During a ribbon cutting for the FreeTHEM Center at Project Mona’s House, founder Kelly Diane Galloway announced that she and her freedom fighting team would be embarking upon a 902-mile walk that would follow the trail of the Underground Railroad. The FreeThem Walk would be a signal – or beacon – for girls and women who were at-risk or facing ordeals involving human trafficking.
The journey, which will take the walkers from Lynchburg, VA to Buffalo, NY, is intended to demonstrate that human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. By walking the trail, the team will physically, emotionally, and symbolically blaze a trail for others to follow, with the goal of leading the way to hope and freedom.
A 2019 report by the State Department identifies the U.S. as one of the world’s worst places for human trafficking.
“Just as our ancestors made their way to Buffalo, with the help of fearless supporters, we are lighting the path to freedom,” Kelly told me. “The last stop is right here in Buffalo. I’m a black woman. I am 35 years old. I am the 3rd generation of my family that was not born into slavery. And today, enslavement is still happening, just in other forms.
“As an abolitionist, it is my job to give every woman her day of freedom. I’m doing this for Henry Box Brown who mailed himself to freedom, and abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman, and Ellen and William Craft who recognized the power of whiteness in a successful bid to escape to freedom. This is Women’s History Month – we are making history. We are telling women all over the nation to find their way to Buffalo NY, where they can rebuild their lives. We will arrive back in Buffalo from our walk during the Juneteenth celebration.”
During the Walk, Kelly’s team will be stopping at key Underground Railroad destinations – paying tribute to the places and people that were critical to the success of the dangerous operation that lit the path to freedom.
The final leg of FreeThem Walk will be aptly timed to coincide with the annual Juneteenth of Buffalo, 2021.
May 3 -June 19, 2021