by Comprehensive Staff
On August 31, 2017, you may have seen cracks in Yakima sidewalks filled with red sand, including sidewalks near our Yakima Center. Our Yakima ASPEN (Abuse Support and Education Now) team was an active participant in the global Red Sand Project. "It's a sidewalk transformation project to help raise awareness for those at risk of being trafficked - sold for the profit of another in modern day slavery," said local organizer Barbara Ziegler. The Yakima Red Sand Project raised awareness for human trafficking; the movement originated in New York, and seniors at the Peach Tree Retirement brought the project to Yakima, joining an international movement.
According to the Red Sand Project’s official website, “Overlooked populations—refugees, immigrants, girls, and others—are most at risk of being enslaved, spending their lives being exploited for the profit of others. To recognize the overlooked, sidewalk interventions invite you to take the time to find and fill a sidewalk crack with red sand and to then document your sidewalk transformation on social media using #RedSandProject. These interventions remind us that we can’t merely walk over the most marginalized people in our communities—those who fall through the metaphoric cracks.”
Right now, local organizers are on step two of the project : creating call to action videos with businesses, organizations, and churches. Step three is a fundraiser happening on the 17th at Elite Academy in Yakima. The fourth and fifth are events taking place next year to educate the community about trafficking. If you can't be a part of the project, there is one thing Ziegler wants people to remember. "If you see something, say something," she says. "It's better to call and be wrong than not call and be right," said Ziegler. For more information on how you can help or get involved, contact ASPEN Yakima Director Kim Foley. Adapted from NBC Right Now and Red Sand Project.