I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted about my involvement in the Underground Justice & Aftercare Movement (UJAM). Thanks to all of you who have asked about it. For you newcomers, UJAM was founded by me and a Nashville Immigration Attorney in March 2010, to provide direct services to victims of human trafficking (more details in the link).
Over the course of the last year, we developed a mission for the organization with the help of an extraordinary visionary team. The visionaries included leaders in the Nashville are who are already involved in the abolitionist movement, as well as leaders in the social work and legal fields. Trevecca Nazarene University stepped in and provided some great resources through their Social Justice Center. Last fall, a social justice major from TNU interned with UJAM. She helped us with hours of research on everything from state laws to planning a large fundraiser. The Social Justice Center also provided nonprofit consulting and direction, along with ideas, support, and organizational development.
With the help of the visionary team, we were able to bring several organizations together to encourage and support each other as they each fight against slavery. Much of the year was spent identifying key players, building relationships, and creating a plan of action for UJAM. Two of the main goals of UJAM include establishing a legal clinic for victims, and housing. Each of those projects requires a lot of time, research, and money. UJAM is committed to the goal of providing direct services to victims as well as building a strong community of advocates who can identify and deter instances of trafficking. Joining many great organizations around the globe, we hope that one day we will see an end to slavery.
Several weeks ago, UJAM participated in a special chapel event at Trevecca on the topic of human trafficking. Along with Free for Life and End Slavery TN, we presented information to the students about the tragedy of human trafficking in the United States. Each organization also shared their mission and vision for ending human trafficking, giving the students action steps and ideas for how they can be involved. Students were encouraged to be actively involved as abolitionists, no matter what their skill set. Human trafficking is a great evil that will take courageous people who are willing to intelligently work together to bring truth and freedom to darkness and oppression. I was thrilled that UJAM was able to participate in this wonderful event to help students learn more about the problem so they can be part of the solution.
I know this is a brief summary, but I hope that gives you an idea of the great things UJAM accomplished last year. I can tell you that I have learned a great deal. There is so much darkness and evil in the business of enslaving people, and traffickers come in every shape and size. Ending modern-day slavery will take the a strong and mighty effort, one that always hopes and never gives up.
Human trafficking is something that I will speak out against for the rest of my life. However, I believe God has called me to be involved in this movement in a different way. My vision is to work specifically to restore the lives of young women through a residential program. While this was one of the main components of UJAM, I am being led in a different direction than that of the organization.
Although I will continue to support UJAM, I am stepping out of my leadership role with the organization. It was a privilege to work with a team of courageous leaders to found the Underground Justice & Aftercare Movement. Thanks to these passionate individuals, I’m confident that the organization will continue to grow and work towards its goal of providing direct services to victims of human trafficking, beginning in Tennessee.
Throughout the next year, I’ll continue to pursue my calling to bring hope and restoration to women who are being rescued from lives of darkness and oppression. I have several ideas in mind and will do my best to share more of those with you as my plans develop. Thank you for all of your encouragement and support! I’m excited about the present and the future.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11