By Melissa Jane Kronfeld & Megan Legband
Yehuda Gurwitz is a millennial with a powerful voice for change. At only 30 years old, Yehuda has extensive experience as a social entrepreneur, with Charidy.com being one of his most compelling projects to date.
Charidy is a non-profit fundraising and crowdfunding platform that provides coaching to social impact entrepreneurs and organizations, allowing them to raise more money from their donor base and attract new supporters from Charidy’s vast and committed audience.
Now leveraging their resources for the cause of abolition, Yehuda and Charidy are spearheading the first annual United for Freedom Giving Day to Combat Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery on July 30, 2017, the United Nation’s World Against Trafficking in Persons.
Read about Yehuda’s passion behind the fight to end slavery below and then learn more about getting involved in United For Freedom Giving Day!
What is one fact that every person should know about slavery?
Modern slavery is all around you. It doesn’t have a “look.” It could be anybody. It’s not necessarily what is commonly depicted as someone bound in chains or locked in a basement. It affects people that you could be interacting with on a day-to-day basis. It could be the woman doing your nails in the nail salon, or the man bagging your groceries. Modern Slavery has many faces.
How did you first learn about modern slavery & what did you decide to do about it?
I have actively been helping socially aware nonprofits for over ten years. Since founding Charidy.com, we have worked with many nonprofits to raise awareness for today’s critical issues, and in the process have helped raise over $280 million. At Charidy, we continue to see firsthand how, together, we can actually rally around an issue.
Through joining the Global Sustainability Network (GSN), I have been fortunate to partner with influential leaders in media, business, tech and government in tackling the issue of modern slavery. I hope to apply my experiences at Charidy on a much larger scale.
What is the most critical obstacle preventing us from having a slave free world?
Firstly, there is inherent disconnect and lack of public awareness of the prevalence of this important issue. People think slavery takes place thousands of miles away and does not impact their lives.
Today, there is a lot more information available for people to be educated and made aware. Two leading activists in this fields, Lisa Kristine and Jeffrey Brown, whom I am privileged to be friends with, have led pioneering work in uncovering the human face of trafficking and modern slavery. I encourage everyone to watch the trailblazing film, SOLD.
Additionally, each local organization has a limited capacity, and part of what we at Charidy are endeavoring to do is to see what we can accomplish when a community of organizations rally together.
What is the most important lesson you have learned while fighting for freedom?
That when people become conscious about the issue, they will act.
Oftentimes, upon realizing the enormity of the issue, people are intimidated to take action. But we must be aware that the millions of people struggling each have their own individual human story. Even making an impact on just one person means a human life is forever emancipated. And furthermore, as individuals become a community of people motivated to action, this will undoubtedly have a ripple effect on the many people caught up in enabling modern slavery, who are not conscious of the extent of this human rights abuse.
Why do you believe the Millennial generation will be the one that can end slavery?
The internet and social media has put information at our fingertips; therefore, it’s a lot easier to raise awareness about this issue. This awareness leads to connection, which will ultimately lead to people taking a stand. As we have seen on so many occasions, the power of social media has equipped our generation with much greater capacity to affect change.
What does a slave free world look like to you?
A slave free world is a place where individual freedoms are respected and people’s vulnerabilities are not exploited. It is a challenging task of enormous proportions, which require concerted effort and coordination on many fronts. However, as mentioned earlier, we have the potential to raise a lot more awareness on this issue. And the greater the awareness, the greater the inspiration to act.
What is one thing every reader can start doing right now to help end slavery?
Educate yourself on the issue. A simple post on social media goes along way, and should never be underestimated. It is time for us to take hold of the narrative.
The United for Freedom Giving Day to Combat Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery is something that we are proud to spearhead. This will take place on July 30, 2017, the day recognized as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons by the United Nations.
It is our hope that this united front against modern slavery will lead to an increase in action. Everyone can be a partner in this.
To get involved, visit our website.
Profiles In Abolition is an in-depth look at the influencers, innovators & thought leaders in the modern anti-slavery movement. An accompaniment to Millennial Magazine’s ongoing 10-part series exposing modern slavery – a project of the Nexus Global Youth Summit (catch up with Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four) – Profiles In Abolition will examine a diverse & inspiring array of advocates whose critical voice must be heard.
Want to learn more from the world’s leading luminaries in the fight to #EndSlaveryNow? Sign up for the Nexus Anti-Slavery Speaker Series, a weekly conference call with the men and women on the front lines of the modern abolition movement! This call is open to the public and everyone is welcome to listen in! Click here to register for free. Then learn more about modern slavery by following Nexus on Twitter, Instagram & Millennial Magazine!