Baylor IJM to host Stand for Freedom Event

Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Rachel Smith | Reporter

Baylor International Justice Mission will host Stand for Freedom, a two-day event to raise awareness about human and sex trafficking, today and Friday.

The event’s schedule includes free food, pop-up shops of businesses that promote ending human trafficking, carnival games, speakers, showings of TED Talks and documentaries, worship, a candlelight vigil, yoga and a concert by indie/folk singer Isaac Gill. Activities will begin 6 p.m. today in the Baines Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center and will continue from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday on Fountain Mall. Dallas sophomore Kylie Erlenbusch said the event will also raise money for International Justice Mission.

“Bring your friends, come play games, get free food and hopefully learn something while you’re there,” Erlenbusch said. “Join the discussion.”

As Stand for Freedom chair, Erlenbusch has been organizing the event since August.

“I think my favorite part has been just seeing the way that God has his hand in it and showing that it’s not all me and seeing people come together willing to make it happen and work together,” Erlenbusch said.

Although Baylor International Justice Mission hosted a Stand for Freedom event last year, Erlenbusch said this year’s event will offer more vendors and activities.

“There are going to be really cool speakers, especially if you’re interested in the topic,” Erlenbusch said. “There’s going to be free food, which is always a plus.”

Among the guest speakers at the event will be Airline Ambassadors, an organization that trains airline attendants to recognize signs of human trafficking. The organization made national news in February when an airline attendant recognized signs of trafficking and provided a victim a way to escape.

“[Airline Ambassadors] were just willing and gracious, and they are coming, which is amazing,” Erlenbusch said.

St. Louis, Mo., sophomore Madeline Seabaugh serves as Baylor International Justice Mission vice president and said she is most excited about the speakers.

“We have some incredible people coming in,” Seabaugh said. “I really want people to come see them. We want people who have never heard of human trafficking to come listen.”

Seabaugh said the event is open to the public.

“We want everyone in Waco to know about the problems of human trafficking,” Seabaugh said. “It’s a hidden industry. Literally everybody is worried about it once they know about it and believe it exists.”

Colorado Springs, Colo., senior and Baylor International Justice Mission chaplain Zach Gee said Stand for Freedom is the organization’s greatest chance to get more people involved.

“The potential for people to have conversations with us is just really great,” Gee said. “We can also encourage and impact people to make differences in whatever way they can, not only in [International Justice Mission], but anywhere. There’s so much to be done.”

Gee said his hope for the event is for people to be involved and impacted.

“I think God loves justice and he is actively doing that,” Gee said. “Anytime we get to participate in that, we get to know God better. I want other people to walk away knowing God better.”

Gee said the message of justice is consistent throughout Scripture in passages such as Micah 6:8, which says “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God.”

“If someone is going to believe in God, I’d love to have a conversation with them about why this is important to God,” Gee said. “You can look in Scripture and see a really clear calling to be a part of restoration and justice.”