I attended the first Allies meeting in June of 2010. The meeting was held in a library on the east side of Austin, and twenty-five people showed up for handouts on human trafficking and an honest discussion about what was happening in our city. At that point, those of us in the room didn’t know that Allies would grow into a network of over 1200 people and become, in my opinion, one of the most affecting and versatile organizations Austin has ever seen.
I’ve watched and filmed the impact that Allies has made through everyday citizens - an impact affecting people in Austin and beyond, free and enslaved. Few organizations can boast such a diversity of members who represent so many different sectors of the city. Few organizations have had such commitment or creative energy, only growing stronger in the most difficult challenges. It is an incredible achievement to make an impact in areas where the very fabric of life and liberty is being torn down.
Yet there is also another reason I support Allies. I’ve chosen to become a Sustaining Member not simply because I believe in a cause, but because Allies has empowered me to write a story of freedom alongside my neighbors.
The continuation of that freedom is ensured by the actions we take every day; everything we do matters. Each one of us can become a Sustaining Allies Member for only $25 dollars a month - less than $1 a day.
Taking that first step is often the hardest part of making a commitment, but it's also the most important. Solomon Northup, whose story was featured in the movie 12 Years A Slave, was a free black man living in the North. He was kidnapped and enslaved in 1841 for twelve years on a southern plantation. In his memoir, Northup shares about a free man named Bass who took a seemingly small step to help restore Northup’s freedom - he sent a letter on Northup’s behalf. Northup writes:
"I caught [Bass] by the hand, and with tears and passionate entreaties implored him to befriend me — to restore me to my kindred and to liberty — promising I would weary Heaven the remainder of my life with prayers that would bless and prosper him. [Now], in the enjoyment of freedom—surrounded by the associations of youth, and restored to the bosom of my family—that promise is not yet forgotten, nor shall it ever be so long as I have strength to rise my imploring eyes on high."
Friends, you may not be caught by the hand like Bass, yet be caught by the heart. Become a Sustaining Allies Member today. You have the chance to give hope to survivors and empower the movement to end slavery in Austin and beyond. Together we can continue to write the story of freedom.