A dear friend of mine, Tara Teng, is a fiery abolitionist who is using her voice to ignite a passion for justice all around the world. I have mentioned her in several of my posts because I am inspired by her activism and truly blessed by her friendship. When I first met Tara in British Columbia over a year ago, she was about to compete in the Miss Canada pageant. But this girl is way more than a beauty queen. She won the title for 2011, and has not wasted that platform for a second. Don’t believe me? These are just some of the things Tara has been up to this past year:
Worked for the Dalit Freedom Network, a Canadian organization committed to the oppressed Dalits of India and their children, who are at risk for trafficking and exploitation.
Organized Freedom Week in British Columbia to raise awareness about human trafficking.
Visited Thailand and Cambodia, connecting with anti-trafficking organizations on the front lines, showing love to children and impoverished families, and seeing first hand how victims of sex trafficking end up in Asian karaoke bars.
Took a team of abolitionists on the road as the keynote speaker for the “Ignite the Road to Justice” Canada Tour, visiting 10 major cities across the country, connecting communities and mobilizing a network to fight for justice.
Spoke at various schools and churches, catalyzing students to take action.
Completed an internship with MP Joy Smith on Parliament Hill, learning and taking part in the fight against human trafficking on the political front.
Got nominated for Chatelaine Magazine’s Women of the Year Award.
Travelled to South Korea to speak with David Batstone at the Not for Sale Conference.
And trust me, this is just the tip of the iceberg. But it is Tara’s character that I love more than anything that she has accomplished. She is a woman of integrity. She loves people, genuinely.
On her blog she wrote the following:
I walked through years of character development and learning hard life lessons before I ever stepped up to the platform of Miss Canada or Miss British Columbia. I went into the pageant with a clear focus, end human trafficking and the sexual slavery of my sisters around the world. I was intentional in my decisions leading up to the pageant and throughout the pageant. No revealing evening gowns, no fake hair extensions, fake nails or bra inserts and no swimwear competitions…No matter how fierce the competition may be, I refused to alter who I was or water down my message. Winning a title is never worth compromising in your convictions.
Tara has recently announced that she will be competing in another pageant, this one being Miss World Canada. If she wins the competition, she will have the opportunity to compete on a global stage with women from all over the world, for the Miss World Pageant in China. This would give her a platform to raise awareness about human trafficking on a much bigger scale, including an opportunity to speak at the United Nations.
Help Tara Win Miss World Canada!
So, here is where you come in. Tara needs our help! And FAST! Here is what you can do to help Tara win the Canadian title so that she can compete in the Miss World Pageant in China this summer. This will open up many more opportunities for her to speak out against injustice.
Raise some cash on Tara’s behalf.
10% of Tara’s final judging score in the pageant is based on fundraising for Variety-the Children’s Charity, an organization that helps children with special needs around the world. Because she is coming into this late (due to her convictions to NOT wear a swimsuit onstage for a pageant), she has only 3 weeks left to prepare and fundraise while the other girls have been preparing and fundraising since January! If you want to support the work of this great organization and help Tara get one step closer to representing Canada at the Miss World Pageant, you can DONATE ONLINE or contact Tara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vote Tara for the Miss World Canada People’s Choice Award.
Though voting does not affect her score, the winner receives a free trip to las Vegas, which Tara would use to spend time working with anti-trafficking groups there. You can vote once per IP address and once per FB account. That means you can get two votes!
Not only does Tara want to represent Canada, but to also represent victims of human trafficking all around the world.
The Miss World Canada Pageant takes place on May 13. I will keep you posted! In the meantime, please consider supporting Tara through raising some funds and voting. You can follow her blog here. All of us are not called to enter beauty pageants to spread an important message, but let’s support a fellow abolitionist who is!