Red Thread Movement continues on summer tour promoting awareness of sex trafficking. By Samantha Sutherland

by   |  07.15.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

At our second festival, Alive, it rained on and off, but, despite the muddy playground inside the merch tent, there were some upsides. When the downpours would come, masses would cram inside the merch tent to wait out the storm. There was a group of people crowded up next to our table so I offered them some reading material for the wait and they gladly accepted. Awareness spread.

We met some awesome people, some shared some really touching stories with us about pasts of sexual abuse.

We were also mentioned on RadioU’s morning show and by a speaker on one of the stages.

Dawn from Fireflight passed by our table and gave us a fist pump and Hello Somebody came by our table later and said that she came over to them and said, “I love the Red Thread Movement.” ha ha, we love her too. The Fireflight street team frequented our table and became good friends of ours, they had picked up their bracelets last year from Don’t Wake Aislin and were sporting the second edition Red Thread bracelets ha ha.

We ended up bringing in around $2,800 and almost selling out of bags! By the end of the week, the crowd was speckled with red bracelets and several youth groups joined the Red Thread forces. We also were excited to add To Every Cynic to Red Thread Music. They are a great group of guys on fire for what God has planned for them and a huge heart for the cause.

After leaving Alive Festival, Kelcie and I met up with Red Thread supporting members, Sound the Ruin and Harp and Lyre, in Urbana, IL and joined them for the last couple nights of their tour to Cornerstone.

This year at Cstone, Red Thread sponsored the Underground Stage. We set up the booth the second day of the festival and it was pretty slow-moving at first.However, there were a lot of supporting bands playing that I was able to finally meet and it was a blessing to get to know them all! We truly have an incredible group of supporters that stand behind us with everything they have. I can’t even describe their passion and kindness towards this cause! It was fun being able to hang out with them all week.

The last two days we saw a drastic change, and it served as proof that effective marketing can make all the difference. I spoke with some good folks at Frontgate media, who were organizing part of the festival, and they gave me some onstage time. I spoke on the mainstage after our buddies in Seabird played and before Blindside came on. We also had Gallen speak for us on the Underground before a few sets and, that night, we more than doubled our sales!

I asked to speak again the next night and they put me on mainstage before the headliner. I also spoke three times on the Underground and was allowed to go up before the Chariot, the big Encore show of the final night, when the tent was packed, and tell people a little about the situation in Nepal. God provided so faithfully and we pulled through with a strong ending. The final day we welcomed 5 new bands on the spot and I got to meet and watch many other supporting bands.

Afterwards, with our car overflowing with bags, we headed for Chicago where two friends departed and my brother and I hung out for a couple more days at a friend’s house. We met up with another friend we had met at the festival and he showed us around the headquarters for Jesus People USA, it was not at all what I expected. They have an incredible community there!

We started our first run on the Van’s Warped Tour the next week. It was so very different from what we were accustomed to at the Christian music festivals. A majority of the girls walked around in bras, literally, and most of the guys’ sported shirts with the f-word somewhere on it in bold letters. The reception was, as you can imagine, quite different for a cause there. We met up with our friends in the Got Your Back movement and their feelings of horror paralleled ours. We didn’t do nearly as well in sales and it was more difficult to talk to people about having compassion.

However, it hit me, when I was talking to a girl with an “I love sex” sticker on her shirt with her jean shorts rolled up and unzipped to reveal her swimsuit, that perhaps the horrors of sex trafficking is the perfect cause to introduce in this kind of setting. I watched as one girl read our flier and, with each sentence that described the graphic reality those girls face, her face creased in disgust and horror. A lot of these girls don’t realize that they are making themselves the objects of exploitation and are degrading themselves and their worth by giving in to the over-exposed image that society tells them is acceptable. Boys would come up to the table with offensively suggestive things written on their chest and would buy a t-shirt that says they are against sex trafficking. Something about it is terribly hypocritical. If anything, I think that the sex industry and the things that happen to these girls is a direct consequence of perverted love in our world today.

We did four days of Warped back to back. We would load in at 9:30 am and work until 6:30 pm when we would load up, eat our only meal of the day, and hit the road. We would drive all night to the next location and sleep a couple hours in the car if we arrived early and then go again. We definately began to question if the tour was worth it, but stayed surprisingly optimistic. Our next festival begins tomorrow in Minnesota. I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces of some bands and non-profits we know and being in a Christian environment again. We join back up with Warped afterwards and I’m still working on booking some more festivals for us after that. I love being on the move, we have been so very blessed by the people we’ve met on the road and have found safe havens in each state we’ve gone to where people have opened their homes to us. Chicago has a particularly special place in my heart, our new friend there was incredible and he taught me how to skateboard which may become a new obsession ha ha.

God is good, and He never ceases to surprise me!