Students organize Tiny Hands, Big Hearts sale

Art is a commodity. Young girls are not. Union College's Peace and Social Justice Club, in conjunction with Union's chapter of Amnesty International, invites the Lincoln community to help put an end to slavery by buying art on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 1-3 p.m. Held in the lobby of Engel Hall on the Union College campus, the Tiny Hands, Big Hearts sale will benefit Tiny Hands International, a Lincoln-based organization dedicated to stopping human trafficking.

The students were inspired to support Tiny Hands after representatives spoke about the organization's mission to help enslaved girls during a chapel service at the college. Amanda Clark, president of the Peace and Social Justice club, said seeing photos of just a few of the thousands of little girls sold to brothels each year made the cause personal.

“I thought of my new nieces. I thought of my little sister,” said Clark, a senior graphic design major. “I started to think of all of the young women I know and about them being forced into something like that.” She knew she had to do something. Unsure what sort of impact a single college student could make, inspiration struck during a conversation with a friend and fellow artist.

“Abner [Aguilar] mentioned that he had some paintings that haven’t sold yet and he wanted to donate their proceeds to Tiny Hands,” said Clark. “It was then that I thought, ‘why not get as many people involved as possible?’”

Clark began enlisting help from other excited Union College students. “It’s not everyday that convenient holiday shopping becomes a literal life saver,” she explained.

During November’s downtown art walk, Clark discovered her passion was catching. The Lincoln and Omaha artists she spoke with were just as excited about the benefit sale. By the end of the evening, Clark had a stack of business cards and even a few works in hand to sell. At Studio 7 in the Parrish Project, Chris Schleich pointed to her pieces lining the gallery walls and told Clark to "take any painting you want."

Although the community response has been supportive, Clark is still looking for more artists to become involved with the event. “Lincoln has a ton of creative and artistic people,” she said. “We want a range of work and an opportunity for everyone to join in: professional artists, students or friends who like to craft together."

Excited about the event, Clark doesn’t let the reason behind it go unnoticed.  “Slavery still exists.” Clark said “But it doesn’t have to.” She thinks about the little girls from Nepal who are taken to India and forced to have sex with 25-40 men each day. Clark thinks about the 650 young women rescued and intercepted by Tiny Hands’ Nepali and Indian boarder patrol in the last six months. She knows the arts and crafts sale can help Tiny Hands save even more girls.

Engel Hall is located on the corner of 48th St. and Bancroft Ave on the campus of Union College. If you would like to donate art to be included in the sale, contact psjclub [at] Visit the Tiny Hands International Web site to learn more about how to help stop human trafficking.