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Fiji Run for justice to take place Saturday

Jessica Ruffin

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Currently, 27 million people are victims to the act of slavery worldwide, a practice that is stronger today than any other point in history, according to the International Justice Mission.

For Phi Gamma Delta fraternity philanthropy chair John Pickering and IJM officers Darby Hess and Tori Luna, this number is unacceptable. They’ve decided to join the fight against slavery in a fundraising event called the Fiji Run.

“Together, the Phi Gam brothers from Mississippi State and Alabama will be running from Starkville to Tuscaloosa, [with] each brother running one or two miles,” Pickering said. “All proceeds from the event will be donated to the International Justice Mission.”

International Justice Mission is an organization that fights against worldwide slavery, sexual exploitation and other violent persecutions. For Pickering, the purpose of the event is solely to promote IJM’s cause and raise money for the organization.

“One of the biggest obstacles to preventing these injustices is ignorance, apathy and a lack of funds,” Pickering said. “Therefore, this event is extremely important for IJM in order to raise awareness and funds to help prevent injustices in the world today.”

Pickering said the brothers of Phi Gamma Delta are passionate about raising awareness for slavery, recognizing the dire need for assistance in the promotion of IJM’s cause. Pickering is also excited that his brothers from another chapter will be joining the Alabama students in the 83-mile run.

“It’s a great way for us to come together as chapters and combine our resources to help the community and the world,” Pickering said.

Tori Luna, the vice president of Alabama’s chapter of IJM, has enjoyed working with the fraternity in the planning process of the event.

“It has been great partnering with Phi Gam. They actually approached [IJM] about the partnership,” Luna said. “I think it’s so cool that men on our campus and Mississippi State’s campus are rising up to fight for the oppressed.”

Luna hopes the event will cause those who weren’t previously involved with IJM to get involved with the organization. For Darby Hess, the president of Alabama’s chapter of IJM, all of the goals for the event lie in the promotion of slavery awareness.

“My goal is for the students to be more aware of IJM and its causes, as well as the passion for something greater than themselves,” Hess said. “[I hope] that we become more than a student organization, that we may become a student movement.”

For more information about the Fiji Run, please visit or email the organization at


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Fiji Run for justice to take place Saturday