A Day in My Life: What It’s Like To Work for Free the Slaves posted by MTV ACT on 12/20/11 @ 7:00am via mtvU's Against Our Will Campaign
Photo: (Getty Images)
Ever wonder what it’d be like to work for a leading nonprofit that’s trying to end modern-day slavery? We’ve got your backstage pass right here. We’ve asked young people working for some of our favorite organizations to keep a diary of one day in their life – and you’ll be surprised to see what they get up to! This week, Tulika Bose, an intern at Free the Slaves, shares her story.
9:00 a.m. I walk into the Free the Slaves office in Los Angeles. As web communications intern, the first thing I usually do is work on the FTS blog. However, this morning, we’re preparing for a music benefit at the Hotel Café tonight in Hollywood. Tonight’s performers include Jason Mraz, The Makepeace Brothers, and The Rescues. I help Anne Keehn, web producer, and Stephanie Cho, social media intern, stuff gift bags for the bands.
12:30 p.m. I get started on a blog post to announce our new crowdfunding campaign on Indie GoGo: The Freedom Education Project. Our goal is really simple - $2,700 to put 27 copies of Slavery: The Book into California public schools and libraries. We’ll donate all of the money to freeing a whole village in India from slavery.
2:30 p.m. We’ve launched the project. I work on Facebook and Twitter, Stephanie writes on Tumblr, and Anne helps me with some of the HTML. Everyone here works as a team.
5:30 p.m. I’m on my way to the benefit in Hollywood. While driving, I have a flashback. I’m ten years old, sitting on a train in India. It’s stopped at a station. That’s when I see her. A girl, the same age as me. She has one arm. She’s unwashed, and she’s wearing ragged clothes with bells on her feet. She starts to sing and dance an old Bollywood tune. She’s blind. Someone has maimed her. She stretches out her hand towards me, as if sensing my attention. The adults I’m with clutch me away in fear. They give her a banana, and shoo her away. This is India. This is common, they say.
7:00 p.m. I arrive just in time to help Anne and Tawney Bevacqua, the outreach and volunteer coordinator, set up the merchandise booth. We’re pinning up t-shirts, and lining the booth with literature on slavery.
9:10 p.m. I go check out Parker Ainsworth and Jessie Payo, who sing a song inspired by some of the slavery survival stories on our website. It’s powerful to see that people are listening, and are moved by the stories.
9:40 p.m. Jason Mraz performs the “Freedom Song” -- a song that has close ties to Free the Slaves. Written by Luc Renaud in Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it’s a joyous anthem of freedom. In 2010, Jason visited FTS’ frontline partners in Ghana. He taught young children -- many of them slavery survivors -- the song. Last year, Jason performed this song at the Freedom Awards.
After singing, Jason tells the story of an 8-year old little girl lured into sex slavery. “The next time you get an urge to look at porn online, go learn something instead. Go to Wikipedia.” Mraz says.
10:00 p.m. Peggy Callahan, co-founder of Free the Slaves, walks on stage. She is the producer of all of FTS’ documentaries on modern-day slavery, and has helped countless slavery survivors share their stories with the world. She holds up a richly colored child’s painting.
“What you’re looking at,” she says, “is the first time a freed little boy held a paintbrush in his hand.” The crowd -- many of them musicians and artists themselves -- cheers. Art is healing and empowering.
10:40 p.m. I hear the four-part harmonies of The Rescues. They’re fantastic. I chat with them a little after the set, about music. Like a lot of people in LA, I’m in a band, too.
11:20 p.m. We’re running out of “Slavery Sucks” t-shirts. Our literature is completely gone.
12:12 a.m. It’s time to leave. It’s been an amazing night -- and a lot of people have walked away inspired.
They’ve learned some hard truths -- but also the good news. We can end slavery in our lifetime. All it takes is a little compassion, dedication, and the will to spread the word.
Do you want to intern for Free the Slaves? Visit Free the Slaves’ website to find out more about their internships in Los Angeles, CA and Washington, DC.