It is indeed a time of great hope and promise in the west; new voices heard, new possibilities afoot, and change waiting in the wings (maybe). President-elect Obama's campaign catchphrase is a powerful collective cry whatever your affiliation; 'yes, we can.'
Election years are always bubbling pots of divisive accusation mixed with hand-holding multi-partisan feel-goodery. The phrase 'yes, we can' could be a rallying cry that could send waves of justice throughout the land, or it could be an empty marketing slogan, disappearing into the night air the moment the lights went out in Grant Park.
Put aside, for a moment, your thoughts of the holiday retail attack, General Motors, and the weird zoot suit / 20's gangster outfit Matt Lauer was wearing on the Today show this morning, and consider this; there are more slaves in the world today than at any point in human history.
Musician and filmmaker Justin Dillon (formerly of one of the most underrated roots rock groups of all time, Dime Store Prophets, and more recently of epic pop group Tremolo) has orchestrated a documentary film of great courage and intensity unearthing the hidden death culture that is modern day human trafficking and sex slavery; Call & Response (www.callandresponse.com).
This is a film that uses music to tell the story of the 27 million people whose voices can't be heard from the brothels, factories, and homegrown militia camps that imprison them. The sheer gore and scope of the subject matter is enough to leave you haunted for days, but the righteous anger it awakens is a fire guaranteed to warm your holiday spirit if that rum toddy isn't doing the trick.
Civil War-era slaver was abolished without any of the technology and interconnectivity we enjoy today. The charge is simple; resist the temptation to digest the rampant fearmongering we're subject to and become an advocate for real change, an antidote for real problems, real pain, and real hurt.
Retail will survive. The ten-year old girl raped daily in a dank brothel in Mumbai may not.
Call & Response will make you ashamed to be a part of the human species, but this film and the issues it raises are proof that the problem is fixable. It requires a shift in orientation in our spending decisions in the west, as well as the ever-necessary reassessment of human value . Slavery and trafficking could be eradicated with the money and resources Americans spend on Valentine's Day in one season. We hear stats like this all the time, but where do we start?
Start by going to see Call & Response. If it's not playing near you, dig into the website and see how the new abolitionist movement is taking shape. Also, check out the partial soundtrack album on iTunes. Buy buy buy! No studio or distributor was involved in the making of Call & Response, so all proceeds go back into the movement.
This Christmas, make the change. Move the movement. Resist the machine. Respond.