GRACE Founders Share at Georgia University
Does it really happen here? Are boys trafficked? Who are vulnerable? What are the signs and symptoms? What can I do?
These were only a few of the questions presented to our founders at Tuesday's human trafficking awareness event. Although they would rather the conversation not be necessary, Dr. Jon & Angie Sullivan were honored to share the statistics and their direct experience about trafficked and exploited persons around the world with the faculty and students of Shorter University.
Pictured above: GRACE founder, Dr. Jon Sullivan
Monday evening, a professor later penned this post:
“A little (or a lot) more to say…It wasn’t until I realized my mind had gone back to the year I spent in the hall at school - 5th grade, only 10 years old, that I was able to settle my emotions. It happened when the speaker of a lecture I attended today told of the little boy their agency rescued from a life of despair. Many sad details were given about the child’s family and how he struggled with schoolwork. The child had been told by a teacher that he was dumb - he was pushed to the side so the other children could be taught. A relief organization got involved helping him and now that same young boy is referred to as “the engineer.” There are no deficits in his intellect. He is bright, creative, and capable. He simply needed someone to care and to help.
I learned a lot that year I spent in the school hallway - mostly I learned how callous adults can be and how neglectful administrators can be when a kid doesn’t quite fit the mold. I guess I could say that year I was pushed to the side - others were taught collectively while I did my lessons alone in the hall. I believed back then I was flawed a bit more than was acceptable and mattered a little less than the rest of the kids. Just a few years later, I dropped out of school - still believing things about myself that I learned from those responsible for me - for educating me.
Today, I wanted to halt the speaker just long enough to find out if the young boy’s teacher who called him dumb got the boot. Of course I did not do so. No need because I’m quite confident I know the answer - not even a reprimand.
How did this world get so turned upside down? And how is it still going on? Why is it so hard to honor the dignity of every life and use words to build instead of destroy? And why are children held to a higher standard than the adults in positions of authority over them? And why won’t more with the wherewithal to make necessary, positive change do it?
To close out the day, I’ll give thanks and praise for the rescued boy and for the rescuers; for my own redeemed education and the blessing of getting to be a teacher. It is a sacred trust. May we treat it as such”
Shorter University is a Christian university situated among the beautiful seven hills of Rome in northwest Georgia. This prestigious Georgia Baptist university has a current enrollment of more than 1,400 students.