek His kingdom through justice and to defend the poor and those who don’t have voices.”
Lighthouse’s passion for awareness and fighting injustice is shared by chapters at UNL and Wesleyan, which sparked the collaboration of the schools for Justice Week.
“This wouldn’t have been possible, honestly, if we weren’t all working together. Really good things can happen when God brings groups of people together for the same great cause,” Schluckebier said.
Besides spreading awareness, the groups hope to empower advocates who will take steps toward change.
“Awareness itself won’t end it, but you always need to start with awareness,” Soundy said. “I think showing people what’s going on can light a fire.”
Soundy used herself as an example of how someone can be inspired by awareness, as she is now pursuing a career that will allow her to fight injustices.
“We want people to not only be aware of and understand the injustices in our world today, but also be able to do something about it, whether that be standing for 24 hours or signing a petition or changing their Facebook profile picture,” Hall said. “As long as people are willing to do something rather than just look the other way, I think we’ve accomplished our goal.”