Our mission is to educate and empower youth to use their gifts and talents to fight against human trafficking and to educate and equip the public with the knowledge to do the same.
Who We Are: Our Story
It started when I was driving home from teaching dance one evening. An idea dropped into my head – an idea that could only have come from God. For years I had been learning about human trafficking and was heartbroken over it but was left asking the question – “What could I really do?” I was not the kind of person who would be kicking in brothel doors. I was just a small-town Oklahoma girl. But then came this idea – I might not be the one breaking down doors, but I could use my gifts to support those who were. What if I used dance to fight human trafficking? And more than that, I could share this passion, this burden, and need for change with my students. The average age of a trafficking victim internationally at that time was twelve – the same age or younger than many of my students. What if I could also provide young dancers a way to fight the injustices and to stand in the gap for those around the world who couldn’t stand up for themselves?
Thus, our first Dance-a-thon was born. In the spring of 2014, we held our first “Dance-a-thon to End Human Trafficking.” We started small and learned what worked and what didn’t. With each year we’ve learned more and more. In 2016, we added the Dance for Freedom Showcase, which enables us to reach the public with our message and inspire more people to join the cause of freedom. I stand in awe every year with where we are, how the Lord has allowed me to share my passion, and how we are raising up a new generation of abolitionists!
I knew from the beginning I didn’t want to start another anti-human trafficking organization, as there are many amazing ones doing more (and doing it better) than we ever could. I wanted to choose one of these organizations every year, introduce our participants and audience to it, and provide support with our donations and proceeds. To date, we have raised thousands of dollars for a variety of anti-human trafficking organizations and provided education to hundreds of people.
Beginning in 2018, we expanded the Dance for Freedom Foundation to be its own 501(c)(3) public charity in order to reach more people and have more opportunities. However, we are still committed to sending all of our proceeds to our Abolition Partners and we strive to keep our overhead as low as possible. This expansion has enabled us this year, 2020, to host a second Dance for Freedom event in Midwest City. We are very grateful for all the volunteers, corporate sponsors, and business and church partnerships that make this possible.
I am so excited for the next chapter! I hope that you will join us in the fight to change the world!
Together in Freedom,
Janiece Montgomery, Executive Director
What We Do: Our Approach
The annual Dance for Freedom is a two-part event. The first part is an all-day Dance-a-thon which is open to dancers ages 12 and up. During this daylong event, dancers will learn combinations and choreography in a variety of dance styles, ranging from Jazz, Tap, and Ballet to Line Dancing and Musical Theatre, taught by highly-qualified dance instructors. Dancers will participate in an education portion of the day devoted to learning about the issues of human trafficking and what they can do to stop it. Attending the event is a great first step for dancers to take a stand and join the fight!
The second part is the Dance for Freedom Showcase, which is held in the evening. All the Dance-a-thon dancers will have the opportunity to perform the choreography learned during the Dance-a-thon, as well as perform other dances they would like to bring to the event. The showcase is open to the public and also includes an education portion so the audience leaves equipped with new information and a desire to help end modern day slavery.
Each year we choose to financially support an Abolition Partner – an established 501(c)(3) anti-human trafficking organization. All proceeds and donations during the Dance-a-thon and the Dance for Freedom Showcase go directly to our Abolition Partner.
Why We Do It: Our Passion
While the statistics vary anywhere from 21 to 50 million, the undeniable truth is there are millions of people in slavery today – more than any other time in human history. There has never been more of a need for us to stand up for our oppressed and enslaved brothers and sisters and fight for an end to this evil. Human trafficking is on the rise, but so is the cry for freedom. By supporting local and global organizations on the ground, we can do our part to bring freedom, restoration, aftercare, and advocacy to the millions of men, women, and children who cannot fight for themselves. By educating our community, we can bring awareness to the issues, inspire more involvement in the cause, and equip teens and parents with information to protect themselves and others.
We will join the cry for freedom and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. We will use our gifts, our talents, and our resources to help bring an end to modern day slavery. We are in it to end it! We believe the story must change! We will fight until all are free! We will dance to break the chains!