And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.'
- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961
Hello, my name is George Aranda. I am a United States Veteran. You may have recently seen me on social media, promoting my ride across Texas, Cycling for Freedom. As a veteran, I have protected the freedoms that we so proudly enjoy in this country. As of recently, I have become aware of a heinous crime that exists in our country, in our state, and most surprisingly - in our own backyards. For many years, I believed that human trafficking existed in other countries....but not in ours. As I came to work closely with the A21 Freedom Chasers, and becoming one myself, I have become aware of this modern day fight for slavery. Knowing that we have more humans in slavery today, than ever before, is a thought that makes me cringe. For years, I was satisfied with the thought of being a veteran, and having served my country in previous years.
As an A21 Freedom Chaser, I am continuing the fight for freedom. I am now a voice for the voiceless. Why? Why not. As an American citizen, as a U.S. Veteran, as a human being- I cannot ignore the startling statistics. I can not sit silently while others take this fight on. For my family, for your family - my fight for freedom continues.
Follow along with me during this journey as I share my thoughts with you:
Today, 23 July 2016, I arrived in El Paso TX on the eve of Cycling for Freedom. This journey has consisted of several months of training, preparation and plenty of sleepless nights.
Here in El Paso, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Cynthia Horton and Sarah Romero from Paso Del Norte Center for Hope. They greeted me with praise for the journey that lay ahead, as we had a great conversation on the progress that El Paso is making in the battle against human trafficking.
It is amazing to hear the number of service organizations that have partnered with them to take on this battle. The dedication Cynthia and Sarah have towards this cause is evident in their conversation, as they share stories of success. Witnessing their passion provided me with even more fuel and determination to bring awareness, and an end, to modern day slavery.
I am honored and humbled to be on a mission that will help bring freedom back to those who are a victim of these horrific crimes.