**The following words are written by a guest author- not my own. I'm honored to use my platform as a place for other women and men to share their stories of what freedom means and why they're participating in Dressember. The following is a personal, authentic account.
If you'd like to share your own story, please fill out the form here. There is plenty of space so don't be shy!*
Because the coffee my mom boils in the pot every morning is likely tainted by slave labor from equatorial countries across the globe.
Because when I bought all my clothes for under $20 growing up, I also bought into the capitalist ideal of maximizing profit by minimizing cost, oblivious to the externalized cost of human blood, sweat, and tears.
Because the phone I cradle in the palm of my hand is the product of labor exploitation in factories where the 18 attempted “Foxconn” suicides (and 17 deaths) is a manifestation of the systematic violence that slowly but surely kills hundreds of thousands of workers day-by-day.
Because violence is perpetrated against men, women, and children--whose bodies are abused as commercial commodities. Sex trafficking accounts for two-thirds of the third-largest international crime industry—human trafficking—under which also falls forced labor, debt bondage, child marriage and soldiers, and organ removal.
Because there are 50 million slaves in 167 countries that we know of today (according to the Global Slavery Index) all made in the image of God. Which, by the way, is more than the number of slaves taken captive in the transatlantic slave trade during the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries combined. Slavery is a modern-day issue and is woven into the fabric of our everyday lives.
Because each worker, including the one who created this laptop on which I am now typing and those to whom belong the hands that prepared my meal an hour ago, is first and foremost an irreplaceable human being, a sacred creation, imbued with infinite value and handcrafted design.
Because although these numbers sometimes overwhelm and even paralyze me, each number represents a person. A daughter, a son. A mother, a father. A grandparent. A friend. A lover.
Because every single one is worth fighting for. We need and belong to each other. The moment I forget this is the moment I lose my own humanity.
Because I still don’t have all the answers, but to the best of my ability, I choose not to live my life at the expense of another.
Because I believe each seemingly tiny action has infinite consequences, so I do what I can with the knowledge and resources that I have.
Because wearing a dress may not change the world, but it may cause another person to awaken to the reality of human trafficking. And another. And another.
Because once truth prevails, so will love, justice, and freedom. For once the world knows the truth, it cannot remain unchanged
That is why I dress-ember.
Words by: Gloria, Poughkeepsie, NY.