In school we’re taught slavery happened a long time ago. Africans were stolen from their lands waaaaay back in the day and brought to America to work in plantations.This happened so long ago we didn’t even have the telegraph! Can you imagine? Slavery is a thing of our sordid past and thus relegated to a few dusty and often inaccurate chapters in our history textbooks. With this knowledge it’s easy to think of slavery as something far away from us, something that doesn’t need to be grappled with, right? If you’ve been paying attention to the news you’ll have seen the recent cry for statues honoring slave owners and supporters to be taken down. The truth is slavery’s ramifications are long and far reaching and we are very much still grappling with its effects in this country. While it’s an awful time in our history, it’s still history and has nothing to do with us today.
Or does it?
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Free The Slaves Fashion For Freedom event in New York City. In preparation for the event I started doing a little research and was horrified by what I found. There are estimated 40 million people enslaved worldwide today. As in right now. As in holy shit literally as I write This. Very. word. Modern slavery is very real and is growing every day. In fact, there are more slaves in the world today than in any other time in history. How is this possible? In a time of interconnectedness where news travels at the speed of a tweet how can so many people be trapped and beyond our reach?
Safia Minney speaks to the rapt crowd. Image courtesy of Free The Slave’s Instagram
This was what the event aimed to explore along with …