Modern Day Abolitionists Through Modern Day Media

Here at The Clapham Group, we actively seek to promote awareness of and equip people to make a difference in the fight against modern day slavery through our engagement with culture.One effort we made to raise awareness of this issue was through the movie Trade. We hosted several Washington DC screenings of the movie in an effort to reach key political and cultural elites with a powerful movie that illustrates the evils of human trafficking. Accordingly, we invited every major player in the DC area involved in the fight against human trafficking to a screening of the movie at the Smithsonian, hosted screenings for the state department as well as smaller private screenings for members of Congress.Another opportunity we took to promote awareness of modern slavery came through the movie Amazing Grace. We partnered with Walden Media by designing and overseeing the marketing campaign for the movie. Through this campaign we designed an educational resource DVD that speaks of the opportunities to fight against modern day slavery, partnered with Chris Tomlin to write a new Amazing Grace song, and promoted the movie and educational resource to our vast networks of churches and communities across the country through “Amazing Grace Sunday”. The message we communicated as we promoted the movie Amazing Grace was that while the slave trade was abolished, slavery still continues today.The good news is that the Spirit of Wilberforce and the original Clapham community continues today. While Wilberforce is most widely known for his efforts to abolish the slave trade, he – alongside others in the Clapham community like Hannah Moore and Josiah Wedgewood – devoted himself to the betterment of all society by addressing issues such as animal cruelty, child labor, and the development of over 30 different reform societies including the British Bible Society.  The driving passion behind Wilberforce is that he recognized Christ’s Lordship over everything, not just one issue or injustice.One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in the current struggle against slavery is raising awareness that it even exists. As a restless imaginative boy in class, I would often wonder if I lived during the time of the slave trade, would I have been a part of the Underground Railroad or perhaps helped Wilberforce fight to abolish the slave trade? With estimates ranging upwards of 27 million slaves still in the world today, the reality is that slavery has never ceased to exist, rather merely changed forms. These slaves are very different from the slaves in the days of Wilberforce and include children soldiers, horrendous child labor, and sex trafficking. Slavery today is truly a global problem impacting every region of the globe, including the United States.Instead of asking myself whether or not I would have been an abolitionist if I lived in that era, I am now faced with history’s invitation to be a part of the abolitionist movement today. As American’s we don’t recognize or see modern day slavery in the everyday fabric of our lives. And, that is the first step in accepting the invitation to fight modern day slavery, acknowledgment of its existence and then spreading the word.Many of you are already passionately devoted to the issue of modern day slavery and/or other social justice issues just as Wilberforce. We hope you partner with us in Spirit to live in the reality of Christ’s Lordship over everything. If you are interested in finding out more about modern day slavery or any other issue such as animal rights, HIV/Aids, or poverty, we invite you to explore some of our clients for ideas.Garrett Cichowitz

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