By Melissa Jane Kronfeld & Megan Legband
Avery Harris, a native Texan and has a heart just as big as her state. Born in San Antonio, she now lives and works in Austin, where she owns her own social enterprise food truck aptly named, SAvery Grilled Cheeses. Ten percent of all revenue from the business is given to critical, life-saving organizations fighting against modern day slavery.
Avery received a bachelor’s degree in Communications with an Individual Creative Studies minor at Texas A&M University. After a trip overseas on a humanitarian mission, where she had the opportunity to confront human trafficking first hand, Avery knew she was going to spend the rest of her life in the fight for the lives of others. Combining her deep passion for cooking with her driving passion for liberty, the gooey greatness of SAvery was born.
Homemade recipes and innovative entrepreneurship allows Avery’s flare for food and freedom to thrive at SAvery. Her commitment to make a difference in her individual sphere of influence is admirable, and serves an important example to millennials everywhere that making a difference in the world can start in your very own backyard.
Check out what happened when we caught up with Avery to talk about the fight to #EndSlaveryNow!
What is one fact that every person should know about slavery?
Everyone can make a difference. Whether it’s through financial support, bringing awareness or joining an organization. The more we unite, the more of a difference we can make. Every little bit helps!
How did you first learn about modern slavery & what did you decide to do about it?
I went on a Christian humanitarian backpacking trip to 11 countries in 11 months where we served with various organizations in exchange for food and shelter. While I was on this trip, I worked with sex trafficking organizations in Thailand and the Philippines. Once I met the men, women and children that were affected by the sex industry and had first hand experience fighting against it, I knew I had to keep going. This is when the idea came to me to combine my passion of financially supporting organizations fighting against modern day slavery with my passion of cooking. Not only would we be able to raise funds, we could also raise awareness with our truck!
What is the most critical obstacle preventing us from having a slave free world?
I would say either denial or division prevent us from being a slave free world. A lot of people are not exposed to modern slavery, so it winds up being a problem that is out of sight and out of mind. I also think that we sometimes miss the mark when trying to unite all of the organizations that are fighting for the same cause, leading to competition between them. This then creates more division instead of unification, which is by far the most powerful tool.
What is the most important lesson you have learned while fighting for freedom?
One lesson I have learned is to not expect everything to be instantaneous. I would love for slavery to be resolved overnight, but I have to constantly remind myself that it takes time. I also have to remind myself that we are making a difference even though I can not always see it. I was abroad, directly working with the men, women and children that were affected by slavery, whereas now, I do not get to be as hands on. I have to remind myself that the financial gifts and awareness is just as necessary and effective.
Why do you believe the Millennial generation will be the one that can end slavery?
Because we are the most informed. When it comes to conversations with others, I have realized that majority of the most informed generation are Millennials! Thankfully we also have a lot more access to informative resources about the issue of modern day slavery. Awareness is the first step to making a difference, so I think this is extremely beneficial. In addition, I have noticed our generation likes to take action. So between awareness and willingness, I truly believe we can end modern day slavery and make a difference in the world.
What does a slave free world look like to you?
A slave free world is a world where every individual has free will. They are not forced to work for anyone against their will, and they have liberty to do what they choose. It is a world with more opportunities for women in countries where they do not have many options to be employed or educated. This would help end forced slavery which results from poverty, lacking education and low employment.
What is one thing every reader can start doing right now to help end slavery?
Have one conversation about modern slavery with someone you know. That one conversation will have a butterfly effect and undoubtedly can, in some form, make a difference. Some of the best advice I have ever heard was to discuss your passions and desires to others, because you never know who else is around that has the same goals and ideas as you! This is how my truck was able to come to fruition and I am so thankful I listened to this wisdom and would encourage all readers to do the same.
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) – 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!
This article was originally published on October 14, 2016.