Day Twenty Six: Katie Rector (Portland, OR)
If you are new to Dressember, welcome! The goal of this movement is to raise awareness on some serious issues facing women. Feel free to take a look around at the stories women have been sharing this month about their participation. I wanted to take a moment to share what has been on my heart concerning Dressember. I’m new to the movement, but the Lord has been pressing on me to explore the concept of justice for almost two years. It started with the observation of Lent in 2015, when my husband and I decided to give up animal byproducts.
Going vegan for Lent was not just about the food I ate. I decided to spend some time learning about the lives of the animals in dairy and meat production. I was shocked to learn about the inhumane practices that dictate the lives of dairy cows. As someone who was vegetarian for five years, I always thought I had “did the right thing” when I gave up meat. As it turns out, there are some animals who have it worse than death. This isn’t to say that I think using animal products is wrong, (and it’s certainly not the topic of my post today!) I just think the industry needs reform. We cannot, with a clear conscience, let the practices of that industry continue in the way it currently runs. Our value for life and creation needs to be one of the highest priorities we have.
As I continued my study into the lives of food production animals, I was prompted to go further. My stomach was turned by the lives these animals were living, but I felt convicted that there were human lives being treated inhumanely that I was also unaware about. I started looking into the lives of textile factory workers, production workers, cotton harvesters and more. Some workers were treated well, but the vast majority were paid very low wages and had unpredictable contracts. For women, many times these flexible contracts are cancelled when they become pregnant. Digging deeper into the lives of women in the textile industry showed little evidence of progress and very little integrity. This leaves us with very little answers as to what actually goes on in some of these factories and farms.
I watched documentary after documentary and the more information I came across, the more motivated I was to take action. I had a tough time thinking of ways that we, as Americans not in the textile industry, could help our sisters (and brothers) in need in these factories. I wept for them; I prayed for them; I wondered if I could ever do anything that would help bring about reform for them. We live in an age of information and communication, and yet there is so much we do not know about the inhumanities some women face. After much research, I have thought of a few ways we can get involved for change on this issue.
Here are some ways YOU can help to stop the injustices of the textile industry overseas:
- Pray for our brothers and sisters in their suffering. Commit to prayer for them once a week to intercede for them and to bring awareness for yourself. Ask others to join you in this prayer.
- Participate in Dressember (and movements like it) that raise awareness of these issues. Use social media for good and bring others into your journey alongside you.
- Download the app: Buycott. You can bring the app with you at the store and scan each item you place in your basket (you can also look up items from home). Buycott helps you to make purchases that promotes certain topics you care about, but also helps you to avoid products that are inhumane for a variety of reasons.
- Be a savvy shopper. Look for certifications like Fair Trade USA (fairtradeusa.org) or B Corp (bcorporation.net). These certifications help shoppers know which businesses are being socially responsible. The more shoppers desire these certifications, the more companies will change their practices and obtain certification!
- Recycle clothing. The clothing we have can be reused and recycled in order to lower the amount of clothing waste we create. Waste not, want not, right?
Is there a perfect solution to all of these issues? No, certainly not. I’ll admit that my vegan adventure didn’t last past Lent season. Maybe I can’t make a drastic commitment to all issues, but it is within my power to continue in my awareness. We must be diligent to seek to grow in awareness in the issues that affect our world in a serious way. We must become protectors of our sisters on the other side of the world.
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