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2013 Epoch Award Nominee

I feel blown away to be nominated for the 2013 Epoch Award but not only because of the honor, which is immense, but because of the humility which the nomination has made me feel. Awards are funny things. We honor one another and point to accomplishments because we think that people’s ability or vision or contribution is worthy of commendation. But, I am not certain how I got to this place, or if I’m really that deserving of an award.

Saving Innocence was born out of a conversion of sorts. It was like spending my whole life looking at a field of weeds: uncut, monotonously green and without beauty. When suddenly I saw dandelions sprouting everywhere; there was yellow where I had only seen green. The field was different. The world was different and I couldn’t pretend like it was the same anymore.

There are so many voices competing for our time and energy and lives. We are told over and over that the most important things for us to be chasing are prestige and comfort and wealth. When these things are our chief pursuit they often require us to ignore the voice within our heads that tells us something is wrong with the world that encourages those pursuits. To question the pursuit of comfort will cause you discomfort.

We are daily surrounded by vulnerable people. I work with children who have been sexually exploited. Children who have a purpose and are in desperate need of the love of a family. Rather than finding love and encouragement to explore all the gifts they have, they have been told that they are only good for one thing. The whole beauty of their humanity has been reduced to the sexual services they are forced to provide. This is one of the most ugly forms of dehumanization so rampant in our world.

Most of these children are cut off from the love of a family and they are absolutely wasting away for thirst of that love. Legislation helps. Better services help. The more desperate need though, is love. We cannot simply remove children from the people who have exploited them and expect them to flourish. We must begin to find ways to give them a family who will love them, see them, and call their gifts out of them. They need families to rehumanize them.

Sadly, this dehumanization is perpetually around us. It hides from us, or even more disconcertingly, we choose to ignore it. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at time of challenge and controversy.” We have been lulled by our wealth and contentment to believe that we live in a time of comfort and convenience. This is not the case. We live in a time of immense challenge and controversy. We live in a time of incredible injustice. The awareness of the injustice is the first step. It’s seeing yellow where you only used to see unkempt green. Now though, we must act.

I dream of a day when our society can see these hurting children, hidden in plain sight, and dedicate themselves to take action on their behalf. When standing up for the vulnerable, the oppressed, the lonely and forgotten is not something to be acclaimed as special or deserving of reward, but is the norm. When we love others simply because they are human, and because we share the same fragility. When we love because somewhere along the way, we too have a story that is ridden with vulnerability and a desperate need for love. Because it is in this type of loving, that not only do we have the power to set others free, but we find greater love and freedom for ourselves in the journey.

If you would like to join our family and get involved, please email us at info@savinginnocence.org and go here to donate:
http://www.savinginnocence.org/donate/
It is because of people like you, who have eyes to see and hearts that act, that one child is saved – who saves a thousand more.

– Kim Biddle

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