Heartbreakingly, the human rights abuse of slavery is still common in our world today. It’s estimated that between 20 and 30 million people are currently enslaved. The powerful new video, Illumination: A Prayer for Freedom, is part of a campaign in support of a declaration by 25 of the world’s most respected spiritual leaders to end all slavery by 2020. The video is an artistic collaboration between our Founder, Composer and Social Entrepreneur Frank Fitzpatrick and the esteemed Humanitarian Photographer Lisa Kristine, and features the beautiful soprano voice of Recording Artist Sasha Lazard.
Illumination: A Prayer for Freedom is part of a riveting campaign and touring exhibition called ENSLAVED: A Visual Story of Modern Day Slavery, which opened on May 7, 2016 at Harriet Tubman Theater of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. From dilapidated mine shafts to scorching brick ovens, Kristine traveled the world capturing images of people suffering the brutality of slavery, giving viewers a glimpse into the lives, dreams and souls of the enslaved. The marriage of the video and the music helps to create compassion, galvanize us to action, and give us hope as we envision the possibility of freedom for all. The lyrics of Frank’s original song, Illumination, are from the Gayatri mantra, one of the oldest recorded prayers in the history of humankind. The video opened the UK Parliamentary session at the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster on May 31, and was launched by the Vatican, following Pope Francis’ address to the Summit of Judges and Magistrates, on June 3, 2016. The Vatican will host the A Prayer For Freedom on their website as part of the global campaign to end slavery.
The video, Illumination: A Prayer for Freedom, is featured in the touring ENSLAVED Exhibitions, which opened at the Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. The exhibition includes experiential installations, inspirational talks, Lisa Kristine’s photography, and a book collaboration between Kristine and The Dalai Lama and Pope Francis. The exhibition and campaign provide the public with numerous actions they can take to help abolish slavery. In addition to the millions of people who will be connected to the campaign through the video online (including on the Vatican website), thousands of school children across the country will tour the exhibits. 12,000 students visited in the first week alone. The video will also serve as a vehicle to help the many leaders and organizations, who are working tirelessly to end slavery, share their mission and story in a more engaging and empathetic manner. The ultimate goal is to bring freedom to those who are still trapped in slavery and, with that, true freedom to all of us.
Kristine says, “It’s important to remember that these are not images of ‘problems’…They’re images of people.” The ENSLAVED exhibit and Illumination: A Prayer for Freedom video were created to inspire real and lasting change at a local, national and global level. Viewers are encouraged to share the video, open the dialog and spread awareness. People can visit endslaverynow.org to learn immediate and effective ways to get involved and fight against modern-day slavery, ban companies that sell slave-made products, advocate for policy changes, buy freedom for a fellow human being, and support aftercare programs for survivors. For more information on the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and their ENSLAVED exhibition, visit http://enslavedexhibitions.com.
– Pope Francis