During the Spring Semester of 2014, eight (8) Helms School of Government students lobbied at Virginia's General Assembly as representatives of Richmond Justice Initiative. Students lobbied for both House and Senate bills dealing with human trafficking, a modern day form of slavery taking place in our Commonwealth.
Mark Obenshain announced the student group members by name to the entire Senate and stated their purpose in raising awareness about human trafficking. Throughout Lobby Day, students had the opportunity to talk with Senator Steve Newman and Delegate Scott Garrett concerning their support of these bills. Most importantly, students shared why this issue is important to them personally and why these bills are necessary. In order to lower the demand for sex and labor trafficking, the government must deter both traffickers and customers by making the consequences and penalties not worth the indecent income. Although students were by no means experts on the law or these bills, they had the opportunity to be a voice for those who have none. Slavery is still alive and growing in our nation, and during this Lobby Day, students reminded our leaders of the importance to preserve both freedom and justice.
Student Liz Chadwick stated “What I love about my school is that our faculty not only encourages us in our future vocation, but they also prepare and mobilize us in the present to step out into whatever profession God has laid before us”. “We do not have to walk across a stage and receive a diploma in order to begin living in obedience to our Lord. If we are courageous enough, we may begin in the present what God has prepared for us in the future."