Just over three weeks ago, the END IT MOVEMENT was launched by the END IT campaign. They are working to “shine a light on slavery” and get the word out that slavery still exists. In fact, there currently approximately 27 million slaves in the world, which is more than there has ever been in history.


In January, I had the incredible experience of sitting in on a roundtable discussion concerning ending slavery with the remarkable change leaders who are all deeply involved in the End It Movement. There were about 10 individuals participating in the discussion, each representing an organization or program that works to abolish slavery. Some march fearlessly into brothels and release young girls from the sex trade. Others work tirelessly to be sure that any free citizen across the globe is aware of their “slavery footprint“, in the hopes that we might one day be able to put an to end slave labor.

So what? 

Last year at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama included abolishment of of present day slavery in his speech (albeit briefly),  the first time a President has formally addressed slavery and its imperative abolishment since President Lincoln did so over 150 years ago. The conference the President mentioned is the brain child of an impeccable leader, Louie Giglio, who embodies the spirit of leadership in almost everything that he does. Giglio is also responsible for the End It Movement.

I would like to believe that most people would like to see the end of slavery in our lifetime.

This is not just something that is taking place in sweatshops in India or in brothels in Asia. This happens EVERYDAY in the U.S. In fact, the Super Bowl that entertained us all just a few couple weeks ago is one of the biggest days & locations for sex-trafficking in the WORLD.

During the aforementioned round table, one of the representatives suggested that the market is something that must follow the way that the wind blows. The ball is in our court. Why does it matter to us? Because we have the power. There is no choice. It has to matter to us or slavery will continue to thrive.

Now what?

“Once our eyes are open, we can’t pretend we do not know what to do.”

Awareness. Action. Advocacy.

Right now, End It is working to raise awareness about slavery through pledges to end slavery. They are getting the word out and calling people into action. Educating as many people as possible about what is happening. Once people learn the intricacies of modern day slavery, we can follow the lead of a number of organizations and do what is in our power to END IT.

To learn more about the END IT MOVEMENT and what you can do, please visit their website.

Leading Social Change

While reading Goldsmith this week, I was immediately reminded of Louie Giglio, End It, and the End It Movement’s Coalition Partners and the incredible work in which they have invested. (Coalition Parter information can be found on the End It website). Much like Michelle Rhee, Louie and the End It movement put every effort into the processes of breaking down protectionist barriers, opening space for innovation, leveling the playing field, and inviting the exceptional. They adapted to the very effective  ways of introducing change embracing a multitude of techniques, processes, adaptors, and innovators.


Independent Research: Continuity, Social Change and Katrina.

Henry, J. (2011). Continuity, social change and Katrina. Disasters, 35(1), 220-242. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-7717.2010.01201.x/abstract.

This study sought to explain the relationship between social change and continuity within a post-disaster environment. The article primarily focuses on the data from New Orleans, LA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Through analysis of “field observations, interviews with evacuees, media accounts of proposals for long-term recovery”, Henry seeks to discern between the presence of continuity and social change in New Orleans after disaster struck (Henry, 2011).  One major event investigated is the restoration of surge barriers in the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) and Lake Borgne; followed by the subsequent closing of the MRGO in 2009.  MRGO’s closing had been in discussion for decades and had been an area of contention for years before Katrina ever hit land. This is an example of the continuity that Henry felt would support the idea that perhaps social change is not as prevalent as once believed. Following their research, Henry asserts that there is not an obvious presence of social change post-Katrina. It seems that in a number of frameworks studied, there was a great deal continuity linked from the state of New Orleans before and after the storm. Still, Henry notes that there is potential that the social structure in New Orleans may be well on its way to changing, stating that “early demographic reports had hinted at a whiter, younger, and more educated New Orleans population” (Henry, 2011).  Regardless of potential demographic changes, there is still a great deal of problems that were present prior to Hurricane Katrina that make it difficult to suggest any hope of social change.

I found the author’s discussion of theories of social change and continuity throughout history to be especially interesting. The idea that social change has been viewed from many different perspectives and in various forms is intriguing.  A fascinating thought that I had never considered myself is the notion that we should view post-disaster social change differently in the United States and other developed countries. Society is more appropriately prepared and disaster response programs in developed countries are in place in order to reduce any major change in pre-existing systems. The author is suggesting that we should recognize this when researching social change in the United States. I found this to be contradictory to his conclusion on social change in New Orleans. Henry notes the importance of recognizing that social change might not be as prevalent or obvious in developed countries. However, when he states that social change was not found the case study he does not acknowledge this bit of information. Overall, the literature review was conflicting and, while interesting, caused more confusion rather than provide potential areas of connection with the Hurricane Katrina study. It is important to recognize opposing arguments in articles such as these, but the author would have gained credibility had he noted those arguments in relation to this specific study.

I feel that this article was completed a bit before its proper time. I have personally seen that New Orleans not quite the city that it used to be.  Years later, there was considerable rebuilding, be it structural or community based, to be done in the greater New Orleans area. I have had the opportunity to go numerous reconstruction trips to the parishes most effected and have seen that even five-six years did not provided enough time or money to get residents out of FEMA trailers and back into their houses. It wasn’t until 2011 (the same year that the article was written) that there were no longer people living in FEMA trailers.  So, to expect that a sustainable social change, especially in a developed country/city that might make change less obvious, would occur at this point is perhaps too early for a final judgment call.

As professionals, we must be incredibly cautious about the information we choose to study and the method through which we approach it. It is imperative that we choose the appropriate scope for our research. Our research should be narrow in that it does not include mass amount of information that effects the data but it should not be so narrow that we do not include pertinent data. The choices we make as research professionals are obvious in our research and can truly effect the manner in which a study is approached by our colleagues and the general public.


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