May the Odds be Ever in your Favor

Entertainment over humanity- what would you choose? I hate to be that fellow that posts about the Hunger Games, but it’s happening. [And yes, that is Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) rockin’ out in the NFS | AllSaints tee!] The phenomenon that is “The Hunger Games” has been taking over the pop culture world and most of the fellows’ lives outside of work. I gave into the peer pressure of reading the ‘young-adult adventure science fiction series’ and have no regrets whatsoever! The movie finally came out and yes, we got there early- stood in line with kids decked out in Hunger Games accessories- pushed through the crowd- and got pretty amazing seats on the first night in its opening weekend.  No shame. For those of you who haven’t had the distinct pleasure of reading the captivating, page-turning trilogy, the story is set in the future when the Capitol selects a boy and a girl as “Tributes” from each of the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television. Heroine Katniss Everdeen and her male counterpart, Peeta, are to compete against highly trained representatives who have trained for the Games their whole lives. Regardless of qualifications and training, all 24 of the teenagers are forced into this annual televised battle to the death for the Capitol, partly for twisted entertainment, partly for brutal intimidation of the districts.

So, what does “The Hunger Games” have to do with Not For Sale? Once you finish the trilogy, you’ll find yourself riled up from the passion of these young people. From the beginning of the novel when Katniss volunteers to take her beloved younger sister’s place for the latest match, you can feel the fire that she has to not only save her sister, but to fight against the evil Capitol. During the Games, all of the Tributes make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and… each other. They undergo twisted punishments in which they have to use all of their skills to stay alive. They endure an emotional rollercoaster as the stark brutality of the games hits them with ups and down. Still, the young characters in the novel stand up in an act of defiance against all that is wrong. Katniss becomes a symbol in the Districts. The citizens are mesmerized by and look up to both her and Peeta as their only strength and hope of tearing down the walls of the Capitol and all that it stands for. The 12 districts rely on the willpower and spirit that only the youth can bring forth for them.

The passion to end global slavery is within our youth. There needs to be a shift in our culture to educate our young people on not only what is happening, but more importantly, about what they can do. It’s called Academic Activism. Students, start with your education, because it is your advocacy. There are so many avenues to take action within academics. Attend a Not For Sale Academy, read a White Paper, check out the Slavery Map, and find resources in the student toolkit. With that knowledge, you can become more engaged as an abolitionist. It is your duty to transform your education into action. Then, empower yourself as a student on your campus to take charge of a Not For Sale club, raise funds with Free2Challenge or Free2Play, book the Academy World Tour or screen the Dark Side of Chocolate. Be the advocate amongst your classmates and rally together to re-abolish modern-day slavery. Lastly, make your school a zero-tolerance community. This means you and your school will not tolerate anything that is not ethically sourced. Become a just campus. Petition and lobby for ethical sourcing at your school. You can eliminate and prevent human trafficking as a community by using Free2Work as your guiding tool.

Students, you have the opportunity to change culture and even change lives. Don’t miss out on the chance to make an impact through Academic Activism. You can do more than spread awareness. The movement is about so much more than a club. It’s about becoming a smart activist for the rest of your life. Start today and make academic activism part of your culture.

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