#Slaverystillexists. What do you think of when you look at this hashtag? You may have already seen it going around, especially on Facebook. This hashtag has been used by the 24 Hour Race team to promote an upcoming race to be held in Seoul. The 24 Hour Race, though competitive and energy-consuming, is the platform in which many of our fellow KISians as well as students from other international schools have chosen to call attention upon an ongoing issue: modern slavery.
An estimated 45 million people are working even at this very moment as slaves, and approximately 26% of those who are enslaved are minors. What’s even more shocking is that slaves exist even in South Korea, with a recorded number of 93,700. Children who are as young as us – or even younger, presumingly – are involved in detrimental, ongoing dilemmas such as human trafficking and sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is the most common type of human trafficking, which is when human beings are traded for the purpose of forced labor, commercial sexual exploitation, or sexual slavery, in this case. The world we live in is developing every single day, but such inhumane problems only hinder our society from becoming that which is fair and civil.
This is where the 24 Hour Race comes in. The event will take place from September 12th to the 13th, at Cheonggye Plaza. Participating students will run in teams of 8 in order to raise awareness of modern-day slavery. The race is one which will test the runners’ endurance, where they will be able to experience the pain that children as young as them may be encountering due to illegal human trafficking. Because the team members take turns while running this race, runners standing by will be able to watch various performances (hint: KIS’s very own Blackout will be dancing on stage!) as well as enjoy food served by Lagniappe.
Now we know all about what’s going to happen on the day of the race, and it’s phenomenal. But what’s more amazing is how the race came to life. The 24 Hour Race is an all students organized event, with numerous international schools collaborating – as mentioned before. To dig deep into the efforts made backstage, Blueprint reached out to Logistics Director, Grace Kim (‘17).
BP: What is your job within the 24 Hour Race team?
G: Basically, I’m the events and logistics director. This means that I get the venue, I get the stage, and I get the entertainment. Basically, whatever happens that day is up to me. This is both intimidating but extra exciting at the same time, because with my efforts, I can make this race something no one has ever seen before. I also have my team, or my crew, to work with, and we all work together to make the whole thing possible.
BP: Why did you decide to join the 24 Hour Race team?
G: I’ve been on the KIS cross country team for three years, and it’s my fourth and last year this year. Because I’ve already been so involved in running, I thought the race would be a nice addition to what I do because they’re relatable with a common theme. I also thought this would be a really cool and unique volunteer experience because I hadn’t heard of anything like it before.
BP: What did you learn through being a part of the 24 Hour Race team, and how have you grown?
G: I learned that there are difficulties when it comes to working with others. It’s hard to grab someone’s attention and really get them to work. I think it comes from timely laziness, and I’ve also been affected by it too. And also, this is such a big-scale event, that it’s extra difficult for only students to be organizing everything. But I want everybody to know that it’s still possible, because look at where we are now! I gained so many skills like communication skills, and I learned to be more demanding, and to practice leadership skills. I think I’ve grown to become a person who can take action.
You’ve seen it all! All the way from what will be happening on the day of the 24 Hour Race, to the behind the scenes that made this race possible. The 24 Hour Race is still looking for individuals who are willing to join this incredible movement, either as a participant or a volunteer. You, yes you, can sign up as a team leader here, or volunteer to help run the race here. There’s also time before the race hits the maximum of 20 teams, so gather friends and join in on this campaign. It may be a small step you’re taking, but as a whole, it will culminate into becoming one large step towards a slavery-free world.
– Leona Maruyama (’17)
Featured Image: 24 Hour Race