Free the Slaves club helps raise awareness for human trafficking


Graphic courtesy of @wchsfreetheslaves on Instagram

An infographic posted by the Free the Slaves Club Instagram advertsing their partnership with Solidarity Masks and displaying the houndstooth pattern of the “Free the Slaves” masks.

By Olivia Yasharoff, Arts Editor

While most WCHS clubs raise money by holding Chipotle fundraisers, the Free the Slaves club sets itself apart by partnering with the student-run, non-profit Solidarity Masks to raise money and awareness for human trafficking.

Carolina Noguera has been a member of the Free the Slaves club at WCHS since her freshman year. During the first club meeting this year she came up with an idea to create a mask fundraiser for the club, partnering with her own non-profit organization called Solidarity Masks. 

“[Noguera] mentioned that it would be cool to do this as a fundraiser and we all really liked the idea,” club president Juli Magud said. “It also makes perfect sense since being in a pandemic, everyone could use a good quality mask.” 

Magud works to organize fundraisers and awareness campaigns along with co-officers Eleanor Raab, Injoo Lee, Carolina Noguera and teacher sponsor Ms. McEvoy. 

“Free the Slaves is a non-profit organization that uses money to send lawyers, law enforcement, etc. to countries or areas where human trafficking is prevalent,” Magud said. “As a club, our goal is to raise awareness of the very persistent issue of human trafficking and raise money to help stop it.”

Solidarity Masks has a section on their website called “Pause for the Cause” where they offer masks that support different movements such as Black Lives Matter and Pride, with profits going towards the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the ACLU, and now, the Free the Slaves organization.

“We started our ‘Pause for the Cause’ line back in June when the Black Lives Matter protests started,” Noguera said. “After seeing everything that was happening we knew we wanted to do something to help, and came up with BLM masks and donating 100% of profits from those masks to the NAACP LDF.” 

So far, the club has raised about $350 from selling around 30 Free the Slaves masks, which are a black and white houndstooth pattern. The mask fundraiser is currently scheduled to last until Mar. 3, but the club hopes to extend the date to keep raising money.

“[Solidarity Masks] is always looking for ways to help the community and connecting to school clubs is definitely a great way to do this,” Noguera said. “We’re open to working with other clubs in the future, but we’re not sure when this will be since we’re going to wait until the Free the Slaves campaign ends before adding anymore organizations. We’d love to help as many people as possible. ”

For those interested in contributing to the club, whether it be by joining or buying a mask from the fundraiser, be sure to look up their Instagram @wchsfreetheslaves or join their Google Classroom with the code ypzjwdh.

“As of now, the mask fundraiser is still going but we are working on more fundraisers in the future,” Magud said. “We are always open to new ideas. Keep an eye out for information on the Instagram and Google Classroom! It is also super helpful to attend meetings. We don’t have very many and they are super short.”