KONY 2012

Here’s something WAY WAY WAY more important that Republican vs, Democrat or any Super Tuesday mumbo jumbo. It’s about the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) in central Africa and the terrible things they are doing. And how this is the year that people all around the world need to put pressure on their governments to MAKE THEM STOP. Posting this right in the evening should be perfect–you can feel free to watch this important 30 minute video this evening in place of Wheel of Fortune (my vice) or before your favorite Tuesday-evening TV drama.

Please, watch this and pass it to five people you know. And maybe tweet @ your senator. Or send an old fashioned letter. Or make a phone call. Something ACTIVE, not passive.

I feel incredibly proud to have two of my friends working for Invisible Children and hope to, perhaps… join them some day? Who knows what the future will bring.


PS: I’m not directing you to the Invisible Children website at the moment because this has gotten so big that the site was getting 5000 hits a second. It took down the site.


Slavery Footprint

Today at work I had a meeting with our contact person for the Mid-Feb through Mid-March emphasis on Modern Day Slavery that we are going to focus on here at church.

Did you know that today there are more slaves on earth than there have been at any other point of history? Slavery did not end in the 1800s, friends. There are somewhere between 10 million and 30 million slaves living in our world–the numbers are broad because the underworld does not make its statistics public like a normal business would (duh).

Slavery in its most horrific and most talked-about form is sex trafficking and forced prostitution but there are many other forms–indentured servitude (on a farm, for example), forced child labor, sweatshop workers who toil to “pay off” a debt that spirals higher day by day. It almost always takes the form of what appeared at first to be a generous loan, but one that can never be paid off due to “interest” or “fees” associated with “letting the debt slide.”

The above video is about a website called slaveryfootprint.org where you can input facts about your belongings, home, and habits. The program uses tons of aggregated data to estimate your “slavery footprint” in the way other sites use info to estimate your “carbon footprint.” I was shocked to find out that based on my lifestyle I have 30+ slaves “working” for me inderectly–more specifically in mines for minerals used in make-up and cell phones, on farms, in sweatshops, etc.

I have a friend who has really taken the cause to heart. When shopping, even for simple things like soap and shampoo, she purchases fair trade as frequently as possible. Yes! There is such a thing as fair trade shampoo! Growing your own garden is a great way to take some of the burden off of day laborers. Purchasing gently-used clothing from thrift stores eliminates the “need” for GAP to manufacture one more shirt. Cell phones use precious minerals like coltan–ever heard of it? Didn’t think so–but there are people forced to mine for it in dangerous conditions. I’m not saying get rid of your cell phone, but I am saying that you probably don’t need to upgrade every two years if you take care of it.

Some people claim that they can’t buy fair trade (products from farmers or workers for a fair price in regards to their labor) because it is too expensive. Stop and ponder that for a moment. Ever wonder why “unfairly traded” products are so cheap? Most of the people I know who strictly stick to fair trade products do not make more money than my family does. In fact, who knows, they might make less. Sometimes it is important to focus on where your dollar is going, instead of stretching that dollar as far as it can go.

For new followers of this blog, I studied International Studies in college which emphasized current global problems like I’m talking about here. It is a passion of mine, which explains the empassioned posts like this that pop up on the blog every now and again. 

Learn more:

Related: Slavery Still Exists.

31 Bits

Have you heard of 31 Bits jewelry? Ever since hearing about it from my friend Sarah, I have been crazy about it. Basically anything that empowers women to rise above their situation and fairly earn their living is great in my book. Its why I was so excited to do an internship in Microfinance during college, why I support Heifer and Not For Sale, and now I’m proud to say that I stand behind 31 bits!

Last Saturday I offered to help Sarah host an event at our friend Traci’s print shop. I was psyched about it even before I’d seen one of these necklaces or held one in my hands. They are so great! Yes, they are made from scraps of paper, but to me they look different from all recycled paper art I’ve seen. Not kitchy or recycled-looking, just simple and beautiful! Oh, did I mention Sarah is a professional photographer? She took her own promo shots for a postcard we passed out around town. I’m obsessed with them. Just as good (if not better?? i’m biased…) than the stuff on the 31 Bits site.

2 above photos (c) Beautiful Isolations / Sarah Reeves

We were lucky to have a beautiful location in a public place. In addition to people we’d invited, we had a few walk in off the street! They say that in a week a woman can produce between 5 and 15 items, depending on complexity. Well, it’s safe to say our sales on that day supported many weeks’ wages!

Here’s our set-up. I can’t wait to see Sarah’s pics from the day! We also had refreshments (hot drinks and cookies) and a photobooth–we’ll be sending the pictures to the women who make the jewelry as an additional human connection. Have you ever seen the people who make the items you buy? We can all agree it’s a rare connection.

Did you know it’s easy to host your own house party?

Christmas House Party from 31 Bits on Vimeo.