Week 3: Hope

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert F Kennedy.

Not For Sale has a passion you cannot ignore. Being allowed to sit through all staff meetings is a privilege, and whether we are listening to David Batstone or another staff member speak, it is hard to not get excited about the amazing things going on at Not For Sale, and it’s impossible to ignore the staff’s enthusiasm. It is so refreshing to work with and for people who are so passionate, and I am convinced that if more companies and organizations had the kind of gusto NFS has, we would truly be capable of amazing things.

Yet, there are moments when you get stuck wondering if it is all worth it.

From the first moment I learned of human trafficking I knew that I had to do something about it. My eyes had been opened to a crime that would not let me sleep at night if I was not somehow trying to save the world from its inhumanities. No pressure, right? So here I am, ending week three of the Fellowship, and I have heavy boots. (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, anyone?) Because of what I know, I cannot turn a blind eye. I refuse to except that governments are corrupt and millions of men, woman, and children will forever be enslaved. I refuse. But how can I, a small town girl from New Jersey, make a difference?

Hope.

I am making a conscious decision to focus on hope. We have to believe that tomorrow will be better, that we are working for the future and that one day, whenever that may be, things will change. Dale Carnegie once said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” This is what I see in the Not For Sale staff. I see people that know what I know, and are dedicating their lives to do what they can to make a difference. Everyone here is hopeful that we can end modern-day slavery in our lifetime; we have to be. But we choose to be, too. I have had an inner struggle the last few weeks trying to figure out where I fit in here. As I listen to friends and family members say that I am changing the world and that they are proud of me, I cannot help but cringe. When you spend days calling people who do not pick up their phone or sending emails out to people who may or may not answer, it is hard to feel like you are making a difference. One of the hardest lessons I will have to learn over the next few months, and have already been reminded of multiple times, is that we will not see immediate, tangible results. We are not vacuuming, we are ending modern-day slavery. And how great is that?

So here I am, sending forth a tiny ripple of hope that one day, thanks to our combined efforts and dedication, we will beat this thing. Because that’s how change happens.

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