Zach Hunter was in the seventh grade when he began studying the history of African American leaders who made a significant impact in the U.S. It was Black History Month, and Hunter was learning about abolitionists and freed slaves such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth. He also read about the work of Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other Civil Rights leaders. At the time Hunter was frustrated that he had not been born earlier.
He remembers telling his mother, "Man, if I had lived back then, I would have fought for equality, and against slavery."
Then, his mother told him that slavery was still going on in the world today. Hunter was shocked, and he vowed to learn more about the then-estimated 27 million people trapped in modern-day slavery. Inspired by the stories of past abolitionists, Hunter began to take steps to bring justice to enslaved men, women and children.
Hunter did not let his age dissuade him from trying to make a difference. He founded a student-led campaign called Loose Change to Loosen Chains (LC2LC) to raise money for groups that rescue slaves. At first, Hunter and his supporters launched the campaign for an organization that Hunter’s mom worked for. In its first year, LC2LC raised $8,500 and donated it to the International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM engages in operations that directly free individuals in the sex trade.
Today, hundreds of student groups launch LC2LC campaigns on their own campuses. Now, Loose Change to Loosen Chains funds the work of several credible and effective abolitionist and human rights organizations chosen by Hunter.
Hunter's mission to spread the message about modern-day slavery really took off when Walden Media hired his mom. Walden Media was starting to promote Amazing Grace, a film about Christian abolitionist William Wilberforce. The company asked Hunter's mom to find a teen to help with their national campaign. Walden wanted someone who had a real passion about ending slavery.
Hunter still takes his passionate message to conferences and music festivals across the country and abroad. His campaign and, more importantly, the movement against modern-day slavery continuously receive major media attention from national outlets such as Good Morning America and Newsweek.
"Abolition." Zachhunter.wordpress.com. WordPress, 02 Aug. 2013. Web. 28 May 2014.
America has a new generation of 21st century abolitionists, women and men committed to ending human trafficking here in our country and everywhere. This gallery of portraits celebrates New Abolitionists and their determination to end slavery once and for all in our lifetimes.