Colorado has always been my home. I grew up in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver. My parents grew up here. My dad’s parents grew up here. So, Denver truly is a deeply ingrained part of who I am today.
And Denver is a special place. We embrace our history as a “cow-town,” but are proud of our growth as city with a vibrant culture of music and art, foodie restaurants, local breweries, and celebrated sports teams. We pair tacos with cliff-divers, airports with fiery-eyed blue stallions, and colorful pianos and cows with a downtown mall. We are the home of famous movers and shakers, from Molly Brown to Scott Carpenter, from John Denver to Madeline Albright, to name only a few. We love this city for its proximity to the mountains. “American the Beautiful” was inspired by a view from Pike’s Peak, and that right there pretty much sums up our home. I love this city, and I’m proud to be a citizen of this colorful state.
However, Denver must claim some other facts that will not instill pride. Denver is among the top cities in the nation with the worst human trafficking injustices and is second only to Los Angeles for the number of underage runaways every year. And because we know that one in three runaways will be approached by a trafficker within 48 hours of running away, these two facts create a vicious cycle of exploitation for our city’s children.
To some degree, Denver is at the mercy of its geographic circumstances. For instance, consider that two interstates connect in Colorado, linking the nation from coast to coast, border to border. This makes our city a key place of transit for traffickers who prowl across our nation’s highways.
But Denver is not a city of people who are easily cowed. Denver is also not a city of the cold and the aloof. We are hospitable and warm, driven by commitment to social justice and equality. We are empathetic.
Enter the Denver Hub of iEmpathize. iEmpathize is here to join Coloradans in reclaiming our state and our children with it. We will not allow our home to be over-run by people who want to commercialize our youth.
The Denver Hub exists to eradicate child exploitation by engaging culture in creative solutions. Good thing ours is a community of the exceptional, the intelligent, and yes, the creative.
Will you join us? Find out how you can be a part of ending exploitation in Denver.
by Candace Joice, Denver Hub Coordinator