Spoken word pieces were done to encourage students to find identity in Christ. Photo By: Bianca Ontiveros

Free the Captives hosted a night of poetry and song Thursday on Trinity Lawn to highlight the issue of sex trafficking.

Throughout the open-mic night, students performed spoken-word pieces, poems and songs on finding love, identity and forgiveness through God and relationships. Some students wrote songs specifically for the event.

Members of the club, which started just last year, designate its meetings and their time to raising awareness of sex trafficking and to doing service projects in local Los Angeles. This is their second event of the year. Their first event featured a guest speaker who talked about the issue.

Students would occasionally pause during performances to express personal thoughts and encourage involvement from others.

Senior psychology major Arielle Wilburn performed a spoken-word piece about human trafficking with senior English major Ana Camacho. Both used to be on the slam team which is a team that travels and competes preforming spoken word and poetry against other schools and people.

They had both previously performed the work at another event, but Wilburn and Camacho felt this was not a piece that could only be performed once. They decided this open mic night would be the perfect event to perform the piece again and connect the slam team with Free the Captives.


Students watch as performers express their talents for a positive cause. Photo by: Bianca Ontiveros

When Free the Captives started, student leaders wanted to raise awareness about human trafficking, which is a local Los Angeles area as well as a global issue.

“We just really feel that raising awareness around a campus such as Azusa Pacific is such a vital opportunity for students to recognize the social injustice of human trafficking,” said sophomore Christian ministries major Josh Holm, president and one of the founders of Free the Captives.

The open-mic night had a set line of performers in addition to allowing audience members to freely express what was on their hearts. Some chose to free-style spoken word and others spontaneously read poetry.

“We put on this event to bring out passionate student performers who want to do just that, bring out the injustice and this cause,” said Holm.

Junior psychology major Tayler Owings said the event was important in order to educate students on the prevalence of human trafficking both globally and in the U.S.

“I love that this is such a prevalent thing of the Lord and that he does set the captives free and this event clearly shows that,” said Owings. “Even if they [students] are not going to go out into the world and change it, at least their hearts are softened to this issue and their perception changes, so when they come against this issue they are more open to the Holy Spirit speaking to them to make a difference.”