ACT NUin students Walk for Freedom
On October 17th, over thirty-five students from Northeastern University participated in the A21 Walk for Freedom, a global event bringing awareness to human trafficking with a site right here in Thessaloniki. Students and locals walked slowly in a straight line for a mile, wearing black shirts with the A21 logo with tape over their mouths to symbolize the many voices of slaves that are not heard. Some students held signs stating phrases like “#WalkForFreedom”. Other students walked alongside or across the street from the line of and handed out flyers that stated alarming statistics about human trafficking.
Students said that the experience was “really rewarding”, “well organized”, “fun”, and “cool to be a part of something that’s a lot bigger”. One student, Johnny Manousaridis even stated the walk “was probably the most powerful thing [he had] ever done. Just to see so many people at the White Tower and see so many people caring for this one cause was truly inspirational and moving”.
Student Ie Jin Choi said “I feel like I am a part of this Greek society and I’d like to do this campaign again”. Not only was the walk moving for students but awakening. Student Pat Apiwonopas commented that “it felt really cool when I got the chance to spread awareness because the Human Trafficking Market is the third largest market in the world and not a lot of people know about it”, while student Skyler Nasrallah remarked “I didn’t realize there were that many people that were a victim of human trafficking. People don’t realize that there is modern day slavery.”
Even though this event was so important, students observed different reactions from the locals. One student said she was surprised by the honking cars growing impatient with police who barricaded the streets while A21walkers marched on. Yet another student, Alex Clarke, encountered many people who wanted flyers and asked questions, showing that they were genuinely interested in the movement. Overall, students gained a positive experience accommodated by a large group of people willing to support this cause. Students were able to walk away learning that slavery is not an old tragedy but a current issue toxic to the whole world. They felt rewarded to be part of something so “big” and “powerful”.