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Recap: 2017 Advocacy Summit
Each year we host the Advocacy Summit, it is an absolute highlight for our team. Truly, nothing brings us greater joy than gathering with you, our faithful friends and advocates, to use our voices on Capitol Hill on behalf of those who suffer. This October, we entered the halls of power again with more than 270 advocates from all over the country.
We spoke directly with our members of Congress about seeing slavery’s end, and asked that they ensure critical funding that would bring more rescue and restoration to those in slavery. We also had the privilege of hearing from our seasoned policy team, Holly and Tim, and from the frontlines of our global work through Pablo Villeda. Pablo leads IJM's work across Latin America, and brought us moving stories of the rescue and freedom IJM clients have experienced because of successful advocacy in years passed.
Today, we're sharing a look back at the 2017 Advocacy Summit...
We start the Summit hearing from leaders like Tim Gehring, IJM's Policy Director, who shares the basics of leading a lobby meeting and the often-humorous lessons he's learned along the way
In the afternoon, Constituents from Connecticut gather to make an action plan and prepare for their lobby meetings
Advocates are each given a piece of thread, representing their role alongside thousands whove fought for justice throughout history. As threads are added, the unifying message "We can end slavery for good" came forth.
Senator Bob Corker encourages IJM advocates as they prepare for meetings with their lawmakers, recalling his own experience waking to the reality of human trafficking. In 2015, Corker introduced and championed the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act (EMSI), a bipartisan bill created to help eliminate human trafficking around the globe. The bill successfully passed in 2016, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, and began the foundation for the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery.
Advocates from New York meet directly with their Congressman, Lee Zeldin, to express the importance of funding anti-slavery efforts
Four advocates from California prepare to meet with the office of Congressman Mark Takano.
Texas advocates in front of the US Capitol, on their way to meet with lawmakers.
The biggest feedback you shared with us? Advocacy is actually really fun and the experience was far less intimidating than expected.
As we reflect on this year's Summit, we're deeply humbled and inspired by you: the many of you who've signed petitions, called your members of Congress, emailed and tweet, and those of you who showed up to join us at the Summit. It's the moments of faithful action and gritty hope over time that creates a movement. Thank you for what you’re doing to advance justice around the world.
Curious about how you can get involved? Join the Freedom Commons to stay tuned on real-time ways you can advocate and leverage your voice for those in slavery.