Think of the last clothing item you’ve bought. Got it? Okay, now think of how many people were helped with the money. Odds are you got some joy from the purchase and so did the company who got the money, but did anyone else?
If there’s anything that I learned from my year of purposeful living, it’s how to stretch my money. Not just saving it, but making sure the largest group of people benefitting from my dollar. Believe it or not, this ins not radical thinking. Brand’s like MY SISTER are using their clothing to make people feel good and fight slavery with the money. That makes your last purchase seem kind of bleak, huh?
The brand aims to fight slavery with fashion every step of the way. From the production to the slogans on the shirt to where the money goes, this brand is completely purposeful and confront exploitation in their supply chains. There’s sweatshop free production and woman-empowered selling.
“Internally, we are building in programs to offer even more employment opportunities to survivors. Externally, we are utilizing our platforms to educate people and motivate action,” says founder of MY SISTER Mandy Multerer.
They’ve even come up with a special design in honor of Shine A Light On Slavery Day on February 22. The shirt is short sleeved and to the point. It reads “stop traffick” and is a sartorial reminder that what you wear can make a difference. The shirt is available on the MY SISTER website right now. While the phrase has been put on a shirt before, this time it’s in the brand’s best-selling roll-sleeve tee.
What you do can also make all the difference.
February 22 is Shine A Light On Slavery Day, as a part of the End It Movement.
Slavery is all around us. The End It Movement is aiming to raise awareness by asking people to put a red “x” on their hands. When people ask you why, you can tell them how you’re aiming to fight slavery and the daily ways that it is still very much alive.
It also gives you a great excuse to check out the brand MY SISTER and stock up on some fashion items that can actually make a difference.
You don’t have to spend money to help fight slavery though. While donating money and doing a little shopping is great, it’s not the most important part of the End It Movement. There’s a way to help the cause, no matter how much or little that you have to give. Because drawing a red “x” on your hand doesn’t cost a thing, but it could make all the difference.
“Slavery is an issue that happens in every community on a daily basis and you can engage in everyday activism to make long-term change,” Multerer says.
From educating yourself to giving your time, there are tons of ways to get involved, according to the MY SISTER founder. Who, might I add, has helped raise $127,000 and 3,431 hours of employment for survivors of trafficking through the fashion business. Basically, she knows a thing or two about fighting slavery.
1. Educate yourself.
If you don’t know the ways that slavery is going on around you, you won’t be able to help end it. From sweatshops to sexual violence, you’d be surprised at the ways injustice is happening around you. Multerer suggests going to the MY SISTER blog to educate yourself, and it’s definitely a great place to start.
2. Learn The Signs.
Trafficking, just like suicide and bullying, has signs. Also like the other two examples, trafficking has a hotline that you can call to report a situation — whether it involves you or someone around you. Polaris can help those immediately in need and teach you more about modern slavery.
3. Speak Up.
“Speak up about language and actions that turn sexual violence into a joke and don’t consume media that exploits or objectifies women,” Multerer says.
It’s easy to brush uncomfortable language to the side and make a joke of it. People do it every single day. But just imagine what could happen if just one person stood up and started a conversation instead of just ending it with a punchline.
4. Support Local Lawmakers.
Know who stands for what in your community. Are the people that you voted for doing everything they can to make a difference? As Multerer says, anti-trafficking measures can take place in your city, state, and the country as a whole. It’s up to the people to make sure people are reminded of that.
Even if you can’t give your money, you can give your time. Whether you’re looking to help out at a homeless shelter or a job skills training program, all of that can help end modern day slavery. Your voice can do just as much as any dollar amount can. Sometimes it can do even more.
If nothing else, spend today reflecting on what you’re buying, how you’re living, and where your money is going. Because when you stop and think about it, you have more power than you might think.