International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s campaign theme, "Pledge for Parity”, is a call to recognize the gender inequalities that exist globally. IJM Canada’s #PledgeforParity includes a commitment to ending violence against women in the developing world. This blog series is intended to celebrate International Women's Day by sharing empowering messages from women who support IJM’s mission. Read and be inspired to action!
A Journey Towards Justice
Written by: Kelly Cameron
Have you ever heard or seen something that altered your direction in life? A marker that you can look back on as a catalyst for change? One of mine came in the form of a high school assignment. I was tasked with creating a project based on a current global issue. Since I went to school before the dawn of "Google” I had to rely on the ancient technology of the daily newspaper. It happened that the local paper was running a series of articles on "child sex tourism” in South East Asia. This was before human trafficking was a known term and the UN’s Palermo Protocol had not yet been drafted. My 16 year old self was incensed at the fact that girls my age and even younger were being abused daily. And so began my justice journey.
I don’t consider it a coincidence that in the same year I started to pursue justice I also started to pursue Jesus – mind you He’d been trying to get my attention for a while. Seeking justice isn’t an emerging Christian fad, but an ancient part of everyday discipleship. Today I find it hard to read through the scriptures without being reminded that seeking justice isn’t an optional accessory to one’s faith but a key command. For me the question isn’t should I seek justice, but how do I practically live this out?
Much of my justice journey has allowed me to serve those who are often unseen in society. I’ve been given opportunities to walk alongside teenage girls with addictions in California; women in crisis pregnancies in Ontario; sexually exploited children in Cambodia; and trafficked women and girls in Toronto. It hasn’t been an easy journey – as walking through dark places with others never is – but it is one I would not exchange.
Today I have the privilege of engaging women throughout Canada to discover how God is calling them to seek justice. I serve as the Associate Director of Mobilization for International Justice Mission Canada (IJM)
. IJM is a global organization that protects the poor from violence in the developing world. My colleagues around the world work to transform the public justice systems
in their countries to protect women, girls, men, and boys from sex trafficking, slavery, and other forms of violent oppression.
As I travel around Canada and speak about IJM’s work I frequently hear this phrase:
" I love what you’re doing, BUT I’m just a _________, what can I do?”
That blank is often filled with roles like "mom”, or their profession, or what they are not, or who they are responsible for. It’s a statement that honestly used to frustrate me, then God gave me an answer in the form of a question.
"What is in your hands and who is in your circle?”
As women we have an amazing ability to gather together and use our gifts, skills and abilities to affect change. I meet groups of women throughout Canada who have delved into God’s instructions to "seek justice”, grabbed a few girlfriends, and embarked on their own justice journeys. For most their journeys haven’t taken them across the globe, but simply to start in their own backyards. From a small group exploring a book on justice, to a stay-at-home mom and her friends making and selling soup to bring freedom. From university students who gather weekly to pray for justice, to a high school girl creating an ‘alternative prom’
to raise money for sex trafficking survivors. Seeking justice can take many forms.
Do you feel it? That tug? That stirring? It’s okay to sit with it. To let God start to speak to you about His call to seek justice and let Him take you on your own justice journey.
This blog post, originally featured on Gather Women, is part one of a series in support of International Women's Day. Gather Women is a national organization that provides an opportunity for Christian women to come together to tell the Canadian story and to champion a culture of support as they walk out their callings: unified and diverse.