GUEST POST BY KYLE CRYAN, ENDSILENTTRAFFIC.WORDPRESS.COM
On a nice warm summer day in June of 2008, my mother was out in our driveway sitting in her purple lawn chair sipping an iced coffee as strangers walked around tables looking at old junk to buy. My mom had always loved a good yard sale. I, however, had to go down and remove at least one stuffed animal from the pile (even though I was a freshman in High School) to be saved from the clutches of an uncaring stranger. While I was sifting through the mound of fluffy eyes, each one begging to be saved, I heard a woman ask a man, whom I assumed to be her husband, if any of these items were either made in America, or Fair Trade. He replied with a sigh and said “Unfortunately no." "I don’t want something made by an enslaved child," the woman replied. “I know honey, me neither.” And with that, the couple walked back to their car and drove off.
“Slavery was abolished by Lincoln, so what are they talking about?” I thought. Little did I know, just how far from the truth I actually was.
I was fourteen, so my ignorance up to that point could’ve been chalked up to being young and carefree, but the truth is, deep down I knew this to be true. I knew that somewhere in China, India, Thailand…etc, a poor, underpaid (if paid at all) human being was making all of my first world comforts. From my shoes, clothes, and the coffee I have been addicted to since I was ten, most, if not all, have been made by the exploited hands of the innocent.
On that day I began a journey. I Google searched “Child Slavery” and was immediately drowning in a sea of facts, percentages, websites, blogs, and pictures of children whom had the same “save me” look as the stuffed animals being sold on my front lawn. But I kept silent; I kept all this inside. I didn’t know who to go to and I didn’t even know what to say. So I prayed from that day on, not just for the freedom of the children and the other men and women, but for the buyers and sellers of these humans to somehow see the terrible error in their gross and inhumane ways. I prayed and kept up with International Justice Mission (IJM) and Somaly Mam, whom, despite the recent expose, is still a hero in my eyes. For years I silently watched movements being made and listened as people spoke up and fought back. But it wasn’t enough; God didn’t create me for the sidelines and I now know that.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Fast forward to college life, as soon as I arrived, I searched for ways to be involved, to create for myself a voice from which only love, acceptance, and truth were being spoken. And as I grew and matured as a person, so did my voice. As a result of this growth, God handed me an opportunity to use twitter to fight against Child Slavery, and stand for 24 hours in the heart of Scranton, PA speaking out against the dark and hidden world a modern day slavery. In those 24 hours, I spoke to many different people from all walks of life and watched as people became more aware of the slavery and human trafficking around them. My heart fluttered at each new person that either my teammates or I spoke with. But this was just one day…I have many more to live.
These are the words of the graceful God that I serve: “Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.” - Jeremiah 22:3
A life lesson: our silence is just as worse as any evil done; as well as that this world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. I am done being a silent observer. For my God doesn’t create second-string players. Each and every one of us was created as a starting player. Each one of us has a choice, we can either endorse the evil around us with our silence or to yell, scream, and fight…and end the silence.
I can’t answer for you. But I choose the latter.
Guest post by Kyle Cryan. Used with permission.
Originally posted at endsilenttraffic.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/ending-my-silence-by-kyle-cryan.