**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.
I made this art piece in 2010 after a trip to Nicaragua. Going to Nicaragua was my first experience of real poverty, and I was astounded by poverty’s effect on the people who suffered the worst. I saw children who had ceased to dream, create, and imagine over time. And it made sense – why would these children set hopes on dreams that would never come true as far as they had seen?
But on this trip, I saw another astounding thing. Everywhere I went, even in the poorest villages, I saw a few astounding individuals who survived – even thrived – and set their eyes on their birthplaces, hoping that one day they would be able to return and help. In some miraculous manner, these individuals either retained their childlike ability to dream, or they were reignited by someone who stopped to believe in them until they believed in themselves.
I went to Nicaragua as an art teacher. I saw how enabling young women to make something beautiful lit some fire inside of them. They’d hold up a painting or a piece of jewelry, eyes gleaming and say, “Look, I made this! Take a picture!” They wanted to be seen, to be beautiful, to be remembered.
That’s why this piece is called, “see the art (believe) in me.”
I participated in Dressember because issues like injustice, abuse, and poverty have become the most potent in places that are the most difficult to hold onto hope. I think of the sons and daughters born in poverty, brothels, or civil wars – those who don’t know there’s another way of life and who don’t even get a chance to hope.
I dress for them. I chose to put on hope for them.
My husband, Tony, and I are participating in Dressember together because we both felt a tug toward the cause before we were married.
Tony says he decided to wear his ties every day because it was so out of the ordinary for him. Every day, he gets asked why he’s dressed up, and so every day, he gets to tell someone about the cause. He says he always felt like he had no idea what he could do to help or where to start, but participating in Dressember has given him a way.
I am honored to be able to share my Dressember post with a loving and supportive husband who stands beside me in this cause for women.
May we all choose to put on hope for them until they can hope too.
Words by Danica, Pullman, WA