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  • Sharon Lee

Who Is My Neighbor?

Updated: Nov 4, 2019


On October 19th, A21 hosted the 2019 Walk For Freedom to raise awareness of slavery in our world today. The event took place in 50 countries and we participated in the local Poughkeepsie, NY walk. About 125 people showed up, but imagine if we had 1,000 or more? We can make an impact when we stand together and they are already planning next year’s event. Please join us if you are able.


Human trafficking is often described as a crime that is hidden in plain sight. When we hear of modern-day slavery, many often think of countries in the developing world with caste systems and hierarchal societies, but if you are reading this blog than you already know it is closer than we dare to think. Many human trafficking arrests have been made over the past few years right here in the Hudson Valley.


On April 3, 1968, the night before his death, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a poignant speech in which he offered his take on the Good Samaritan. The parable tells of a man beaten by robbers and left half dead on the side of the road while several people pass by seeing him in great need. He said, “The first question that the Priest asked, (and) the first question that the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But then the Good Samaritan came by and he reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”


Slavery has a face and it may be as close as your nearest neighbor. At times I have been the Good Samaritan, but I have also played the role of the Priest and the Levite. We are a society absorbed in our own lives, obsessed with the latest entertainment, and ruled by fears and selfish ambitions. Somewhere along our path to civilization, we have forgotten that we are our brother’s keeper.


So where do you start? There are many ways to get involved –volunteering your time, giving financial support, participating in next year’s Walk for Freedom, praying for the needs of others and reporting suspicious things to the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1 (888) 373-7888 or text 233733.


Surprisingly, there are still many people who are unaware that slavery still exists and is in our own cities and towns. We can speak for those who don’t have a voice by simply talking to others about it, but one thing we cannot do is remain neutral.


Frederick Douglass once said, “For …no man who lives at all lives unto himself. He either helps or hinders all who are in anywise connected to him.” -The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

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