Why I Ride: Emma Orlando

In recent years, every time that I heard all the statistics for human trafficking, my heart would ache and my muscles would clinch more and more. But I always saw this problem as too big. Too big to make a dent. Too big for a college student to fix. Even too uncomfortable to talk about. So, I never did anything about it, as most do. It took being placed in a position where I had nowhere to hide and nowhere to go.

On November 1, 2017, I attended a talk on my campus given by David Zach, a singer/songwriter and volunteer for the Exodus Road, a non-profit that helps rescue people caught in human trafficking. It was something that a friend invited me to and I attended with the purpose of becoming more aware of “Fighting Trafficking” which was the title of the talk. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.

Sitting in that theatre, listening to a David Zach sing a song he wrote about a girl enslaved that had a bit of light that came through a small crack and hit her face, I was almost in tears (look up Remedy Drive- Sunlight On Her Face). I didn’t know what to do next, but it lit a fire in my heart. I sat there with about 20 other students and teachers quiet, continuing to listen to him talk. Eventually, others in the crowd started asking questions. A previous teacher of mine rose his hand and asked the question that I, and I’m sure everyone else, was also thinking. It was along the lines of “we all can’t go overseas undercover in brothels, so how can we help here?” The answer that David gave is why I ride. It is what pushed me to no longer think “I CAN’T” and to start thinking “I CAN”. He talked with such passion about how it isn’t about where you are or how many people you are actually interacting with and saving. It is about the cause. It is about starting conversations. It is about being uncomfortable. It is about making a dent in a problem now, rather than letting it grow. It is about the future generations to come and what life would be like then if all we do now is sit still and listen but not act. It is about what you can do to prevent the problem from growing worse.

Since that night I dove in, I have grown a desire in my heart and in my life to make a change, to carry a passion, to achieve the unimaginable. The next day I emailed Pedal the Pacific to see if I could still join the application process.

I still sit in awe of what I have gotten myself into, but I cannot wait. Already, I see the conversations blooming around me. I see the passion I have in others who also want to fight. I see a change that just normal people are making and I can’t wait to see the change I can make this summer as I Pedal the Pacific.

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