By: Elena Kim
Photo Credit: Kathryn Crummitt
Did you know that there is a student organization on campus that advocates for justice and raises awareness of modern-day slavery, human trafficking, and police abuse of power? International Justice Mission at UMBC is a student-run club that commits to these goals. As a whole, International Justice Mission is a global, non-profit organization and one of the largest anti-trafficking organizations worldwide. They partnes with local authorities in 20 program offices in 13 countries to rescue and restore victims of violence and human trafficking, hold perpetrators accountable, and help strengthen public justice systems.
I had the opportunity to interview IJM President and MCSer, Kathryn Crummitt, about the UMBC IJM Chapter. Kathryn is a UMBC junior double majoring in MCS and Global Studies as well as pursuing a minor in International Politics and a certificate in Security Studies. Her passion for advocating against human trafficking began her senior year of high school when she wrote a twenty-two-page thesis on the effects of human trafficking, “Stopping modern-day slavery became a personal passion of mine. I believe slavery is not a horror confined to the past; it is a cancer of violence, continuing to spread globally today. The cries of the African slave may no longer be heard in the United States, but the sounds of rape, forced labor, coerced sexual servitude, and trafficked victims cry out in desperation. I believe we all have an obligation to those who are not given their basic human right to life and liberty.” Not only is she President for IJM, but she currently interns for the Congressional and Public Affairs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation for the department of State. She also has experience in public policy and service through her internship as a legislative intern for the Maryland General Assembly, and will continue to learn through her recent acceptance to Carnegie Mellon University's Junior Summer Institute (JSI) in Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA).
Last semester, IJM at UMBC participated in IJM’s national fundraising event known as, Threads, a pop-up thrift shop of donated clothes from UMBC students themselves. Their initial goal was to raise $700, however by the end it doubled to $1,500. Kathryn claims that the fundraiser was a big success because they were able to join hands with another UMBC club, Cru, who volunteered to help out during the time of the event. Through this event, they were able to raise awareness about human trafficking on both local and national levels, and donate their proceeds to the IJM field offices planted around the globe. IJM's official website released a blog post about the national Threads event and even featured photos from the UMBC students, click here to check it out: https://www.ijm.org/news/thrift-shop-finds-threads-rallies-communities-around-freedom
This semester, IJM at UMBC is holding an advocacy campaign that will concentrate on empowering student voices on ending modern-day slavery to Congress. Kathryn quotes “The strength of the movement to end trafficking and violence is directly tied to the power of individual advocates like us… UMBC students. Congress won’t act unless we do. We will be hosting a letter-writing party (https://my3.my.umbc.edu/groups/ijmatumbc/events/104873) to encourage our legislators to support funding for key anti-trafficking initiatives. As students, we especially have proven there is power when we use our voices. I believe Congress wants to know what our generation cares about – and they respond with action that truly makes a difference.”
Reaching out to Congress and advocating for social justice can be daunting tasks to take on, so I asked her whether MCS has equipped her for these leadership roles, and she responded with yes. Last year, MCS prepared her as IJM Secretary through classes such as MCS 101 (Media Literacy), 144 (Professional Communication & Development), and 222 (Intro to MCS). She expressed that “Being well versed in the history of communications and learning about how to edit videos and reach an audience really aided me in formulating ideas on how to make IJM known on campus through social media, emails, and GroupMe.” The UMBC IJM Chapter began at the peak of the pandemic, therefore, one major goal for them was to grow their following on their online platforms since it was the only way to engage with students and introduce them to IJM at UMBC. Kathryn was able to see the results of her social media works as Secretary when people showed up at the meetings, for instance, their first meeting in the fall garnered nearly 25 people. If you’re interested in joining hands with IJM at UMBC, Kathryn advised about ways you can get involved!
Follow their Instagram or Facebook @ijmnullatumbc
Join our GroupMe https://groupme.com/join_group/63562335/7rR5zi3z
Most importantly, join them in their letter-writing campaign and invite your friends! It will be on April 13th at COMMS 331 at 7:15 pm. They will have food, music, and tons of supplies like stickers and letters!
Email Kathryn at firstname.lastname@example.org, she would love to grab coffee or lunch and chat more with students about IJM.
Posted: April 14, 2022, 10:39 AM