BUFFALO, N.Y. — The FreeTHEM Walkers, led by Kelly Diane Galloway, walked 902 miles along the route of the Underground Railroad.
They started May 3 in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the FreeTHEM walk ended in Buffalo on Juneteenth, to bring awareness and hopefully an end to human trafficking.
Galloway does not hesitate to highlight that it modern day slavery.
"As an anti-trafficking organization, as a modern day abolitionist, it is my goal that every woman we work with at Project Mona's House, at our outreach center, that they all have their own personal day, their own personal Juneteenth their own day of freedom," Galloway said.
The nationally known Cyntoia Brown-Long joined the walkers outside Buffalo City Hall. She is an overcomer. She served 15 years of a life sentence for killing a man. She was a victim of human trafficking, and she was granted clemency.
"Some of us are also painfully aware that all across the United States women and girls are still being sold," she said. "There are individuals whose bodies are still being treated as goods to be bartered and who have yet to hear the news that freedom exists for them too."
Walkers did the last mile to the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, which was the last stop on the Underground Railroad in Buffalo.
Galloway says the most emotional part of the journey for her was in Warrenton, Virginia — the earliest spot that she can trace her ancestors.
"It was really emotional even now, like just because I don't know — I don't know who they were or where they came from. I'm not able to trace my family back you know 10 or 20 generations," Galloway said.