I remember reading about her in middle school. About the risks she took to lead nearly 70 slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. Thinking about the strength and courage it must have required. Yes, even at age 11, I admired her.
Harriet Tubman was not just a survivor. She was an activist and a defender of freedom.
This month marks the 100th anniversary of her death. Two proposed national parks, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park are all receiving honors in her name. Quick highlights:
- The Maryland byway maps 125 miles of points of interest across the Eastern Shore where Tubman lived and worked as a slave. It offers a chance to discover stories about rescue, escape, struggles for freedom and history leading up to the civil war.
- The state park, which is planned to open in 2015, spans 17 acres and will feature a visitor center, trails and exhibit hall for interactive displays.
When I think back to that class in middle school, I realize how little I knew about what was going on in the world around me. I probably made the assumption that slavery was a problem of the past, and thanks to our government, we all could experience freedom now! Oh, how I wish it were so.
The fact is, slavery still exists. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, where women and children are sold every day. In America. Land of the free? Not quite.
But there are many of us who are fighting back. Who are looking for volunteers to join our efforts and raise awareness on modern-day slavery. That’s where Araminta comes in.
I recently joined Araminta Freedom Initiative as a volunteer, and I’m excited to see changes made in Baltimore to fight sex trafficking. The nonprofit’s name derives from Tubman’s given name as a child slave in Maryland, meaning “defender”. It is our mission to “defend the freedom of children” by returning “to the dark places where they are held captive.”
Tubman once said,”I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
So many children today do not even realize they are slaves and that their lives are valued. It is our hope that ordinary people like us, like Harriet Tubman, like you, will stand together to defend those who are lost and afraid, abused and feeling empty, and empower them to claim their right to freedom.
For information on Araminta’s volunteer training, visit here.
To check out upcoming Baltimore events honoring Harriet Tubman, visit here.
- This Is Where A Seed Was Planted
- A Call for Compassion for All Creatures