Slavery Bleeds

Today is Shine a Light on Slavery day. I stand in solidarity with those who are trafficked, unwillingly forced into a life that may or may not pay the bills.

The red markers are all over campus today. So many people have adorned their hands with the signature red X of the End It Movement.

As I drew the X on my hand, I was struck by the marker. It bled from the edges of where I’d drawn. It sunk into my skin and made its home there in places that I hadn’t invited it to. It covered over the note I’d written on my hand yesterday, a reminder to submit an assignment online. What privilege I have been given.

The marker just kept bleeding.

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It crept its way deeper into my skin and further across the surface. For a moment, I was entranced by its motion. But then I realized just how immense a symbol those insignificant little spills were.

Slavery bleeds.

It pours out the blood of its victims. The bondage is suffocating. There is no escape, but even if there were, the fear is too daunting. Every day is a new Hell for those bound in slavery. There is no escape.

There is no escape because slavery bleeds.

It severs the hearts of the abusers. It rips their humanity; there is no value in anyone when they can be assigned to a dollar. They do evil things, and it seeps from their spirit. There is nothing good in them. But there is no escape.

There is no escape because slavery bleeds.

It shields the eyes of the layperson. The blood is spilling, dripping daily over our eyes. As long as it can keep the privileged unaffected, it can continue its business. We are as guilty as the traffickers. We do not know how to escape.

There is no escape because slavery bleeds.

This marker on my hand will only bleed for a few hours. Three days from now, there will be no trace of this day left on me. But for those tied down, locked in shackles, and frozen in fear, today will remain etched into them.

So will yesterday, and every day before that. The memories will forever remain. The phantom pain will demand to be felt each and every day. The dirt, the grime, the shame. It all remains. There is no shower hot enough, no soap strong enough to scrape away what slavery does.

There is no escape because slavery bleeds. Except there is one way.

The escape is you, and it is me. It is the privileged standing together, hand in hand, and finally declaring that this evil must be stomped out once and for all.

I am in it to end it. Are you?