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Make a Difference Monday: International Justice Mission

19 January 2009

As I stated in my New Year post, I want to try something a little different every so often with this blog. So, every Monday from here on out, rather than waxing philosophical about myself, I will use this space to share about an organization, subject or cause that I believe is important or worthy of note (and how apt to start on MLK Day – really did not do that on purpose and just realized it now). For those of you who have known me for a while, you probably will not be surprised to learn that I have decided to start this series with International Justice Mission (IJM).

Contrary to popular belief, International Justice Mission is not what Superman and his friends call their weekly brunch meet-up. (By the way, that is the Justice League of America – as the title insinuates, in no way international.) (Though when I was an intern for IJM way back when, a fellow intern created a t-shirt design for us that incorporated the Green Lantern with the IJM logo – needless to say, printing approval on that was a no-go.) Rather, as it says on the organization’s website:

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems.

As some of you know, I have been involved in some way, shape or form with IJM for about ten years now. Back in 1998, this then-fledgling organization visited the church I attended in Boston for a full-day seminar on social justice. Being a college student at the time, I at first had no desire to go to a full-day seminar at church on a Saturday – after all, I had a boyfriend to see, Belgian waffles to eat in the cafeteria, repeats of The X-Files to watch and analyze, and one of those papers about which I continually threw tantrums on my friend’s floor to finish. But a friend pushed me to go saying that she thought I would enjoy it. And she was right – I did enjoy it and found a whole new direction for my life to boot (from international correspondent for The New York Times to human rights lawyer in 6.8 seconds!).

Since that day at Park Street Church, I have followed IJM, attending conferences, sharing with friends, even volunteering for a little while. And the organization continues to grow and grow and grow, rescuing people and fighting abuse in twelve countries at last count.

So, while the staff of IJM may not hang with Batman or fly in Wonder Woman’s invisible jet, every single IJM investigator, lawyer, aftercare worker, driver, admin person, etc. is still a superhero in my book. And the best part? They’re actually real.

Please check out International Justice Mission at its website www.ijm.org.

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