I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few weeks. But papers, colds, visiting family and just being tired has helped me procrastinate. Where to begin? You might not like me after this post.
A few weeks ago, someone tweeted this link about how many slaves you “employ”. Intrigued, I clicked, did the quiz and pressed “finish”. My heart sank when I saw the results.
First off, a disclaimer. I realize this quiz makes a lot of assumptions and is not completely accurate. Maybe 42 is too many, I mean I don’t shop much and don’t own many diamonds. But am I okay even employing ONE slave?!
I was at my parents house for Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving and went on a rather long rant at dinner about how Columbus is a (fill in the blank) and how we shouldn’t have a holiday commemorating the man. Someone tried to point out that maybe the things he did which to me were so blatantly immoral seemed reasonable in his day. In my arrogance I smirked and said, “That’s no excuse”. And it’s not. Yet how often do I use that same excuse?
“I can’t be responsible for who made what…Fair trade costs too much… Wouldn’t they rather work in a sweat shop than not have a job?…The problem is too big, what difference can I make?” And on and on and on.
Okay, buddies. I know it’s Christmas and you probably just got home from shopping and are about to X out of this window. But wait!!!
Here’s my point. I have no idea what to do or how to move forward. I’m not yelling at you or flaunting my slave-free wardrobe (‘cuz it doesn’t exist). I’m so sad and so moved by the fact that my decisions and purchasing power have not brought good or blessing but rather troubles and hurt and enslavement.
Varun and I have been talking and praying about this for a few months. How will we respond? At this point, we want to begin to make incremental changes. Step 1? I’ve resolved to try to have a slave-free Christmas. To the best of my knowledge, nothing that I’ve bought has been made by underpaid, underage or un-free people. I’ve attempted to make donations in people’s names to meaningful organizations, buy local or buy from organizations that support rather than exploit others. This post from Kristen is a fabulous gift guide of amazing people and organizations who make gorgeous and unique gifts! Also, her post about chocolate will definitely challenge you. This post blew my mind and broke my heart. It’s written by Heather, a beautiful woman who moved to Haiti with her family.
Varun and I have a long way to go in becoming responsible and caring citizens of the world. This post is just the beginning, the first in a long discussion and life change. If you stuck with me, I’m curious as to your thoughts. How do you respond to global poverty and injustice and your role in it? What changes have you made? What other resources can you suggest?