Monday, November 14, 2016

how the light gets in

bringing the Red Sand Project home to share
The first Justice Conference in the Netherlands (the first even in Europe) was sold out, with 1000 people caring enough about the pursuit of justice to buy a ticket. Perhaps some bought a last minute ticket in a state of shock, having just found out that Donald Trump won the American elections. If so many people are angry today, it must be time to get together to look for the light?

Personally, I was thinking more about Leonard Cohen, by the time that I made my way to the conference. He sang: 

Forget your perfect offering

There's a crack in everything

That's how the light get in

I’ve come to cherish the cracks through the years. First, I learnt about Kintsugi, the Japanese way of repairing cracks in pottery with gold to create artistic vessels that turn out to be more valuable than the original unbroken ones. I learnt that that’s what Jesus did to my heart. Fill the scars with gold to make me more whole than I ever was. Like Cohen said, forget perfect - it gets better than that.

Sure enough, I wasn’t the only one to be thinking about Cohen. His quote ran through this weekend almost as a theme song. Gert-Jan Segers ended his speech with it, just before kicking off the Red Sand Project. Which brings me to the next thing I learnt about filling cracks.

MollyGochman is the creator of this Red Sand Project, a participatory art project that allows ordinary people like you and me to speak out for freedom and against modern-day slavery. She uses cracks in the pavement to represent the cracks in society, where we lose people through human trafficking.

Especially vulnerable are the poorest boys and girls, unschooled adults, refugees and all those who've already had a false start in life. Passed by and stepped over by society, they turn to those who are eager to 'help': human traffickers, smugglers, corrupted businessmen, slave owners, pimps.

International Justice Mission looks for these people. 46 million modern-day slaves, many in countries with laws against slavery, but little law enforcement. IJM seeks to free them and help local authorities enforce the law. Once they are free, victims are placed in a rehabilitation program, where they learn to make a living in a way that allows them to be free and dignified people once again.

So on Saturday IJM launched the Red Sand Project in The Netherlands, bringing people like you and me a creative way to spread awareness of modern-day slavery. You don’t have to know about art to join. It’s very simple. Just find a crack in the pavement and fill it with red sand, take a picture and post it on social media with #RedSandProject and @IJMnl .

You can find out here how to get your bag of special red sand. And you know, this might just be the start of you bringing Kintsugi to the heart of a little girl in India, who needs to know she is not alone.

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