Meet Madisson Barnett, President of IJM: App State

Name: Madisson Barnett

Hometown: Elizabethton, Tennessee

Year: Senior (Graduating December 2013)

Major:  International and Comparative Politics (Spanish Minor)


Q: So, tell me about IJM.

 A: International Justice Mission is an international human rights agency that works to bring rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. They’re headquartered in Washington, D.C. but have 15 field offices in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. IJM employs investigators, lawyers, and social workers, usually natives of the country they’re doing work in, and partners with local authorities to intervene in individual cases of abuse. Not only do they investigate and prosecute perpetrators, they also employ aftercare professionals to help victims rehabilitate and work to promote rule of law in these developing countries (rule of law = making sure the laws are legitimate and enforced!). As a campus chapter, IJM:App State exists to raise awareness of the realities of modern-day slavery, educate our peers, and fundraise for the International Justice Mission.

Q: What’s your first memory of hearing about IJM?

 A: I first heard of IJM my freshman year at Appalachian, so in either 2009 or 2012 – I can’t remember which semester! A speaker from IJMHQ came to I.G. Greer and a friend invited me. IJM has been on my radar ever since, but I didn’t take action or get involved until the Summer of 2011.

Q: What made you want to get involved?

 A: When I first heard that there are more slaves today than at any other time in history, I was shocked. Sometimes it’s difficult to believe that such horrific things occur, but I never want to be a person who lives in comfortable ignorance of hard realities. As a Christian, I believe that God, by his grace, uses his people to fulfill his eternal purposes. I know that the injustice that IJM works to end break God’s heart. For that reason, I pray they’ll always break my heart. My life may be one tiny dot on the timeline of eternity, but I want to use my time, energy, and whatever skills I may possess in this way: “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17)

Q: Would you consider this one of your passions?

 A: Absolutely. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you’re passionate about – I think a really simple way to define your passions are to ask yourself, “What makes your heart beat fast?” Every time I watch a new documentary, read a new statistic, or learn anything new that deals with issues of violent oppression, it fires me up. I would love to pursue a career in international human rights.