UND faculty member Nikki Berg Burin co-organizes Red Sand Project in Grand Forks

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News Article

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College of Arts & Sciences


Public artform project aims to raise awareness about sex trafficking and slavery

WHO: Nikki Berg Burin, assistant professor, UND Dept. of History and Women & Gender Studies Program, College of Arts & Sciences; and Laurie Freid, a recent graduate of UND who is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work at UND.

WHAT: Red Sand Project event to raise awareness about human trafficking

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 14

WHERE: Community participants will gather on the sidewalk in front of Arbor Park on South Third Street to take a stand against modern-day slavery.

About the Red Sand Project:

This is a national effort to raise awareness about human trafficking. This is a participatory artwork launched by the Red Sand Project’s Molly Gochman to shed light on this hidden

crime. Created by Gochman in 2014, the Project was born of her dedication to help reduce demand for modern-day slaves and to alleviate the vulnerabilities that make populations susceptible to being trafficked. Red Sand Project’s sidewalk interventions invite people to find and fill a sidewalk crack with red sand and document their sidewalk transformations on social media using the #RedSandProject hashtag.

“These interventions are reminders that we can’t merely walk over the most marginalized people in our communities — those who fall through the metaphoric cracks,” Grochman said in a release about the project. “Small actions like placing sand in sidewalk cracks can help raise awareness of issues facing those who are overlooked.”

Since the creation of Red Sand Project, more than 150,000 Red Sand toolkits have been requested by people in all 50 of the United States—including the kits sent to UND History faculty member Nikki Berg Burin, whose research focuses on sex trafficking in North Dakota—and in more than 70 countries.

About Red Sand Project Grand Forks:

Nikki Berg Burin is assistant professor of history and women and gender studies at the University of North Dakota and a member of the Advisory Committee for North Dakota’s anti-human trafficking coalition FUSE (Force to End Human Sexual Exploitation). Laurie Freid, a co-organizer of the Red Sand Project event in Grand Forks, is a recent graduate of UND and will pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work at UND this fall.

Over the past year they’ve conducted collaborative research on the history of North Dakotans’ responses to sex trafficking in their communities.

Prior to filling the downtown sidewalks with the symbolic red sand, participants in the Red Sand Project Grand Forks will hear from three special guests from Youthworks in Fargo: Danielle John (Human Trafficking Survivor Leader and Educator), Megan Lundborg (Human Trafficking Case Manager), and Kimberly Larson (Human Trafficking Host Home Coordinator).

Participants are invited to enjoy conversation and complimentary refreshments back at Arbor Park immediately following the sidewalk intervention. Those who are unable to attend the event on July 14, but would still like to participate, are welcome to stop by the organizers’ table at the Town Square Farmer’s Market on Saturday, July 16 to pick up a free sand kit.

The Red Sand Project in Grand Forks is sponsored by The Toasted Frog, Amazing Grains Food Co-op, and Archives Coffee House.