Shout Out: Heather Martin, organizer of the Trot Against Trafficking 5K in Park Ridge
Heather Martin and the group behind the annual Trot Against Trafficking 5K are looking to make a difference in the world by working to put an end to human trafficking.
The event takes palce June 2 at Washington Elementary School, 1500 Stewart Ave., Park Ridge.
Martin recently chatted with the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate and shared her experience organizing the annual event. For more information, www.trotagainsttrafficking.com.
Q. What drew you to get involved in organizing the Trot Against Trafficking 5K?
A. The authors of “Half the Sky”, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, visited and spoke at my church on the issue of human trafficking, how there was opportunity to reverse this terrible injustice through education. I was so moved by their work, the stories of those they had helped, and mostly drawn to finding some way to help all the victims that were still suffering. As you may know, human trafficking is a $150 billion industry, the fastest growing criminal enterprise globally and the second biggest crime in the world, just behind the drug trade. I had to do something. I'm a huge runner, and I had an idea to put together my love and passion for running together to support this incredible cause.
Q. Where did you work before getting involved in the Trot Against Trafficking 5K?
A. I still do work at Discover Financial Services as a full time senior manager in our cloud computing practice. I'm working on pursuing my Master of Business Administration, I have three small kids, and also volunteer in the spring as a site coordinator/coach for the Girls on the Run program for our elementary school. So, to say life is busy would be an understatement.
Q. What do you think is the trickiest part of working to help combat modern day slavery?
A. Educating people on what it is and that it can happen to anyone, anywhere. There is still a perception that human trafficking only happens in Third World countries. Chicago currently ranks in the top five for human trafficking crimes. It's happening right, here, in your own backyard.
Q. Do you feel it’s important to know the history of slavery in order to understand modern day slavery?
A. Yes! Human trafficking is truly modern day slavery and the more we can educate, establish early prevention and detection programs, the faster we can end the cycle.
Q. What do you hope this year’s Trot Against Trafficking can accomplish?
A. Most importantly, raising funds for Selah Freedom, who is doing such incredible work right here in the Chicagoland and beyond, but also, I hope this year's Trot can educate, raise awareness, and get more people involved in the cause. If we can all stand together, we can end this.