Slavery is more than just chains and dirty rooms and what’s shown on the news. It touches more than only people in distant countries and far off lands. Slavery affects each one of us in nearly every area of our lives. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear to the cars we drive to the phones we use. We like to pretend that we abolished slavery decades ago, but the truth is that it has woven its self into the very fabric of our society. And to break those chains and release the captives, we need to unravel this tapestry that we’ve created as a society that justifies slavery through modern convenience.
You don’t have to be Mother Teresa to change the world. There are a million little things that you can do that can make a massive impact on the lives of those around you and those across the globe. Advocating for human rights and freedoms isn’t a onetime thing; it’s more than putting on a dress for 31 days and asking people for money. When we advocate for freedom from bondage for every single person, we can’t just talk the talk. We need to walk the walk. That might mean sacrificing good deals and cheap clothes so that you know who made your clothes, if they were paid a living wage, and if they were made in an ethical work environment. A great place to start is by finding out what your slavery footprint is, and from there you can begin to create a game plan for little changes you can make that will lead to a big difference in the lives of people all around the world.
Everyday advocacy is about the little things: conversations with your cashier or neighbour, choosing to shop second hand or purchase from fair trade companies, volunteering at organizations in your community that are fighting for freedom, and adopting a mindset that seeks the freedom of others first and our own comfort second. Participating in a campaign such as Dressember is a fantastic way to get involved in the abolition movement whether it’s your first time or you’re a veteran advocate. Wearing a dress or tie for a whole month is a brilliant conversation starter, and being a part of a community with the same goal as you is both encouraging and empowering. However, I want to encourage you not to get caught up in the glitz and glam of it all. Advocating is more than fancy dresses and professional photoshoots, it’s having uncomfortable and sometimes downright hard conversations. It’s trying to convince people that what you’re doing does matter, and it’s getting down in the trenches and helping to fight alongside other abolitionists.
The biggest thing is not to get overwhelmed by the scope of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. When we look at the statistics and the news stories and the movies it can be effortless to feel like nothing we do will ever be enough to make a change. But if we can tear our eyes away from the screens long enough we’ll realize that even one conversation can save someone’s life. What you do in your everyday walking around life is not only necessary, it can change the world. It might seem like you’re facing impossible odds, but if you take a moment to look around you you’ll see that you’re not alone. If each of us focuses on the little things we can do to advocate for the freedom of others, together we can begin to pull apart the lie that slavery has always existed and always will. Together we can begin to weave a new tapestry where everyone has control over the tread that they add. Abolition and advocacy start with us, and they start today.