Morale has been good but we are definitely tired. The rest day was desperately needed and we are excited for the rest of our journey!
Our neighbor cooked kabobs and made gourmet food while we tinkered with our camp stove. We ended up eating our freeze dried food provided Vinilly Farms/the Gaults and we could not have been happier. Our campsite had showers and we got all nice and clean and then snuggled up to get lots of sleep for day 2.
Over my four years at The University of Texas at Austin, I have been humbled by the shrouded corruption and injustice that has a foothold in my beloved city of Austin, Texas. A few months ago I was sitting in my car, less than 500 feet away from a brothel in North Austin. I was watching men, one after another, enter and exit. My entire body ached
As I was researching Pedal the Pacific, my initial disposition was just tentative curiosity, since I was not a cyclist. As I researched to find out more about Pedal the Pacific, what they stood for, and what they were doing, this wild excitement started to grow within me. Then, I finally read that anyone interested in applying didn’t need any prior cycling experience. That was it for me, I applied on the spot.
After finding out about it, I could not sit still. I thought to myself. “I have to do this.” “These girls are worth everything. Who am I to just stand by while sex trafficking is happening right now?” I was astonished that I had never heard of this issue before but knew that I had to do something about it.
To the young children & women I am biking for,
I am getting on a bike this summer. I am pedaling 1,700 miles down the Pacific Coast because I want to fight for you. I will meet people who have no idea what you have endured. The pain you have felt. The constant feelings of confusion and unworthiness you encountered everyday. I am biking to start a conversation about the injustice you were dealt. How cruel, unfair, and problematic sex trafficking is. How this problem is one that is a hidden billion dollar industry. How people are actually willing to pay money and use your body. You were made to be something beautiful and empowering. You still are that. I will never know the suffering and fear you have felt. I will never know your story and what you have been through. However, what I do know is that I love you. I love the strength, bravery, courage, boldness, and willingness to keep fighting even when the darkness feels like it’s taking over. How you didn’t stop fighting to breathe and to be you. I love that you are free now and will have the opportunity for the first time in your life to have something that is beautifully your own.
Right now, you are (or soon will be) at an amazing place called The Refuge Ranch located right outside of Austin, TX. This place serves as a holistic and therapeutic place for you to heal. A place to be loved and a home where you can find your passions and be yourself. The beautiful woman you were created to be. The Refuge provides you an education. It provides you a safe place. It even provides you a sweet bed that is all yours, and no one else’s. Fresh clothes, sheets, and other young women to relate to who have endured a similar circumstance to you. So, sweet friend I truly love you. So much that this year when our team of 9 other women gathered to set a goal to raise $250,000 to go toward where you are currently living. We cast a vision to have a large amount of the proceeds be put toward scholarships, so that other women can have healing just like you. I can’t imagine the battle than occurs within you daily. Trying to get through the day without flashbacks or maybe even a certain scent reminding you of your trafficker. You are beautifully redeemed, and on the days where you feel alone or forgotten I hope you remember that you have people fighting for you. Alongside myself and 9 other women, we are going to pedal harder and faster than anything to redeem your story. I am pedaling because as the wise Maya Angelou once said, “each time a woman stands up for herself she stands up for all women.”
My name is Kalindi Cordero- I am a born and raised Texan, Bulldog lover, Mac and Cheese fanatic, lover of dancing in all spaces (psa: tore my meniscus and currently rehabbing my knee so I can bike this summer), personal motivator, and want to help restore the lives of young women and children who have been trafficked.
I will cycle with my legs. I will use my voice to spark change. I will keep pushing forward one day at a time, for all women. They are so worth it. We all are. Let us ride together with love as we continue to fight for justice.
P.S. My bike ride this summer is in honor of my father who passed away from Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma this last August. Dad always reminded me to do something with purpose, passion, and love. I ride for myself, the girls, and for him.