RI Monthly names Maternova founders Meg Wirth and Allyson Cote two 'Rhode Islanders of the Year' for 2016
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Freedom is Not Just Another Word

Freedom is Not Just Another Word

January 21, 2013 marks the celebration of Martin Luther King Day in the United States. A visionary whose time was cut short by the madness he was working to eliminate. Dr. King was more than an evangelist for our time. He saw equality, opportunity, and peace as our most basic set of human rights. On April 4, 1968 the man died, but his words and hopes have continued to inspire global citizens determined to realize his dream nearly four decades later.

So let’s take a look at our progress to date, and particular, our right of freedom. It’s something we often take for granted, especially in the United States. Human trafficking aka forced slavery is taking place here, and beyond our borders in increasingly alarming numbers. It is estimated nearly [2.5 million people are ‘sold’ against their will annually](http://bit.ly/v8eZ1), and an [estimated 27 million people are living in slavery](http://bit.ly/M5OcqU). Whether it is into cruel labor factories, or into sexual slavery – those who survive to tell their tales, impart scenarios so horrific, it is often beyond belief. As we sit here creating blog posts, and dutifully working to provide for our families, women and children are cast into an endless cycle of abuse and violence. It’s a cycle that needs to end, and it will only if we acknowledge its presence, as uncomfortable as it may be.

By exposing what is a lucrative trade for the traffickers, we begin to take away their power. In many cases, victims feel entirely powerless to help themselves out of a situation. [One online expose into the trafficking of women is jarring and not for the faint of heart](http://tinyurl.com/asurvivorsstory). But it is well worth taking the time to read, and understand that it is up to us to end this modern day slavery.

Together we can change the future for so many who look to us for their freedom. Freedom should not be a luxury or a variable under any circumstance. Thank you for all you do for women and children every day.

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

a.e.cote, 2013

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