By Caitlin Giddens
Beyond the vocals and the guitar strings lies a message echoing in the hearts of Baylor students.
And it’s a message these students are desperate to spread across campus, especially through fellow students’ musical performances.
In conclusion of Justice Week, International Justice Mission teamed up with Acoustic Café and Project 254 to present a special show Thursday. Students congregated in the den of the Bill Daniel Student Center to listen to music and watch a video titled “Call+Response” about fusing art and justice. Art from the Houston Restore and Rescue Coalition was on display to educate students about injustice issues.
“We wanted to allow students to enjoy the music of other Baylor students, and allow artists to perform justice-minded songs,” said Beth Roller, graduate student assistant for student productions. “It shows students can pursue their different passions.”
International Justice Mission presented the event to reach different students on campus. Everyone may not understand the different social issues threatening American society, but Katy sophomore Kristina Miller, a member of International Justice Mission, said she hopes students bonded through the mutual understanding found in music.
“We wanted to reach a group of students that may not have been aware of what Justice Week was about,” Miller said. “They just came to Acoustic Café to chill and see friends perform, but then they heard the message.”
Wylie sophomore Josh Stone, who performed with Plano freshman Amy Boykin, presented a new song based on justice.
“We played the new song because it’s our responsibility to see justice happen,” Stone said. “I hope after this there’s an awareness of the amount of injustices there are, whether it’s human trafficking or other issues.”
Throughout the week, International Justice Mission has sought to open students’ eyes to injustice issues prevalent in America and the world. The organization has hosted various events, including the “Tunnel of Oppression” on Tuesday night.
“The tunnel was great because it involved so many students and showed they may have a role in these injustice issues,” Miller said. “We focused on human trafficking this week, but we also looked at how nearly 1 billion people in the world don’t have clean drinking water. And we showed students the slavery happening in sweatshops, which involves them and the clothes they wear.”
Justice Week included other events, such as the Justice Summit on Monday night. Ron Soodalter, co-author of the novel “The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today” spoke to students about the prevalence of slavery in the country.
“Slavery is a subject most Americans are not aware of,” Soodalter said.
“But students who came to the Justice Summit will have an undeniable awareness of slavery in America. My goal is to bring awareness that slavery is in our country, our city and perhaps our neighborhood.”
On Wednesday, the Texas Senate passed a bill expanding the definition of human trafficking and making forced child prostitution a first-degree felony. While this does not abolish the presence of human trafficking, Miller described it as a step in the right direction.
“The bill was just another great success for our justice movement with [International Justice Mission],” Miller said. “It may not be as hard on traffickers and we’d like, but it’s good to know the senate is listening.”