My name is Angela Owens and I became aware of human trafficking in March 2013 at a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation seminar held at my church, West Park Baptist Church. My best friend and I attended, not knowing what we were getting ourselves into. With tears streaming down our faces, and heartbroken for what we were seeing and hearing, we knew we had to be involved. I am a Knoxville native, passionate UT football fan, and I have been employed by several of Knoxville’s biggest hospitality groups. To understand that slavery still exists is one thing, but to know that it is happening in your hometown is a whole other reality.
The Women’s Ministry leader at West Park Baptist later asked me if I would like to volunteer for the first ever Freedom 4/24 Run 4 Their Lives race in Knoxville. One very rainy Saturday morning in January 2014, my husband and I showed up to do our part. We were race course cheerleaders, and we had a blast! In the weeks to follow, though, I knew we didn’t do enough. We prayed for more opportunity to be involved with trafficking awareness. For the 2015 Run 4 Their Lives race, I joined the planning team. What a passionate group of people I instantly connected with! I was thrilled to be a part of the planning team for the 2016 race as well. In August 2016, I was asked to become the Race Director for the 2017 Run 4 Their Lives race. Prayerfully discussing the opportunity with my husband and other team members, I humbly accepted the responsibility. Race day 2017 was a great day, thanks to my awesome leadership team and more than 100 volunteers with hearts as big as the Sunsphere! Freedom 4/24 and CCAHT/Grow Free Tennessee are the best I have seen at raising awareness about human trafficking, and I am proud to be associated with them both.
I am a bookkeeper in my daily life, which helps as I am the treasurer for a newly formed nonprofit in Knoxville called SUDS4Students. The mission of SUDS4Students is to ensure that middle and high school students who would otherwise have limited or no access to personal care items will have them discreetly provided. We partner with local schools to provide specific personal hygiene items and laundry detergent to middle and high school students who may otherwise not have access to these products. Since its conception in May 2016, SUDS4Students has provided more than 1,000 hygiene products to Knox County students.
When not directing the Run 4 Their Lives race or helping with the SUDS4Students effort, I enjoy being a wife to my wonderful husband Randy, the mother of a Tennessee Wesleyan University student Emylea, a precept bible study member, and an avid collector of all things Wonder Woman.