FLORENCE, Ala — Trinda Owens has made it her mission to educate youth on preventing injustice.
She started the iSTAND Campaign after hearing about the murder of 47-year-old James Craig Anderson in 2011 at the hands of a group of teenagers. A former youth pastor, Owens now speaks at events and churches where she encourages young people to take a stand for what’s right, to fight injustice, and to be an example for their peers.
“It was in my youth where I made a lot of bad decisions, and so I’m able to look back now, and I don’t want these young people to make some of the same mistakes I made,” Owens said. “It’s just a passion and it’s a gift I believe that God has given me to even be able to gel and connect and engage with youth.”
Owens said it’s important to reach teens at that young age because they can be vulnerable and influenced negatively by peer pressure.
“Some of them don’t even understand; a lot of their values and believes are shaped by their parents or the people around them and sometimes those values and believes were wrong,” Owens said.
Owens describes it as a “generational curse.”
“And somebody has to break it,” Owens said. “If I can reach the youth now and get them to understand the importance that everybody should be treated with human worth and with dignity, everybody—we all are the family of God.”
Owens said the biggest issue the campaign tackles is bullying. For that, she created a program called BAE or Bullying Affects Everybody.
“Be kind, act respectful, express compassion,” Owens said. “I go in and I talk about those different values; we talk about choices, we talk about racism, we talk about purpose, why we’re really here, what we’re called to do—any issue that the young people want to talk about, I’ll talk about it. I’ll create a skit about it, I’ll create a song about it, and then we’ll go out and try to reach others about that.”
Owens said anyone wanting more information about the iSTAND Campaign can connect with her on the Facebook page.