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Labor Day

Written by Mitchell Waters, SLC Volunteer

As we are coming up on Labor Day weekend, many of us are making plans about what we will be doing with our family or friends. Maybe we are going to the mountains or beach on holiday. Or maybe we are having a “staycation” where we get to sleep in. Maybe we have done some extra work this week just so we can truly relax on Monday.

Labor Day became an American holiday in 1894 to acknowledge the hard work of the American labor industry. Labor has always been highly valued and it is one of the most valuable commodities in our world. There is a strong sense of value and meaning we can derive from our work. Now imagine being forced to work as a commodity void of any true meaningful purpose. You are just a commodity to be bought and sold for the sole purpose of someone else’s gain. Our history has a very dark and unfortunate history with slavery. This has not changed much today. One of the darkest times in our American history still continues today, however, it has been made more covert.

Making an estimated $30 billion dollars a year and enslaving up to 293,000 Americans under 18 for commercial slave trade, human trafficking is an epidemic. If you are moved by these numbers and the inhumanity of the past that haunts us still today, eliminating this epidemic may feel like a daunting or impossible task.  I would encourage all of you to, on this Labor Day, take some time to research and learn about what you can do to join us in this fight. As you have a relaxing day off of work, pull up your computer and look for ways to contribute. Second Life Chattanooga is on the forefront of this fight in our community. Take some time to donate, learn about volunteering or talk to your friends and family about this issue.

Also, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Chattanooga Coalition Against Human Trafficking General Meeting happening on September 27 at 11:30 at the Development Resource Center, 1250 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN! This is a free event open to the public and it will be a great opportunity to learn more about human trafficking and how to get involved!

[1] http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day

[2] Estes Weiner report, Univ. of Penn, 2001

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