President Gordon B. Hinckley once exclaimed that “We are living, my brothers and sisters, in the day of prophecy fulfilled. This is the greatest season in the history of the Church. There never before was a time like this… This is a wonderful time to be alive. It is a wonderful time to be a member of this Church.”
And at the same time, we are living in one of the evilest times in the history of our planet, which is also prophesy fulfilled. Two of the more insidious forms of evil are human trafficking and child abuse. Two organizations that fight these dangerous threats to our youth were highlighted recently at an event titled Music & The Message. Twelve-year-old Childhelp Ambassador and professional singer Rosevelt lead the effort to create this event by securing the talents of pianist, composer and producer William Joseph, and insights of author, speaker and survivor Elizabeth Smart. Held on the Mesa Arts Center stage, the purpose of the evening was to raise awareness of child abuse and human trafficking with musical performances, video presentations, and a keystone address by Ms. Smart.
One of the featured organizations built to combat these dangers was Operation Underground Railroad. OUR exists to eradicate child sex trafficking, and does so by partnering with governments and agencies worldwide. They infiltrate and ultimately breakdown sex trafficking rings, perform rescue operations, arrest buyers and traffickers, raise awareness, and support aftercare for survivors.
Also featured was Childhelp. Founded in 1959 by Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, Childhelp exists to meet the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of abused, neglected and at-risk children. They focus on advocacy, prevention, treatment and community outreach. Childhelp recognizes that child abuse is an American epidemic, with a new abuse referral being made every 10 seconds. The US loses an average of 4-7 children every day to child abuse and neglect. By adulthood, 1 in 8 American children will be confirmed by enforcement agencies as a victim of child abuse.
Fox 10’s “Weather Guy” Cory McClosky, and JesterZ Improv owner Jef Rawls emceed a night of excellent entertainment and profound messages of awareness. Chandler Children’s Choir, American Leadership Academy Queen Creek High School Dance Teams, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College Director of Choral Music and Vocal Studies Joseph Johnston all sang emotionally inspired songs, and gracefully danced across the stage. William Joseph performed on his grand piano, including his patriotic anthem entitled “O, America.” Rosevelt inspired her audience with magnificent stage wear and incredible vocals.
Capping the evening, Elizabeth Smart shared her story of abduction, rescue, survival and triumph. Standing on stage with only a microphone and spotlight, she shared her experience and message of hope for those who’ve suffered as she did. Her message encouraged everyone “when faced with a trial, don’t give up, don’t surrender, and move forward. Because you never know the lives you will be able to touch!”
For more information and to get involved in preventing and stopping child abuse and human trafficking:
Operation Underground Railroad: OURrescue.org