Slow Fashion

Re-Fashion: Clothing Swap and New Item

You know that long list of things we want to do and barely get to? For me, it’s sewing projects but more specifically, re-fashion projects. Re-fashion means taking clothing items and turning it into a new item. I’ve done this with a cardigan a while back and been meaning to do a few re-fashion projects but I ended up not getting to it. This time around I decided to refashion a maxi dress that was a size L that I did not have a photo of the original because I was not planning on creating a blog post for the project. The dress was divided into three pieces and I unpicked all three pieces along with the elastic and sewed the top and middle part back without the elastic.

I realize I still had so more work on this project and decided to start photographing my process at this point.

Steps:

  1. I laid out the dress on my measuring board to see how much I was going to be cut off. (I folded in the seam to have a better idea)
  2. .Cutting time!
  3. I cut about an inch or so off both sides of the dress.
  4. I cut across the top and bottom pieces. I didn’t measure how much I cut off from the top piece but I folded in the top piece and eyeball how much I felt was enough. (This is the remaining fabric after I cut the top piece)
  5. I folded in the seam by about a half inch so I can estimate how much to remove.
  6. Used my serger on the long and wide side of the material (did this six times).
  7.  Sewed the back and front of the top part.
  8. Sewed the back and front of the bottom part
  9. Sewed the top and bottom together
  10. The elastic was next. I did wear the shirt without adding the elastic first because I was longing to wear something I made out in public. I had the option of leaving it looser but I wanted the shirt to have a final touch.
    • This was my first time sewing an elastic band since my high school fashion design class (8 years ago!) I was nervous and saw an online tutorial on how to do it first.
    • The way I did it was I took the electric piece and put it around my waist to see how tight I wanted it to be. I then pinned the band around the shirt and slowly sewed over it.

Finish project!!!!

My favorite part about wearing this shirt is letting people know I made this from a maxi-dress 😉

Slow Fashion, Uncategorized

First Month of No New Clothes Challenge.

My thoughts, research, and one minor new item in my closet. 

One thing I personally like to do is participate in a challenge. I challenge myself to eat plant-based and avoid sugar for a period of time (normally a month). I’ve also given up listening to music and social media for spiritual reasons. Giving up certain things and learning to live without them can bring some clarity and helps you to refocus on some things. For three months starting June 2018, I decided to not purchase any new clothing items.

This challenge was started by Fashion for Good, a company that is using their platform to promote good fashion practices. On their website they talk about the 5 Goods: Good Materials, Good Economy, Good Energy, Good Water and Good Lives. For the summer months, they challenge consumers to not pay new clothing items. No new first-hand clothing; use up what you have, borrow, swap, thrift, and refashion.

This challenge was not the hardest to participant in because it’s easy to not buy new clothes. The times I was upset about participating in this challenge was when some of my favorite Fair Trade clothing companies were having a special holiday sale. I did buy one new item from Susi Studio. Susi Studio is a vegan shoe company that makes their shoes from recycled water bottles and their shoes retail for $115-$135. They had a rare sale were a few items were only $24 and let me repeat that.

$135 PAIRS OF SHOES FOR $24!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(These shoes were $135)

It was a no-brainer I had to get these pair of shoes. I only own one other pair and I got them for around $40 because it was a one-day sale for Cyber Monday.

Some reading and research: 

During this no new clothes challenge, I promise myself to study more on fast fashion and the impact it has by reading Overdress: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline. In Cline’s book, she travels to the Dominican Republic to check out Alta Gracia, a garment factory owned and operated by an American company called Knights Apparel a producer of college logo clothing sold at universities. I did look up Knight Apparel and to see if they have references to their ethics and the website wasn’t allowing me to go anywhere but the homepage. Cline did say that “Knight supports the factory’s labor union and Worker Rights Consortium” (pg. 140).

  • Side note: I look up Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) and discovered it’s an independent labor rights monitoring organization to combat sweatshops and protect workers who work in garment factories and produce others goods. The organization was founded in 2000 when university administrators, students, and international labor rights experts discovered the truth of overseas factory workers. They wanted something better for clothing items that bear any university logo. WRC had 44 universities supports since starting and now they work 190 universities and are still growing! 🙂

Cline asks the production manager, Gemma Castro if huge brands such as Gap, Old Navy, American Eagle, and Calvin Klein would order from Alta Gracia’s. Castro said, “I don’t think so. This is a very different factory” (pg. 141). Castro said that big brands are strict about health and safety codes, local labor, and wage laws but these brands do not pay more than the legal minimum for the country they are in. “And most countries minimum wage is not enough for people to live decently.” (pg. 141).  This fact I knew for a while now. I knew big brands were using sweatshops and factories overseas because they want to pay the factory workers the legal but lowest cost possible. Sadly these companies are not held responsible for the conditions of the workers because they are far removed from the factory workers.

Big brand companies do send auditors to monitor the working condition of overseas factories but I personally believe it’s to help the individual company look like they are trying and from more research, I’m not totally wrong. According to Dara O’ Rourke (global supply chain expert at the University of California, Berkeley) said little has improved in monitoring factories overseas within the past 20 years. It’s an auditors job to check the safety of the factories and know the reports of employees being harassed.  Due to the pressures of monitoring many factories, auditors are checking off the boxes and ensuring the building is safe but are not fully aware of what is happening to the employees.

Conclusion

As I continue with my second month of this no new clothing challenge, I want to explode on my knowledge on understanding how factory workers are being treated, the harm fast fashion has on the environment, and also do some refashion projects to freshen up my wardrobe. Also, I will be sending some old clothing pieces to ThredUp and be looking into Postmark. Will I try to find some new second-hand goodies from a thrift store? Maybe… for now I will be wearing what I have, give away what I don’t want, and refashion what I want to keep. Here’s to a new month!

References:

Overdress: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline

Fashion For Good: What Is Good? https://fashionforgood.com/who-we-are/what-is-good/

Workers Rights Consortium https://www.workersrights.org/

Fast and Flawed Inspections of Factories Abroad by By Stephanie Clifford and Steven Greenhouse.

Clean Beauty, Product Highlight

Meow Meow Tweet! Shampoo Bar Review and then Some

I may have found my new favorite way to wash my hair. If you remember my DIY shampoo tutorial, I said I was willing to try some natural shampoo products and review it. One form of shampooing your hair I was fearful of was a shampoo bar. I knew about shampoo bars from Lush and I was uninterested because Lush was the only company I knew that had shampoo bars and I was skeptical if it was all natural (Lush has been called out for not being 100% all natural). As I discovered more about “zero waste” and using natural beauty products, a shampoo bar was playing in my head a little more. Then one day I finally decided to buy the shampoo bar that was being sold at PackageFreeShop.com- Meow Meow Tweet Rosemary Avocado shampoo bar.

What is Meow Meow Tweet mission?

Meow Meow Tweet values creating their goodies as safe and natural as possible to help individuals and the environment’s health. They use a lot of organic and safe ingredients and some of which are actually Fair Trade. If you buy their products from their website, they use as little plastic and packaging as possible. They also donate to a good number of organizations that are helping the environment, which you can look up on their website.

What’s in their shampoo bar?

The Ingredients List:

  • Aqua (water)
  • Cocosnifra oil (Coconut oil that is Fair Trade certified :)!!!)
  • Ole
  • Europea Fruit Oil (Olives)
  • Ricinus Communis Seed Oil (Castor)
  • Persia Gratissima Oil (Avocado)
  • Citrus Sinensis Peel Oil (Orange)
  • Rosmarinus Officinalis Oil (Rosemary)
  • Aloe Barbadersis Lead (Aloe Vera)
  • Humulus Lupulus Flower (Hop)
  • Sodium Hydroxide

The only ingredient worth looking up was sodium hydroxide. So what is sodium hydroxide?

Sodium hydroxide (some know as lye) is an ingredient that creates the foaminess and is found in most cleansing products such as liquid face powders, soaps, shampoos, shaving soaps, and creams.

Is it safe?

As long as you are not eating it than for the most part, yes. One side effect of sodium hydroxide is dermatitis of the scape. If you inhale it, it can cause lung damage and getting sodium hydroxide into your eyes can cause blindness (I’m just summarizing my research. I’m no scientist on this blog). The EU did calm that only professionals should use this ingredient.

Should I risk using this shampoo then?

The good news is that after writing down the ingredient list from PackFreeShop.com, and being informed by a couple of soap makers, there isn’t any sodium hydroxide in the final product of soap. All soap is made with lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) and with the oils from the shampoo bar, the process of saponification happens to create the final product being soap! There is no lye in the soap itself and according to my helpful app ThinkDirty, it gave sodium hydroxide a rating of 2!

(Couldn’t find the exact shampoo bar I reviewed but Meow Meow Tweet products were getting an average rating of 2)

Straight up sodium hydroxide is harmful, and soap makers advice using gloves when handling it. When I did dig deeper on this ingredient and how soap makers use it, I discovered it safe and really, soap without lye is impossible.

So how do you use a shampoo bar?

Some may think it is a silly question to ask how do you use a shampoo bar but I was thinking the same thing before I got a shampoo bar. Lauren Singer (Trash is for Tossers blogger; the lady with the 5 years worth of trash in one mason jar) said in a video the way to use a shampoo bar is to rub the bar on your scalp and as it becomes foamy to just rub the rest of it in your hair.

Best way to use the shampoo bar

I tried the method Singer suggested and it was only good if I had a lot of conditioner in my hair before washing it off.

FYI: using no condition will also dry out your hair. My first use of the bar proved that.

The best way to use the shampoo bar is to have some conditioner in your hair and rub some of the shampoo in your hands and then to apply it to your hair. Using conditioner before shampoo is also known as washing your hair backward.

What is washing your hair backward?

The first time I heard about washing your hair backward was from No More Dirty Looks, written by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt. I started to do this and it has made a difference in my hair softness. Think about putting lotion on your hands that are not dry. Your hands will feel greasy and after washing your hands they are clean and feel soft, same concept with washing your hair backward.

Overall experience

After some thought into using a shampoo bar, I was excited to try my first shampoo bar that was promoted by a zero-waste fellow and I would recommand the product to anyone who is looking for a more natural product and/or someone who is looking to find a beauty product that is waste free.

Reference:

Our Story
https://meowmeowtweet.com/pages/about-us

Zero Waste Hair Care

A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetics Ingredients By Ruth Winter

No More Diry Looks by Siobhan O’Connor & Alexandra Spunt

Lush Bath Bomb Are Not What You Think
https://foodbabe.com/lush-bath-bombs-not-think/

Cheat Sheet | The Chemistry of Soap

https://meowmeowtweet.com/blogs/blog/16497564-the-chemistry-of-soap

Uncategorized

My Faith and Living Sustainably

How my faith has inspired me to live a sustainable and eco-caution life.

Growing up in a conservative faith-based home, caring for the environment was not a focus or really a thing. I knew the importance of keeping trash out of the highway because it’s gross and I knew from school to recycle paper but that was it. I was not too worried about environmental care but something happened in my late teens/early adulthood- I was realizing caring for the environment was caring for God’s creation. My thought was always, “you go into someone’s home, you don’t make a mess because that’s rude. We shouldn’t make a mess of God’s creation and damage it because He created it and that’s rude.” I started to recycle more, brought my own coffee cup to coffee shops, learned about the environmental impact food has and stayed a vegetarian for that reason, and I slowly transitioned myself to consume less waste.

Why do Christians not care about environmental issues? At least Conservative Evangelicals? Most would say “Because the earth will end so why bother?” I’ve also heard from others that said, “People are more important than environmental issues.” However, Scripture talks about God’s love for His creations and commands His people to be stewards of this earth and God gave us enough means to live off of. In Genesis 1, God calls His creation good seven times and in Genesis 2:15, God commands Adam in the Garden of Eden to take care of it. Within the first two chapters of the Bible, it was God’s original plan to care for His creation.

God even commanded the Israelites to care for land in Leviticus 25 by sowing the field, pruning the vineyards, and letting the land rest for a year. The Psalms are also filled with God’s love for the environment. All of Psalms 104 is about His love for the foundation of the earth, the process of the grass growing, the trees being flourishing, and so much more.

There are many more verses about God’s love for the environment and I believe God loves His land as much as His people because He created both. Sadly, with the rise of trash and chemicals being used, we as a culture have not been mindful of the environmental impact. This has caused the air to become more toxic, water has become unclean, the soil is becoming less healthy, and individuals are becoming sick because of these results. Do I believe the earth will end? Yes. Is caring for the environment still important? Yes. Like issues such feeding the hungry, caring for the widow and orphan, care for the environment is caring for God’s people. If you want to give your neighbor food or water, shouldn’t it be clean? Shouldn’t your neighbor have clean air to beath?

Living sustainably is living with less waste and it includes using natural material from the earth (the goodies God created). It is also living within our means like the Israelites were doing in Exodus 16:4, “”I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.” I know I am not living 100% sustainable and “zero waste” lifestyle and I do not believe that lifestyle is always possible. However, I know I can reduce my waste and carbon footprint by using the items I have, using natural materials and products, and choosing to buy less stuff that will be thrown away later. I can also produce less carbon emission by driving less, turning off the water faucet, and knowing the environmental impact of my daily items.

Some of the ways I live sustainably:

  • Bringing my own reusable cup and bottle
  • Skipping the plastic bag (I use paper bags and reuse them, I bring my own, or just go without a bag at all)
  • Bring a cloth towel as a napkin
  • Bring my own silverware into the staff room
  • Reuse plastic baggies (I do clean it and I don’t have to use as many plastic bags, therefore, the plastic bag will go in the landfill slower)
  • Walk or bus if possible
  • Creating my own products with little waste as possible
  • Reuse containers from food or beauty products (I clean them and I reuse food containers with food and beauty containers with beauty products)
  • If I want a food order to-go, I’ll work to order the food for “here” and transfer my food into my own Tupperware or containers
  • Buy upcycle
  • Buy second-hand
  • Buy clothing that is ethically sourced (the materials they use have to use energy used to make it).

Conclusion

God wants us to live off His land and care for His creation (Genesis 2:15 reference again). If you encounter comments like, “God can destroy the earth if He wants” or “People are more important than the environment.” don’t get into a debate but turn the conversations to wanting clean air and water for everyone. We all want clean air, water, soil, and a healthy earth. That is a basic human right that everyone deserves and I don’t believe most people will disagree.

Educate yourself and take action to reduces carbon emission, reduce waste, and find ways you can help the environment as one person and as a community. There are a lot of ways to go about this issue. Ride your bike, drive less, bring a reusable cup, buy second-hand, buy eco-friendly/natural products, have your church plant trees, etc. There are more things I can list off but I will let you decide how you want to go about this issue.

Lastly do not feel shameful about past waste and carbon emission you produced. I was not aware and caring about my waste and living sustainably for most of my life. Know that the small things can make a difference and it can help inspire others in your community to do the same.

We have done our damage to this earth that God has given us but does not mean the damage can’t be reversed and we should just give up and not think to care. Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” (Matthew 7:12). I will interpret that to also mean caring for the environment is caring for your brothers and sisters health and well being. If you want clean air, water, and food, why shouldn’t others have the same thing?

Uncategorized

Natural DIY Shampoo Tutorial

Making my own goodies is a joy for me and I’m excited to present my first tutorial on this blog: DIY shampoo! Why make your own shampoo? Of course, it is more natural and sustainable than buying over-the-counter shampoo. In most commercial shampoos there are ingredients such as surfactants and detergent. Those ingredients cause the shampoo to foam up and helps remove the mess, dirt, and oils from your hair and makes it feel clean. However, your hair is being stripped of natural oils and the shampoo is drying out your hair and it is causing you to use more products than needed to make up for the lack of moisture.

There are a lot of healthy and clean shampoos on the market and I’m not against using them and testing them out. However, DIY’s is my way my way of living a healthy life and some of the ingredients I used are Fair Trade certified (Dr. Bronner’s Castile oil soap I got at the buck session!). This DIY shampoo only has 6 ingredients. These ingredients can be bought at Target, natural grocery stores, Amazon, and really anywhere.

There is a downside to using DIY shampoo and it will take some time for your hair to get used to it. If  DIY shampoo is something you want to be committed to using, try a hair rinse with water and lemon (1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon with eight ounces of water. Shake in a spray bottle and use after shampooing). Your hair will feel different but it is detoxing from on the chemicals its been observing for years. Give it time, your hair will get used to it.

This tutorial is my own spin on a recipe I got from a DIY book I got as a gift: The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty by Sunny Subramanian and Chrystle Fiedler.  My first time trying out the recipe I did follow it step-by-step. It did work well for my hair but I was annoyed the shampoo was watery and thought of different ways to make it more thick and gel-like so I decided to change a few things.

This is the original version down below from the book! They called it Peppermint Pow! Stimulating Shampoo.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Oil Liquid Soap (I get the mild baby soap because it’s gentle and I can add scents to it later)
  • 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil (got mine from Trader Joe’s but most natural grocery stores it)
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
  • 60 drops of peppermint essential oils
  • 20 drops of lavender essential oils
  • Water to match your preferred consistency

In a measuring cup, I mix in the aloe vera gel and jojoba oil and I added enough to the 1/4 cup line.

After mixing the oil and gel, I mix in the liquid soap

I put in the essential oils

I mix a little water to make it a whole eight ounces

With my small funnel, I poured the shampoo into my glass bottle

Did I reach my goal of creating a thicker, gel-like shampoo? No. It is still watery and I realize liquid soap is like that and the shampoo is half liquid soap. My hair however felt clean and soft and I didn’t feel the need to use conditioner the first time using it. I’m also realizing we live in a society where foam means cleans and that is not actually true. Like I said earlier, some of the ingredients in commercial shampoo foams up and is over drying your hair. I’m getting us to the new way I am washing hair and what works for me 🙂

Product Highlight, Uncategorized

Farmers First Coffee: Their Vision, Their Mission.

Do you ever think about the process of coffee being grown? Do you ever think about the people who grow the coffee and harvest it? Do you?  I haven’t for most of coffee drinking life. For anyone who knows me, knows they cannot help but associate me with coffee. As I learned more about the importance of ethical products and being mindful of my purchases, coffee was one of the things I made sure I bought ethically. I was always looking for the Fair Trade logo on the coffee bag and would ask coffee shops if they had Fair Trade coffee. One coffee company I discovered that stood out to me was Farmers First.

One thing to notice is that Farmers First doesn’t have a Fair Trade label. Not every ethically sourced coffee has the Fair Trade label; the label just means the company chose to go through the requirements to receive the label. Farmers First Coffee is a company that highlights and exposes the individual people who grow the coffee and harvest them. I was interested to learn more about their mission and I asked to do a phone interview with one of the founders Matt Hohler.

“So I asked Matt “How is your coffee different than other Fair Trade coffee?” “Good question,” Matt responded. “The biggest difference is that Fair Trade coffee is not good enough. Most companies buy fair-trade products which get certified by a third party and groups will certify the farmers and cooperatives, allowing them to sell their coffee under the fair-trade label. The money does not end up back into the hands of the farmers. We pay our farmers a direct bonus, which is about four times higher than the fair-trade bonus.”

I was surprised and saddened to hear that the Fair Trade label was not living up to its name. Matt reminded me that a company’s original intent was always in the right place. “Starbucks, for example, has done good but when a company becomes bigger, things do slip through the cracks. I and my business partner own our roaster. We also do not have specific names for the roast but instead, we recognize the farmers by roast (there are three farmers: Daniel, Rosa, and Emiliano). We listen to the families and pay them well. We are really interested in putting our farmers first.” If you haven’t gotten it by this point, that was the inspiration for naming the company’s name.

Regarding the problems producing coffee can have on the environment Matt, said that was a difficult issue. He pointed out that the first thing that someone needs to think about is “what would you do to support a family?” Farmers First are organic farmers. They are not USDA certified yet but the farmers are respecting the environment the best they can.”

My last question for Matt was if he had any coffee experience and to my surprise, he said, “No. I’ve done non-profit work for over 10 years. My business partner moved to Honduras in 2009 to work for students helping Honduras. He later bought an eco-lodge and has been running that and I was volunteering and teaching English in 2012. We both did some research and discovered we wanted to see coffee farmers succeed.”

I decided to do some further research and discovered that Fair Trade label coffee is not what we think. Like Matt said, farmers do not get paid more for selling their coffee under fair trade. It does cost 20-30 cents more per pound to sell coffee under a Fair Trade logo and companies do have to pay extra for the label as well. The Fair Trade label does guarantee workers are making minimum wage and there is no child labor behind the coffee, but minimum wage is not enough to for small farmers and most of the farmers are  immigrants who do not have access to the land they are growing coffee on.

Does that mean that coffee is not an ethically sourced product? No.

The mission of Fair Trade organization to help end poverty and to empower small family farmers. The thing Matt and his business partner question is not “Is their coffee is Fair Trade?” but, “Who are the farmers? How much are they getting paid?” All three farmers are from Peru and after the coffee is harvested, Matt roasts the coffee in North Carolina. When you order from Farmers First, you get to pick the roast and if you want the beans whole or grounded (and how finely ground you want it).

When I ordered my Farmers First Coffee, I ordered the Rosa bag of dark roast. Rosa is a 42-year-old mother of 3 children (two sons and one daughter). Some of the issues she faces as a coffee farmer are weather, labor and some the things she struggles with daily are health care a lack of childhood nutrition and poverty in her community. Her hope as a worker is to provide for her family and she is encouraged by her children because they believe the world can become a better place.

I wanted to support Rosa and know that my purchase is going to support her and her family. Farmers First is a company worth looking into and I highly recommend buying some of their coffee not only for the taste but for their mission. Matt and Robert both had the vision to help small-scale farmers and so far they have done their part. Now we as consumers should do ours to support this mission of putting farmers first.

References:

https://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_problem_with_fair_trade_coffee

https://www.farmersfirstcoffee.com/pages/rosa

Uncategorized

The Moments Leading Up to the Red X

Disclaimer: I use the term human trafficking and slavery interchangeable. Although they sound the same the main difference between the two are, human trafficking is the illegal act of using someone for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and/or forced labor. Slavery is the system as which someone is treated as the property of another person against their will. 

February 22nd, 2018 I drew a red X on my hand with a Striper. As I went about my day, only one person ask what the red X meant. This was my chance to tell someone about human trafficking and shine a light on modern-day slavery. If you notice a red X on someone’s hand, there was a high chance they were advocating for human trafficking.

Drawing a red X came from the End It Movement which is an organization that focuses on exposing human trafficking, modern-day slavery, and informing individuals this is still an issue we’re dealing with today. The red X is to promote the conversation piece but it’s obvious that the red X doesn’t end modern day slavery. The End It Movement wants to first bring the conservation of modern-day slavery to life and I do know that the organization does not want to end it there.

Many people show their support for issues by doing something simple like change a Facebook photo, post an article, wear a wristband, and in my case draw a red X on their hand. These things are not bad and I believe showing support is important but I also do know that a red X or wristband is not going to change an issue. I was aware of that as I was drawing the X on my hand.

I try to stay clear of the word “advocate”  because I do not want to be another person who cares but doesn’t do much about the issue. I’ve known about human trafficking since high school, I’ve known about other people trying to do something about it but I felt I wasn’t able to do much.

There were a few times in my college experience that human trafficking was a subject to discuss. One discussion that stood out to me was when the subject of sex trafficking came up, the two other people in the group I was in both said that trafficking is a subject they stay away from.  I understood the reasoning but also thought that it is an important subject to talk about.

Later that year, I got the chance to have some human trafficking training from a non-profit I volunteered with for a few years. It was an eye-opener and I was starting to see that anyone can do their part to help bring an end to human trafficking. That was also the year I participated in Dressember. Dressember is a month-long style challenge to bring advocacy to human trafficking and modern-day slavery by wearing a dress (or tie) for the month of December. The dress piece is to start the conversation and the hope is to raise money that goes to organizations that are aiding survivors of trafficking and trying to end it all together.

My first year doing Dressember, I was pretty quiet about it. I’m an introvert and finding a way to bring up a heated topic like modern-day slavery was not easy. I really only told two people when I think about it. The next year, I was able to bring up the conversation of trafficking after posting photos on social media. I also got a family member to donate to my Dressember page (thanks mom!!!). The following year I was able to talk about what Dressember was about and encouraged a couple of people to donate.

As I learned more about ethical living and the connections between modern-day slavery and our products, I realized that the issue of slavery was too clear to ignore. After reading Overrated: Are We More In Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing It? by Eugene Cho, one part of the book that stood out to me and I took away from was when the author said, “Never stop learning. Study the Bible. Read the news. Devour books. Engage people. Ask questions. Be a critical thinker and an active practitioner” (pg. 161). I read that part around the same time, Ashton Kutcher gave his 15-minute long speech about child sex trafficking and the organization he’s apart of to catch perpetrators. It was a hard speech to listen to but I knew it was needed.

It was one of the first times I felt heavy about the issue of human trafficking and modern-day slavery and I was thankful to feel that heaviness. It meant I cared and I cared to learn about those issues. A few months later I got the chance to take another training in human trafficking and I was left feeling mad. I was mad about the lack of law enforcement handling human trafficking perpetrators and I wanted to do know what more can I do.

I know about organizations in my area that are fighting against human trafficking. I know I call my state senator about my care for the human trafficking. I know I can be more informed and have conversations about the issue of modern-day slavery and human trafficking. I know I can do more training and call the Human Trafficking Hotline when I notice the signs of a victim. I know I can donate to non-profits that are fighting against human trafficking. I also know I can support companies that employee survivors of human trafficking and give a portion of their profits to human trafficking organizations.

I’m already doing some of them and others I will admit to failing at. I have not called a senator and I do still shy from conservations with some individuals because it can be difficult. I’m finding out though, I don’t have to be scared to talk about human trafficking because it’s not an issue anyone has a gray area in. Human trafficking is bad and no one wants it to exist.  I’m discovering  ways to bring the issue up and ways to help fight against it. The red X is one of the many ways I hope to bring the issue to the table and hopefully help make other people realize they too can help bring hope and end human trafficking.

The End It Movement does not end with a red X.