For the better part of an hour, 42,000 college students stood in the frigid Atlanta night, patiently waiting for a statue illustrating the fight against human trafficking to be illuminated.
They filled the Georgia International Plaza next to the Georgia Dome stadium and stood in the crisp 40 degree air this week staring up at the 100-foot high hand reaching toward the sky. Just a few minutes after midnight, they lit candles and the lights below the statue came on. The students cheered then started to softly sing. A chant of "FREE-DOM! FREE-DOM!" grew momentum.
The event was one of the final gatherings during the Passion 2012 conference, an annual meeting of 18 to 25 year olds. The students were encouraged to donate money to causes that battle trafficking.
The statue, covered in items made by slaves like clothes, represents many things said the man responsible for coordinating the outreach efforts with the organizations that will receive portions of the more than $2.6 million raised during the four-day conference.