Songs Against Slavery’s passionate co-founders, Grace and Lauren met in high school. As the two set out for separate colleges in Michigan, they did not expect to become co-founders of a non-profit. When the two friends returned home from their first year of college Grace expressed concerns about an article she had read pertaining to sex trafficking. Grace felt called to take action and address the ongoing issue with her passion for music. After consulting with Lauren, Lauren suggested a benefit concert. Not knowing what to expect from their first benefit concert the friends started to plan.
That summer the two college students asked a local bar if they could host a benefit concert. The bar agreed to share their space. Grace and Lauren prayed to raise $1,000 from the benefit concert to donate to a local safe house for girls. They ended up exceeding their goal and raising $4,000 from their first benefit concert!
A week before returning to college, Grace and Lauren researched the process of becoming a non-profit and learned they needed a board of directors, a lawyer, and some financial advice. They felt blessed when everything came together within the week. Songs Against Slavery was born and officially became a non-profit in 2014.
So far Songs Against Slavery has hosted 28 benefit concerts in eight different states, raising over $200,000 to help their fourteen partnering non-profits. For each benefit concert 80% of profits from sponsorships and ticket sales are donated to partnering non-profits. When collaborating with non-profits Songs Against Slavery reviews applications and specifically focuses on the mission and transparency of the non-profit.
While learning about sex trafficking can be a heavy topic, Songs Against Slavery strives to inform people through hope and a call to action. Grace and Lauren felt that through benefit concerts they could inform larger numbers of people about the issue while adding a light heartedness to the event with music. Songs Against Slavery collaborates with artists from a variety of genres.
These two humble co-founders do not claim to be the experts when it comes to human trafficking, but instead choose to surround themselves with experts. At each benefit concert survivors or team members from the partnering non-profit speak and inform the audience about the relevance of human trafficking in today’s society. The audience is left feeling hopeful by learning how they can take action. During some benefit concerts Lauren and Grace have had audience members who resonate with the human trafficking stories and share their emotional experiences. The co-founders make sure to provide resources and have someone who is willing to listen on site at events. For example when there is an event at a high school, counselors are present if a student relates to any of the discussed experiences.
Songs Against Slavery acknowledges that the survivors and team members of partnering non-profits work incredibly hard. Survivors and team members are invited to the concerts and celebrated! Songs Against Slavery wants members of the non-profits to feel loved and appreciated. After events Grace and Lauren talk to survivors directly to ask what the survivors would like to see from Songs Against Slavery and how they can improve.
There are many ways to support Songs Against Slavery and learn about human trafficking. Check out their website and see if they are hosting a benefit concert in your area, purchase merchandise online, or purchase music. As Grace said, “The problem will not end through emotional response, it must be addressed with an educational response. Go learn about it. There are so many incredible resources. We are not asking everybody to start nonprofit, just start the conversation.” Check out Songs Against Slavery's abundance of resources here.
I am so impressed with Songs Against Slavery. These are two strong, passionate ladies who were able to start a successful non-profit while still in college. I think they have created an amazing network and have found a creative way to raise awareness of human trafficking. Check them out!!