Dancing Circles Around Injustice
Choreographer uses talent to raise funds for education.
God doesn’t call artists.
At least that’s what Marquita Burke-De Jesus thought a few years ago. She was a professional dancer and a mother of two little daughters. While she had known about human trafficking, she didn’t believe God could use her to make a difference.
That was until she saw the issue for herself.
Marquita was invited to Cambodia to work with an organization that specifically needed a choreographer for dance therapy. While there, she met and danced with women and girls who were overcoming horrible abuse. Marquita was shaken. When she got home, she vowed to be forever different and promised the next year of her life to do what she could every day to fight human trafficking.
“It’s been the best year of my life,” Marquita said. She founded her own nonprofit—the Foundation for Justice for All—which provides practical ways for ordinary Americans to move from inaction to action regarding human trafficking. She also began speaking out against gender-based violence and domestic abuse.
Along the way, she connected with Hagar.
“A lot of NGOs had vocational training initiatives like learning to make jewelry or stationary or how to do hair and make-up. But what about education so girls can become their own advocates?” Marquita wondered.
When she learned about Hagar’s Community Learning Center (CLC) in Cambodia, she was thrilled. She shared Hagar’s story wherever she went, starting with the 40 dancers at her studio. Immediately, the girls began to take action. They taught classes, designed shoes, and even danced at the mall to help raise money for CLC. In one year, they raised nearly $3,500.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from—what you’re good at or not good at. You have a voice,” Marquita said. “Whether we’re five or 65, we can all make a difference!”
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