Together We Can End Slavery . . . Again!

The Alliance Against Modern Slavery, 2013, Conference


Me, Laura, and Joanne, volunteering at AAMS Confrenece
AKA Photography

I arrived downtown Toronto at 6:30 am. all by myself, on the cool, grey morning of February 23. The start time for volunteers at the Alliance Against Modern Slavery’s (AAMS) conference wasn’t until 7:00 am.

Parking, at 6:30 am., was a cinch; finding a Starbucks that opened before 7:00 am., on the other hand, was not. I found one, deep in the lobby of the Marriot, located across the street from the YMCA conference venue at 20 Grosvenor Street.

Navigating the city made a townie like me feel pretty good, almost cosmopolitan. What felt even better was entering the Y and seeing the warm and friendly faces of the AAMS volunteer team decked in alliance-red T’s and excited for the day. What a welcome!

This conference felt different than the last AAMS conference, which was held at York University in October, 2011. That event was dense in research and expert documentation. AAMS built a solid foundation in 2011 and used it like a launching pad for 2013.

Karlee Sapoznik, President, AAMS

Karlee Sapoznik, President AAMS
AKA Photography

Karlee Sapoznik, president, AAMS, and her team, created a fantastic lineup of speakers: front-line workers, experienced law enforcement, survivors, educators and, activists.

One activist, Aura Burditt, who spoke at the afternoon session,  said something that made me smile. It was good coaching to everyone who has felt that taking it on this cause is like trying to hold back a tsunami with a broom.

Aura was talking about  her husband, Stan, and his 210 km Freedom Walk from London, ON, to Queen’s Park, in September, 2012. She said,

“After the walk, Stan’s toenails turned black and fell off”.


Stan and Aura Burditt at the AAMS Conference Feb. 23, 2013
AKA Photography

Stan and Aura spend themselves for this cause and it costs them: toenails, sleep, weekends. It’s worth it.

These sacrifices can make a difference, affecting one person makes a difference. One event can inspire someone new to be a voice for the enslaved.

All it takes is action. One person with no plan won’t liberate 27 million slaves.  But when each of us does our part we can achieve exactly what Sapoznik illustrated in her opening words at the conference.

In 1787, twelve people sat around a table in a bookshop in London, England. They founded an anti-slavery organization. It took those people just twenty years to achieve the legal end of the slave trade across the entire British Empire, including Canada. What they’ve done is ours to finish.

So what do you say? Are you ready to roll up your sleeves? You can do one thing right now that will make a difference, contact me. Join a team, join my team or create a team. And stay plugged in. Leave a comment or shoot me an email,  with your ideas, questions, thoughts or plans. I’d love to hear from you.




About Marilyn Luinstra

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