Happy New Year, dear friends! I had a lovely break over Christmas but am glad to be back at my desk. We have so much good work to look forward to in 2012, but before we do, I wanted to take a look back at 2011. It was an extraordinary year for IJM, filled with more blessings than I can count. But here are a few highlights that I'm especially thankful for:
- In February, I delivered a letter signed by nearly 21,000 advocates from around the country to a high-level White House staff member. That letter, delivered to President Obama, sent a strong message that Americans want fighting slavery to be a priority for their leaders at the highest level. Watch this video
- IJM’s Justice Campaigns launched our volunteer advocacy leadership program with activists in 29 states. Many of you have joined the campaigns in your states, and we are so grateful for your partnership as we push for stronger laws to fight trafficking at home and abroad.
- In November, IJM staff in Nairobi delivered almost 2,500 letters of support to our client Joseph, who has been incarcerated and awaiting trial since December 2010. Your letters sent Joseph a message: that he is remembered and loved by people all over the world. Read about the letter-delivery.
- IJM and partners in the U.S. and India received a grant of $9.8 million from the Google Corporation to further our work of rescue and advocacy to end slavery. Learn more about these anti-slavery initiatives.
- IJM staff delivered over 30,000 signed Abolition Postcards from Americans around the country, urging their Senators and Congressmen and women to support the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Over 11,000 people also sent online letters to their Members of Congress, asking for their support for this crucial piece of legislation
We are gearing up to offer you even more exciting opportunities to engage in advocacy in 2012. We’ll be working with our partner, The Polaris Project, to pass strong anti-trafficking legislation at the state-level in a number of states. We’ll be teaming up with the brilliant Slavery Footprint to educate Americans about forced labor slavery in our own consumer supply chain, and engage them in opportunities to take action. We’ll launch a state-of-the-art online advocacy action center where IJM friends and activists around the U.S. can engage in all kinds of new advocacy opportunities.
In closing, I just want to thank you for being our good friends and partners on this joyful journey. Best wishes in the coming year. I hope we get to spend some of it together!
Holly Burkhalter is the Vice President of Government Relations at International Justice Mission. IJM's Justice Campaigns mobilizes people around the country in support of U.S. policies that will lead to the abolition of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.