September 28, 2023

Students involved with the International Justice Mission chapter at California Baptist University stood in Stamps Courtyard for 24 hours to spread awareness. Matthew Swope | Banner

The International Justice Mission’s campus chapter at California Baptist University took part in a 24-hour Stand for Freedom campaign by standing for justice from 6 p.m., April 7, to 6 p.m. the following evening.

Kaycee Cannon, junior international health major and president of the IJM chapter at CBU, said the purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness of modern slavery.

“Gary Haugen, founder of IJM, always said that awareness isn’t going to solve the problem, but you can’t solve the problem without the awareness,” Cannon said.

Advocates and members of the chapter stood to show their solidarity with those who cannot stand for themselves.

“We get our group together,” said Dr. Amy Stumpf, professor of society and religion and faculty adviser for the IJM chapter at CBU. “We stay up. We pray, sing, have fun, play games — just whatever we can do — as a means of cultivating our own self and sense of awareness.”

The late hours passed slowly as night turned to early morning in the Stamps courtyard.

“It was cold and wet but looking back at it now, it really brought us together and reminded us that it’s not about us, but for those in slavery,” said Jordie Beuch, sophomore communication studies major. “At the end of the day, it is such a prominent issue everywhere and so many people don’t really realize it.”

The advocates kept themselves awake during the night by watching documentaries, making crafts, playing Frisbee, writing out Scripture and chatting with one another.

“It was a really good time to put my own comfort aside and show I care about the cause,” said Lauren Hackett, freshman international studies major. “Jesus calls for us to care for the oppressed, so if I can’t be there, raising awareness is the next best thing.”

Student activity around campus began to pick up near 7 a.m. on April 8 as students started heading to class. Those who stopped by the booth were given information on the types of slavery and had the opportunity to sign a petition.

Cannon stressed the use of petitions as a way of bringing issues to light and making the importance of social justice bills known to government representatives. The petition signed at this year’s campaign was regarding the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015, an initiative that would help to fund programs fighting modern slavery.

More than 75 students wrote to their state senators to urge them to vote in favor of the act by signing the petition.

“We want to educate people on the different things that are happening around the world,” Cannon said. “The more you know about it, the more you find that there are a lot of things you can do.”

Matthew Swope contributed to this article.

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