Yesterday was “Shine a Light on Slavery Day.” My Twitter feed was full of pictures of red x’s on hands and tweets that included #enditmovement or the catchy phrase “I’m in it to #endit.” I don’t have Facebook or Instagram but I’m sure those kinds of things were on there, too. I talked with my students all day about slavery. I showed them this video; we looked up slavery in the dictionary, and had some open, deep conversations about injustice. They drew red “x’s” on their hands. I drew one on my hand.
So far that’s all I’ve done to #endit, though.
Slavery is defined (by Wikipedia- I liked this one the best) as: a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation.
Human slavery can be:
Bonded Labor: someone who is forced to work to pay off a debt.
Forced Labor: being forced to work under threat of punishment
Human Trafficking: the selling of humans for services (usually sexual exploitation)
It could be prostitutes, child or adult laborers. It could take place in a hotel, brothel, sweatshop, or a field. It could involve sexual exploitation, unfair wages, or horrific working conditions. It could be in India or Nashville, Tn.
I’m not going to lie (and please don’t judge me); human slavery is not something that I invest a lot of time, money, or resources into. Fighting that cause is not what gets me out of bed in the mornings. I don’t get fired up thinking about going on raids. I’ve never felt led to find a way to shut down sweatshops and get people fair wages.
However, as I’ve been processing yesterday’s #enditmovement, my thoughts have gone to “so what am I supposed to DO about it?” Because let’s get real, supporting causes is easy when all I have to do is draw on my hand and tweet catchy phrases. And we’re all against human slavery when it comes down to it. But if I’m really “in it to end it” then something has to change, right? Awareness doesn’t change anything. Action does.
So here’s how we are #inittoendit:
Buy fair trade coffee.
Buy clothes that do not come from sweatshops.
This one is a little hard. It takes time and effort to research what we buy. Here is a website a friend tweeted out yesterday that I found super helpful. You can research by industry and see the ratings of each company in terms of how they treat their workers. http://www.free2work.org/
This article also helped me, too. http://www.greenamerica.org/livinggreen/nosweatshops.cfm
Support our friends who are investing their lives for human trafficking.
While the End It Movement yesterday didn’t make me all riled up and ready to fight; it did make me evaluate practical ways that I can make a difference.
If you’re really in it to end it… what are YOU going to do?