The Current

Advocacy News + Updates

When I first came to International Justice Mission seven years ago, IJM had tens of thousands of individual friends and hundreds of churches around the U.S. who provided funds and prayers for our work. But everywhere my colleagues went, those friends asked: “What else can I do to help IJM’s work overseas to free slaves and protect the vulnerable?” 

We were soon able to give them an answer. In 2007, we were incredibly blessed by a donor, Humanity United, with a grant to build an advocacy program to engage ordinary Americans in the fight to end modern-day slavery.

The first thing I did was hire the best organizer I know: Eileen Campbell. Eileen and I had worked together for many years at Physicians for Human Rights. I watched her organize hundreds of doctors, nurses and medical students to advocate with the U.S. Congress to provide funding to save millions of lives from the global AIDS pandemic.  When it came time to start IJM’s anti-slavery advocacy program, she was the one I wanted for the job.

Happily, she joined the IJM team, and the program she began with just a few hundred postcards sent by a single church in Minnesota to their senators in Washington is now a robust and flourishing advocacy giant. IJM’s friends in 50 states represent the biggest grassroots anti-slavery movement I know. 

One of the first things Eileen organized when she came to IJM was an annual advocacy training and lobby day in Washington, DC in 2009.  About 80 people joined us for dozens of meetings with Senators, Representatives and their staff. Every year since then, the numbers have grown, and each year we have more fun together. This year, IJM’s advocacy training and lobby day are on June 9 and 10. We’ve set an ambitious target of 250 participants and hope they’ll come from every state in the nation. 

People who have participated in our advocacy training and lobby day in Washington tell us they’ve been transformed by the experience. We provide participants with all the information and talking points they need to talk about our anti-slavery policy goals. We put them together with others from their state, set up meetings with legislators, and debrief the meetings afterwards. I’m proud to say that dozens of my colleagues from every department at IJM join those advocacy meetings. It is a life-changing experience for them, too! Everybody who participates in meetings with legislative staff on behalf of the poorest, most powerless people on earth—modern-day slaves— comes away feeling that they’ve made a significant contribution. Because they have.

We would love to have you join us this year. Please click on this link to sign up to attend:

Hope to see you in June!