You can run in it, you can bike in it, you can paint in it, you can bake in it, you can play hockey in it… you can do ANYTHING in it. Do you know what it is? It’s a dress! Now after seeing the answer, you might be saying to yourself, “There’s no way that you can do all of that in a dress, and even if you could, why would you want to?” For a lot of people this mindset would shut them down, but for the amazing women behind Dressember, this mindset fires them up and feeds their passion for seeing the end of modern day slavery.
What first began as a style challenge for founder Blythe Hill in 2009 (check out her Ted Talk here), quickly turned into the creation of Dressember and an annual campaign to raise money for anti-human trafficking. Their first official campaign was in December 2013, and they became a 501c3 in early 2014. This shift allowed for one person’s style challenge to transform into an annual campaign where men and women from all over the world wear a dress or tie for the entire month of December to raise awareness and funds for anti-trafficking work. Since 2013, the Dressember campaign has raised over $3M USD. With the money raised during the campaign, they can give large, strategic grants to organizations working with men, women, and children as they endure and try to exit the snares of human trafficking. Dressember has also positioned themselves as an advocacy and awareness organization, empowering and equipping a community of advocates to feel knowledgeable and confident speaking on this topic and spreading the word.
The people behind this organization work day and night to make sure that our society is aware of the issues and injustices that are swept under the rug. Through daily blog posts that feature everything from information about relevant issues to “real talk” pieces that help you feel less alone, the dedicated staff members of Dressember walk with you every step of your advocacy journey. The team behind Dressember makes sure that you’re equipped with resources that help you delve deeper into the issues of human trafficking, and that you receive support to help you find your voice in the fight against injustice.
One thing that makes Dressember so unique is that it unites people from all over the world, from all cultures, and from all walks of life for a single purpose. All of these people share the same dream of seeing a world without slavery where all people are free to live vibrant, autonomous lives. Dressember’s mission is “to equip a community of people to advocate for the dignity of all people, leading to the protection and freedom of millions.” When there are so many people united for one common goal, it becomes easier to advocate for the abolishment of modern day slavery, because you know that you’re not alone. You never feel like you’re out there fighting against injustice alone. There are always people surrounding you, and supporting you, even if you’ve never met those people before.
I have a deep respect and love for Dressember and all that they do. I admit that I’m a little biased towards them, as I am currently an editorial intern for them. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are doing amazing, and much needed work. It’s not always easy to walk the advocacy road, especially when you’re advocating against something as atrocious as human trafficking. It can be easy to get lost in pain and the hurt of it all, to give into the creeping feeling that you’ll never be able to change the world; that you’ll never be able to make a big enough impact to make a difference in someone’s life. But despite it all, the men and women who take part in the annual Dressember campaign, and the women behind the scenes never stop fighting. They never let those lies keep them down; rather they use those lies to fuel their fight. There is a contagious inspiration that permeates the Dressember community. Since everyone is fighting for the same goal, there is no ugly competition between people. Instead, there is only unwavering support. Everyone works to uplift and strengthen the other.
From my first encounter with Dressember three years ago to my first year joining the campaign this past December to my work as an editorial intern, this organization has become very close to my heart. I hope that you are also able to find an organization that shares your heart for justice and that if your interest has been peaked even just a little bit after reading this that you check out Dressember. And maybe even consider joining the campaign this year, you won’t regret it!
P.S. You can check out my previous post about Dressember here!