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By Madison Ferril
One local organization seeks to tackle the problem of modern day slavery one race at a time.
The27project will hold its first-ever Waco Jog for Justice at 7 a.m. Saturday starting in Heritage Square. Proceeds from the Waco race will go to Educate Nica, an organization that provides education and care to children in Nicaragua vulnerable to the slave trade.
There will be three options: the 1 Mile Fun-Run, the 5k race, and the 27k — a distance of 18.6 miles. Anyone interested in participating can still register before the race at www.the27project.org or pick up a packet at Outdoor Waco from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday. Stacey Compton, founder of the27project, said she chose to donate to Educate Nica because of its emphasis on education. Educate Nica is currently the only organization the27project donates to, but Compton said she hopes to sponsor other organizations in the future.
“Educate Nica and organizations like it are really looking to empower people in their own country,” Compton said. Media volunteer Lisa Pane said as of Tuesday, 257 people have registered to participate in the races.
“We’re hoping to have about 300 people,” Pane said. “It’s not too late to get involved if someone wants to sign up.”
Other local organizations attending include: Jesus Said Love, the Family Abuse Center, Christian Women’s Job Corps and Grace Alliance. Compton said each of the local organizations receives a small amount of money from the race. “We may feel like there’s not much we can do in Central Texas about human trafficking, but it’s great that we can donate to organizations out there willing to do this,” Pane said.
Compton started the27project in 2011 after an 11-month mission trip to 11 countries. “I got to see how poverty was a huge leeway into trafficking,” Compton said. Compton said she invites local organizations to the event so participants can find ways to become involved at the local level and to encourage local organizations to work together. “We want to bridge the gap between awareness and action,” Compton said.
“When people see the number 27 million, they have a tendency to shut down and not do anything. It’s important for people to understand if you influence your inner circle, you influence the world as a whole.”
The27project is planning two more Jog for Justice events this fall: in Charlotte, N.C., and Memphis, Tenn.